New Delhi, March 03, 2023: The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership: India-Yash project, led by Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins Affiliate together with Villgro, a leading social enterprise incubator, has announced the call for applications for Cohort-2 of the Yash Entrepreneurs Program which will focus on catalyzing innovative business models that can improve family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) outcomes for young people in India. Taking forward the legacy of Cohort-1, the program will leverage partnerships built with key public and private sector stakeholders to shape the entrepreneurial ecosystem to enable the scale-up of promising and cost-effective FP/RH innovations with funding of up to INR 10 Lakh, as well as technical assistance, mentoring, and incubation support from Villgro. A smaller number of promising startups will be selected for more intensive and result-based support, as well as additional funding up to INR 1 crore each.

Earlier in August 2022, under the incubation phase, the program onboarded 7 social enterprises that have developed innovation-based products and services focused on solving problems relevant to menstrual hygiene (Padcare Labs, Green Delight Innovations), sexual and reproductive health (SRH) (UVi Health, Pinky Promise, Get Intimacy and Stand We Speak) and mental wellness (That Mate). At the end of the incubation phase, these seven enterprises are expected to reach out to one lakh beneficiaries, generate a revenue of INR 3 crore, and build partnerships that will help them pilot and scale in the market.

“USAID is committed to helping countries meet the family planning and reproductive health needs of their people. Voluntarism and informed choice are the guiding principles of our program. We are happy to support the India Yash program, which is providing necessary resources and support to enterprises and innovations-based businesses to ensure that youth voices and aspirations are heard, and they can access voluntary family planning and reproductive health services”, said Sangita Patel, USAID/India Health Office Director.

Under Cohort-2, the program will onboard another 13 enterprises that have a ‘minimum viable prototype’ and initial market traction across the country, focusing on the thematic areas of sexual health, menstrual health, self-care, and, decentralizing SRH services, SRH & climate change, and integrated family planning service delivery innovations in other interventions like cancer, maternal health, substance misuse etc. Applications will be accepted until March 10, 2023.

“Yash entrepreneurs fueled product innovation in this area, and their work is inspiring. These cohorts are unleashing a huge potential of opportunities and building healthcare solutions for those who need it the most,” Dr. Somesh Kumar, Country Director, Jhpiego India, expressed at the announcement of Cohort-2.

Srinivas Ramanujam, CEO, Villgro Innovations Foundation, said, “With the additional 13 enterprises onboarded under Cohort-2, we believe this pool will greatly shape the SRH/FP ecosystem in the country and will also enable us to build a USD 10M platform to promote more innovations with a focus on women and young people’s health.”

Nayan Chakravarty, Chief of Party, MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership: India-Yash, Jhpiego added, “Investing in sexual and reproductive health care translates into focusing on the need for contraceptive services, knowledge on SRH, ensuring people have the agency to decide whether and when to have children, experiencing safe pregnancy and delivery, healthy newborns, and enjoying safe and satisfying individual well-being.”