Social impact hardware innovators worldwide invited to apply for annual ASME Innovation Showcase

Finalists have the opportunity to accelerate time-to-market for their innovations for sustainable development, with $200,000 in seed grants and technical support.

 NEW YORK (Feb. 11, 2021)—The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is currently accepting applications from social entrepreneurs focusing on hardware innovations for the 2021 ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW).

The prestigious global hardware accelerator is open to individuals and organizations taking physical products to market that will have a positive social and/or environmental impact and that improve the quality of life around the world.

To date, ISHOW has enabled over 160 startups from more than 28 countries to solve critical quality-of-life challenges for people in underserved communities worldwide. ISHOW alumni have developed affordable devices to address issues including clean combustion, crop threshing, fetal health, food waste prevention, grain moisture meters, health diagnostics, safe drinking water, and many more that address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Applicants should have an existing prototype and interest in receiving financial/technical support and access to expert networks that can assist in taking their product to market. The deadline for applications is March 9. More information and resources for interested applicants are available at

“We are proud to offer a forum for engineering problem-solving that truly improves lives,” said ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile. “We are continually impressed by the creative talent of ASME ISHOW participants and their passion for helping underserved communities around the world.”

Finalists receive product exposure, advice, technical insights through ISHOW’s rigorous review methodology, and compete for a share of $200,000 in seed grants, in-kind support, design services, and marketing and business development assets.

Eight finalists are chosen for each of three regional events from hundreds of applications received each year. 2021 finalists will participate in regional events held virtually on April 29 for India/Asia Pacific (ISHOW India), June 3 for the Middle East and Africa (ISHOW Kenya), and July 15 for the Americas (ISHOW USA). Three companies at each event will join the ISHOW 2021 cohort.

“Social enterprises, now more than ever, need the support of the global impact community,” says Iana Aranda, director of ASME’s Engineering Global Development sector that houses ISHOW.

“Social entrepreneurs across the world, including many ISHOW ventures, are on the frontlines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and advancement of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. We are fiercely focused on providing these innovators with accessible platforms for capacity building, expert engagement and co-design of scaling strategies suited for the new normal. Ensuring their success through this global crisis is of paramount importance.”

The 2021 cohort will be invited to the annual ISHOW Bootcamp in the fall to receive an extensive and customized design and engineering review by experts recruited to guide them as they scale to market. They will also have a chance to earn a second round of seed grants from ASME. They become part of the ISHOW alumni network, an international community of hardware innovators and stakeholders with exclusive access to experts and resources.

In addition, ISHOW startups/companies are invited to showcase their innovations in the Tech Gallery at ASME’s annual Impact Engineered forum and gain exposure amongst the global social impact community and funders.

ASME ISHOW annually matches up to 30 carefully selected innovators with appropriate engineering experts to ensure that the proposed hardware solutions are technologically, environmentally, culturally, and financially sustainable.

ASME’s panel of judges and experts includes successful entrepreneurs, academics, engineers, designers, investors, and industry representatives from leading organizations in India, Kenya, and the United States. These subject-area experts provide technical and strategic guidance based on ISHOW’s four key pillars: customer/user knowledge, hardware validation, manufacturing optimization, and implementation strategy.

ASME says she grateful to The Lemelson Foundation for its continued support of the ISHOW with a three-year strategic investment and to ISHOW implementation partners around the globe.

This content has been published on behalf of ASME.

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