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Tom Provost and Krrish Kothari, SDG GlobalThe origins of SDG Global can be traced back to a business partnership between Indian wireless technology specialist CWD Limited and Luxembourg healthtech company B Medical Systems, which specialises in vaccine cold chain solutions and medical refrigeration. “CWD designs, develops and manufactures wireless models and solutions, and when B Medical Systems opened their offices in India, we saw this as a cooperation opportunity,” says Krrish Kothari, Business Development Manager at CWD. “We developed a wireless temperature sensor that sits inside B Medical’s cold chain solution devices and constantly monitors the temperature inside the device during the transport of vaccines, medicines or blood plasma.”

This collaboration brought the realisation that CWD had the potential to develop innovations that could provide significant benefits to populations around the world and yield outcomes aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The result was the creation of the Luxembourg-based start-up SDG Global.

Digital education and telemedicine

As a first step, SDG developed a multi-use, multi-market temperature sensor that is now being put on the market. However, the main focus of the company is on developing solar power-driven solutions for digital education and telemedicine. “During the COVID pandemic, the need to access education and healthcare resources that are not locally available became so apparent,” Mr Kothari points out. “People in remote villages often had no teleconference infrastructure allowing them to do this. Benefitting from our network of local partners in Africa and our contacts with local governments, we want to provide workable solutions for remote digital education and health support.”

We want to provide workable solutions for remote digital education and health support.

SDG Global is now developing telemedicine karts where patients can consult doctors remotely with the help of a local nurse and be diagnosed on the spot. The company is also working on a digital education kit with web-based modules that can be used with easily transportable touch-screen tablets. Both solutions will be powered by solar energy, as this is the most sustainable solution in these remote areas where funds to cover operational costs are rarely available.

Addressing the market from Luxembourg

SDG Global develops solar-powered telemedicine and digital education kitsFounded in 2016, CWD has undertaken a successful start-up journey recognised by Startup India and is today a publically listed company. The founding partners were therefore well aware of the importance of finding a fertile environment where SDG Global could develop and prosper. “When visiting Luxembourg in October 2021, we found that the country has an excellent ecosystem for start-ups with a wide range of support available,” says Tom Provost, Business Development Manager at SDG Global.

Here, we had a facilitator from day one showing us the support and ecosystem.

During the visit, the SDG team met with David Foy, Head of International Business Development – Digital Economy at national innovation agency Luxinnovation. “David introduced us to the different options we would have in Luxembourg, and went with us when we visited different incubators,” says Mr Kothari. “This is when we got really enthusiastic about incorporating in Luxembourg. We realised that everyone knows one another so it is very easy to build a network. The start-up ecosystem is booming right now, and the government is making specific efforts to boost it further and to help companies grow out of Luxembourg. When you want to be closely connected to the key stakeholders, this is a much better option than big cities like Amsterdam, Berlin or London where you can easily get a bit lost. Here, we had a facilitator from day one showing us the support and ecosystem.” SDG Global is now hosted at the Luxembourg-City Incubator.

Ease of doing business

Mr Provost highlights the ease of doing business in Luxembourg and of connecting with the rest of Europe. “Luxembourg is also increasingly active in Africa,” he points out. “Only a few weeks ago, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy headed the visit of a Luxembourg delegation to Africa. These types of initiatives provide excellent opportunities to discuss the needs in terms of education and healthcare directly with local decision makers.”

SDG Global’s telemedicine and digital education solutions are expected to be ready for market introduction in the next few months. The start-up currently draws on the skills and resources of its founders for their development, but has plans to expand its own team rapidly. “We will be looking to hire more people in both Luxembourg and India in the coming months,” Mr Kothari concludes.

Photo credit: SDG Global

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