UPES gets ₹ 5 crore grant for inclusive-tech business incubator
The i-TBI, or the inclusive-tech business incubator seeks to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in higher educational institutions by creating a thriving innovation ecosystem buoyed by mentorship and funding for creative projects
In a major milestone for UPES, the National Expert Advisory Committee of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has recommended the inclusive-tech business incubator (i-TBI), for a funding of Rs 5 crore under the NIDHI scheme. NIDHI (National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations) is an umbrella programme pioneered by the DST, Government of India, for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful start-ups.
Speaking about the achievement, UPES Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Ram Sharma says, “This is the first grant for a i-TBI in Uttarakhand. We are proud that UPES has taken a lead in setting up a i-TBI in the state, since this will create a niche for the university.”
Explaining how i-TBI will benefit the region, Dr Ram adds, “Uttarakhand being a hilly region has peculiar characteristics, so technology can be a big enabler here and we believe that setting up a i-TBI will help resolve many of the state’s problems by providing technological solutions to the local and regional challenges.”
This initiative at the university is being led by Rahul Nainwal, CEO, Runway. Runway is a start-up incubator at UPES that offers mentorship, grants and investments, legal and incorporation support, and allocation of space to work. According to Nainwal, the generous grant will help set up the tech business incubator with the potential to bring about a “massive shift in the technological entrepreneurial mindset of the entire geographical and cultural ecosystem.”
“This includes various stakeholders like students, faculty members, research scholars, alumni, as well as the local people in the hills who will benefit from i-TBI, as more technology-driven solutions are incubated and implemented,” he adds.
i-TBI is aimed at fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in higher educational institutions (HEI) and nearby communities of the Host Institution (HI), by establishing partnerships between academia, investors, mentors, industries, and other institutions and creating a thriving innovation ecosystem buoyed by mentorship and financial support for creative projects.
UPES i-TBI will especially focus on innovative ideas which are at the confluence of social, economic, and developmental issues and technology, and provide them with the necessary training, mentorship, and financial aid to enable them to create scalable solutions.
Start-ups in the domain of blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, drones, Internet of Things (IoT), Innovative Mobility Solutions, and manufacturing, amongst others, will be identified for incubation at i-TBI.
Students will benefit from the two-pronged relevance of i-TBI – the presence of the incubator on the campus will give the students the necessary exposure to disruptive thinking and innovative technology, and additionally, motivate students to be a part of i-TBI and work on technological and business problems to find inventive solutions.
The Department of Science and Technology launched the TBI scheme with an intent to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, by covering all the 5 I’s – intent, inclusion, investment, infrastructure, and innovation – to create an ecosystem for the growth of tech start-ups, especially deep-tech start-ups.
i-TBI is expected to be launched by January 2023.