Independence Day 2018

DST nurtures innovations bringing indigenous scientific solutions to Nation’s challenges

The Department of Science and Technology is proactively supporting innovations and startups to help create a climate in which new ideas can flourish and bring solutions to various problems of the country. This is to promote a true spirit of independent thoughts among the youth. Support for innovations and startups like National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI), Women Start-up Accelerator programme empower, Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Program, PLUGIN, an incubation program for hardware & systems startups, India Innovation Challenge are drawing the enthusiasm of the youth to use science to solve problems through their ingenuity.

1. National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations nurturing ideas and innovations into successful startups

NSTEDB, DST, has conceived, develop and implemented a new umbrella initiative 'National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)'. NIDHI is developed keeping in line the new national aspirations and on the basis of DST’s experience of three decades, in promoting innovative start-ups. Under NIDHI, several programs have been designed and are being implemented for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups. The TBI program has been restructured as 'NIDHI-Technology Business Incubator (TBI)' with enhanced infrastructure, facility and funding support. Enhanced support has also been provisioned for Seed support for incubatees.

The key components of NIDHI are –

NIDHI-PRomoting and Accelerating Young and ASpiring innovators & startups (NIDHI-  PRAYAS) - To setup Idea to Prototype support, NIDHI-PRAYAS program has been launched. NIDHI-PRAYAS is positioned as a preincubation initiative. Under NIDHI PRAYAS, 10 PRAYAS Centres have been setup at various TBIs along with support for establishing PRAYAS Shala and Proof of Concept Grant support for innovators/ entrepreneurs as Prayasee. The program aims to inspire the best talents to be entrepreneurs, minimise the risk involved in pursuing start-ups and to partially set off their opportunity costs of high paying jobs.

NIDHI- Entrepreneur-In-Residence (NIDHI-EIR) - Support system to reduce risk; Under the program, subsistence grant for a period of one year is provided through a TBI to an aspiring or budding entrepreneur of considerable potential for pursuing a promising technology business idea. Ten TBIs have been extended support for further disbursement of EIR grants to the entrepreneurs. The NIDHI-PRAYAS and NIDHI EIR programs are being managed through online portals developed specifically for these programs.

NIDHI-Accelerator - Fast tracking a start-up through focused intervention; NIDHI Accelerator programme is a successful mechanism to enable fast tracking the seed and early stage start-ups through deep and intensive engagement model. In F.Y. 2016-17, 9 TBIs/STEPs have been recommended for support under the recently launched programme "National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations- Accelerator (NIDHI-Accelerator". These include CIIE Initiatives, Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), Gujarat, KIIT -Technology Business Incubator (KIIT-TBI), Odisha, EDEN, Bangalore under IKP Hyderabad, Startup Oasis, Rajasthan, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, Kolkata, Amrita Technology Business Incubator, Kerala, Ahmedabad University Support Foundation (AUSF), Gujarat, NAARM-TBI a-iDEA, Telangana and Zone Startups India, Maharashtra.

NIDHI Centres of Excellence (NIDHI-CoE) - A World class facility to help startups go global; The NIDHI-CoE (Centre of Excellence) proposes to strengthen and scale up existing capacities of STEP/ TBIs and support potential start-ups with different pursuits and practices in transferring technological innovations into marketable products/high-growth companies. Six TBIs have been recommended for scaling up as Centre of Excellence.

NIDHI-GCC - Grand Challenges and Competitions for scouting innovations;

NIDHI-GCC is a pre-incubation activity targeted mainly at scouting of innovations for building a pipeline for the TBIs (Technology Business Incubator). The programme will find & nurture new and innovative solutions for major challenges being faced by the society that are viable and sustainable.

2. ‘empoWer’ the first women start-up accelerator programme promoting gender diversity in the entrepreneurship space

DST supports Women Start-up Accelerator programme “-empoWer” by Zone Start-ups, empoWer is positioned as the 1st women entrepreneur centric accelerator program in India. It promotes the gender equality and diversity in the entrepreneurship space and provides an opportunity to women entrepreneurs for building business and scaling up, and being job creators.

3. DST-Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Program (IIGP) fostering innovation driven entrepreneurship

DST-Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Program (IIGP) is a unique public private partnership initiated in 2007 between Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Indo-US S&T Forum; FICCI; Stanford Graduate School of Business; IC2 Institute, University of Texas at Austin and TiE Silicon Valley. Each partner brings a distinctive value to the programme with a common objective of fostering innovation driven entrepreneurship in the country. Through a wide outreach campaign spreading over 100 cities across India, the Programme has received and evaluated over 7000 ideas so far and nurtured over 350 startups. In addition to building entrepreneurs, more than 50 incubation managers from India have been trained in the US on global best practices on incubation and commercialization.

4. PLUGIN, an incubation program for hardware & systems startups

PLUGIN is a collaborative Incubation Program for Hardware & Systems Startups by DST, Intel, & SINE, IIT Bombay. DST, SINE and Intel have collaborated to conduct a first of its kind incubation program to support hardware & systems-based startups in India. While entrepreneurial ecosystem is maturing in the country, there are still many gaps to support hardware product based start-ups in terms of lack of funding, hardware equipment, design expertise, manufacturing support, and market access. The program aims to address these gaps in the start-up ecosystem that hardware companies face for product development and commercialization. This would be first of its kind program in India where industry, academia and Government are coming together to support over 15 hardware product based start-ups. The 1-year incubation is designed to help startups to develop their products and assist in go-to-market strategies and scaling up. There startups are provided with  cash grants, add on equity funding, intensive training periods, one-on-one mentoring, technical support from Intel experts, business service support, as well as prototyping and manufacturing support. There will be a demo day after 6 months where the start-ups are showcased to investors and industry players.

5. DST-Texas Instruments India Innovation Challenge motivating, validating & incubating innovative design ideas by engineering students with commercial potential

DST has partnered with the Texas Instruments to scout, motivate, validate,and incubate innovative design ideas by engineering students with commercial potential in the Electronics, semiconductor and embedded systems domain under Make in India, anchored by MyGov platform and implemented through Indian institute of Management, Bangalore.