The Department of Science and Technology (DST) National Expert Advisory Committee has recommended the Inclusive Technology Business Incubator (i-TBI) at UPES Dehradun for funding of Rs 5 crore under the NIDHI program – the National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations is an umbrella program launched by the DST to nurture ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful start-ups.
Rahul Nainwal, CEO of Runway – the incubation cell of UPES – told FE that UPES i-TBI is the first in the state and “seeks to foster a culture of innovation and of entrepreneurship in higher education institutions by creating a thriving innovation ecosystem supported by mentorship and funding for creative projects.
The i-TBI, he added, will benefit the entire region. “Uttarakhand is a hilly state and presents unique challenges. Many problems of the state can be solved by providing technological solutions to local and regional challenges,” he said. “UPES i-TBI will focus on innovative ideas that are at the confluence of social, economic and developmental issues and technology, and provide them with the training, mentorship and financial assistance necessary to enable them to create scalable solutions.”
Runway is a start-up incubator at UPES that offers mentorship, grants and investments, legal and incorporation support, and workspace assignment. According to Nainwal, UPES students will also benefit from i-TBI. “Having an incubator on campus will allow students to be exposed to disruptive thinking and innovative technologies. It will also motivate some students to be part of i-TBI and work on technology and business issues,” he said.
The i-TBI at UPES is expected to launch by January 2023, and start-ups in blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, drones, internet of objects (IoT), innovative mobility solutions and manufacturing, among others will be identified for incubation at the i-TBI.