The Department of Science & Technology has launched a new programme ‘National Initiative for Developing & Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)’ which covers the entire value chain of innovations starting from idea to commercialization.
The Indian startup ecosystem has seen a lot of activity in terms of growth of number of startups that emerged and also in terms of deals for funding that got closed and amount that were funded. Against this bright background, however, the challenge that the young student innovators face is to raise the initial funding for his/her startup.
Having reached the stage where s/he has done the technology demonstration and has a working prototype, the innovator is now looking for preparing his business plan, product validation and launch of startup. Product development and validation is his/her major challenge at this stage.
Startup launch, product development and validation requires some investment part of the young innovator. The initial funds needed at this time usually comes from friends, family, Angel investors and HNI who would invest in a early stage startup.
However, when technology is untested and market is unsure making returns uncertain, the risk of investment is too high for conventional investors including the Venture Capitalists to pitch in. The funds required at this pre – incubation stage is not a very large fund by volume but it does certainly gives the startup and the young innovator a breather in this competitive space.
NIDHI, by design connects and strengthens all the links of the innovation chain from scouting to sustaining to securing to scaling to showcasing, because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The key stakeholders of NIDHI includes various departments and ministries of the central government, state governments, academic and R & D institutions, mentors, financial institutions, angel investors, venture capitalists, industry champions and private sectors.
-To take forward student innovations in IEDC / NewGen IEDC programme to commercialization stage.
-To promote student startups.
-To accelerate the journey of idea to prototype by providing initial funding assistance.
To promote innovation focused start-ups some of the key initiatives taken by the government are:
1. National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog is implementing Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) for promoting Incubators and Tinkering Labs.
2. Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) have joined hands to promote Research Parks in the country.
3. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in association with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has set up a Rs.10,000 crore Fund to invest in Venture Capital Funds to promote innovations and start-ups.
4. Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Industries has a programme to setup incubators in the Agriculture sector, under the ASPIRE (‘A Scheme For Promoting Innovation, Rural Industry & Entrepreneurship’) programme.
5. Department of Bio-Technology has a programme to promote incubators in the Bio-tech sector under the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) programme.
6. MHRD has also launched a Smart India Hackathon for involving Engineering students to provide solutions to problems faced by Government Departments.
In short there is a concerted effort by the government to promote innovation for addressing the problems and challenges faced by the country.