UPES gets Rs 5 crore grant for inclusive-tech business incubator


The National Expert Advisory Committee of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has recommended the inclusive-tech business incubator (i-TBI) at the UPES Dehradun for a funding of Rs 5 crore under the NIDHI scheme—the National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations is an umbrella programme pioneered by the DST for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful start-ups.

Rahul Nainwal, the CEO of Runway—the incubation cell at the UPES—told FE that the i-TBI at the UPES is the first in the state, and “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.”

The i-TBI, he added, will benefit the entire region. “Uttarakhand is a hilly state and has unique challenges. Many of the state’s problems can be solved by providing tech solutions to local and regional challenges,” he said. “The 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 necessary training, mentorship and financial aid to enable them to create scalable solutions.”

Runway is a start-up incubator at the UPES that offers mentorship, grants and investments, legal and incorporation support, and allocation of space to work. According to Nainwal, UPES students will also benefit from the i-TBI. “The presence of an incubator on the campus will give students exposure to disruptive thinking and innovative technology. It will also motivate some students to be a part of the i-TBI and work on technological and business problems,” he said.

The i-TBI at the UPES is expected to be launched by January 2023, and start-ups in the domain of blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, drones, the Internet of things (IoT), innovative mobility solutions, and manufacturing, amongst others, will be identified for incubation at the i-TBI.

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