The startup culture in India is beginning to heat up. INV Fintech, Bank Innovation’s accelerator arm, has seen an increase in applications from India, and currently has two Indian companies in its accelerator.
To facilitate the creation of an entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem, the Government of India, through its premier policy Think Tank called the Niti Aayog, has set up the Atal Innovation Mission. As a part of the Mission, the government has envisioned three different programs, which are as follows:
- Atal Tinkering Labs
- Atal Incubation Centers
- Scale up Support to Established Incubators
The Atal Tinkering Labs are meant to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in the minds of middle school and high school children. The government provides the selected schools with a grant to buy the necessary infrastructure/ equipment to propel creative thinking and create a scientific temper.
Whereas, the Incubation centers hope to enable the transition of an innovative idea to a successful and sustainable business venture. The mission has supported 10 Atal Incubation Centers and hopes to scale up 6 Established Incubation Centers across the nation from a long exhaustive list of applicants. Importantly, each incubator gets to choose the specific sectors of the economy that it would like to focus, based on its inherent expertise. The selected incubators include a wide selection of higher educational institutions, Public Sector Companies, Private Entities, Public entities, Alternative Investment Funds and Research & Development Institutions. Based on the intrinsic expertise and area of focus of the incubator, it is expected to provide access to prototyping facilities to enable the development of pilots for the products/ services to all it’s incubates.
These incubators are envisioned to provide the physical infrastructure in terms of capital equipment and operating facilities to its incubatees. Moreover, the incubatees will have access to experts in academia and business who can mentor them through various facets like business planning, hiring, legal know-how, pitching their idea, seed funding, marketing their product etc. Along with these mentors, each incubator is required bring on industry partners to further bridge the gap between incubatees and the world of big business / cutting edge institution of research & development, which would further assist in commercializing these ideas.
Through the length of the year, each incubator will conduct workshops, events, talks to help streamline the functioning of startups. In addition to the uninhibited access to mentors, the ability to hear from the brightest minds across vocations would future sharpen their ideas and business acumen.
The Atal Innovation Mission is a truly laudable steps taken by the government to build an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country. If the nation needs to find solutions to problem unique problems plaguing the country, there is a dire need to foster and nurture such an ecosystem.
Tanay Paranjape is a Mentor at the NMIMS Incubation Center set up under the Atal Innovation Mission. NMIMS is one of India’s leading business schools.