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Can India become an innovation hub for engineering students to launch startups that solve some of the toughest industrial and social challenges faced by the country? We are already a powerhouse of good engineering student talent; what is required is the right ecosystem that helps provide a leg up to bright and young entrepreneurs.
This is what Texas Instruments India has set its sights on with the India Innovation Challenge Design Contest (IICDC), an initiative that provides a platform to launch student-led tech startups, by recognizing and mentoring entrepreneurial ideas and transforming them into successful ventures. TI- IICDC has partnered with institutions like IIM-Bangalore, DST (Department of Science and Technology), DIPP and MyGov to support innovative tech-based ideas, conceptualized by students, aimed at solving complex challenges.
The 2016 edition of IICDC saw cutting edge ideas, from over 624 engineering colleges, in fields as diverse as agriculture, health, environment, traffic and waste management! One of the participating teams conceptualized a technology to help ambulances navigate densely populated city zones, by accessing the shortest route to the nearest hospital, as well as communicating with traffic signal hubs in advance to make way for the ambulance! Another technology solution, in the area of agriculture, aimed at helping farmers track their crop progress using sensors embedded in fields to measure moisture, fertility and other soil factors and transmit this information back to the farmer’s smartphone. An all-women’s team presented a technology solution that would segregate waste into wet and dry which can be used by both rural and metro cities.
While IICDC2016 saw tremendous participation, IICDC2017 has already surpassed earlier records! With over 5049 innovative ideas( which maps to many ‘Make In India’ sectors) from 965 engineering colleges across the nation and participation from 15,380 students, this year’s challenge promises to be bigger, better and more ambitious. The initiative has also gained impetus from the Government’s ‘Make in India’ program that encourages entrepreneurs to make India their favored destination.
IICDC 2017 has an interesting line up of projects in areas like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality etc. The initial 5000-plus submissions have been thoroughly vetted by TI’s internal review team comprising of domain experts. The top 1106 project ideas shortlisted by TI will now be further reviewed by IIM-B, and judged on parameters such as technology salience and effectiveness of the business plan. At the end of this year-long journey top finalists will qualify for INR 3.5 crore funding from the DST. The process will encompass three qualifier rounds where evaluators will select projects based on cost effectiveness, competition, innovation, technology used and business plan.
The mentoring process will include interactions with experts from DST and IIMB and opportunities for participants to attend seminars and workshops on how to sharpen their business acumen and build necessary skills to launch sustainable startups.
Commenting on the significance of IICDC, Sanjay Srivastava, Director, TI India University Program, says “TI believes in nurturing engineering students through our university program, especially through experiential learning. IICDC is a great example of this. We are thankful to all our partners for helping us build IICDC into a thriving platform for young minds to generate ideas and launch businesses that impact society in a positive way.”
Click here for the list of all the qualifiers of IICDC2017. Wishing a successful future to all the participants.