Bhubaneswar: In an attempt to support, handhold, incubate and mentor start-ups in Odisha as well as help realize the vision of the state government to build an enabling environment and supporting eco-system that can facilitate at least 1,000 start-ups in the next five years, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Friday launched the Innovation Club on four leading campuses in the state.
“Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), Silicon Institute of Technology, TempleCity Institute of Technology and Engineering Knowledge Campus (a unit of Techno India Group) are the institutes where the CII Innovation Clubs will be housed. Not only do we intend to create a strong and enduring culture of innovation and entrepreneurship here in this state, incubate start-ups and connect them with funding agencies, CII will also help start-ups get funding for their projects,” JB Pany, Chairman, CII Eastern Region Startup & Innovation Taskforce, and Managing Director, Radiant Telesystems Pvt Ltd, said at a seminar on ‘Financing Innovation: Fueling Startup Growth’ organized by the CII here.
The launch of Innovation Clubs in Odisha testifies to the state’s growing stature as a knowledge hub and potential centre of start-ups, Pany said, adding that the target is to help students of engineering and management institutes in Odisha set up companies of their own.
This is in line with the CII national theme for 2018-19 – India RISE – Responsible, Inclusive, Sustainable, Entrepreneurial, he said.
Stating that Odisha has set a vision to become one of the top three start-up hubs in India by 2020 through strategic partnerships, conducive ecosystem, investment and policy intervention, he said the CII Innovation Clubs will play a major role in Odisha becoming a thriving centre of big ideas and innovations. “We sincerely believe that the State has the potential and wherewithal to become a leader in innovation in the country,” he said, adding that since the vision of the CII is to improve the living standard of the common masses through innovations, the corporates need to form an alliance to create a strong eco-system of innovation.
He also urged the state government to consider offering scholarships to the best and the brightest, and also explained why this CII initiative is pioneering in concept and design. “In today’s business environment, innovation forms the bedrock for creating new generation companies, translating consumer problems into ground-breaking business ideas while leveraging technology to create targeted solutions,” Pany said.
The conference featured about 100 industry leaders, academic luminaries, fund managers and thought leaders.
In his address, Dipankar Chakrabarti, co-chairman, CII Eastern Region Startup & Innovation Taskforce and Executive Director, Technology Optimization Lead PricewaterhouseCoopers India Pvt Ltd said this is just a beginning. “As the CII Innovation Club gathers momentum in Odisha, we are confident that more institutes in the state will encourage their students to take the advantage of this initiative,” he pointed out.
He further said the initiative of the CII, which runs 20 such clubs elsewhere in eastern region, has already resulted in the creation of a number of student-driven start-ups, he told the audience.
“As for the Innovation Clubs in Odisha, CII will serve as a bridge between academic institutions and industry, connecting future innovators, start-ups with funding agencies and corporates,” Chakrabarti added.
He informed that the CII Innovation Clubs will involve top academics, scientists, industry members who as mentors will interact with students and help them in coming up with projects which have the potential to get commercialized. The CII mentors will also teach them about revenue models, intellectual property, and how to structure and pitch, he explained.
“CII is confident of the outcome. We strongly believe that the CII Innovation Clubs, which are designed to groom and pick future champions in innovation and entrepreneurship, will spark and create a whole new culture of start-up. I am sure it is going to make a huge impact in Odisha in a few years to come,” Chakrabarti asserted.
“Our vision is to build relationships globally, to connect ideas, research and solutions with substantial funding between academia, business and government,” he said.
He further observed that though innovation is the driving force of any economy and society, it makes no sense unless it cuts costs and enhances improves standard of living of the common people. “For any country to progress, prosper and make an impact on world stage, it is extremely important that all stakeholders come together and create a strong platform,” he felt.
Our aim is to create and spread the spirit of innovation here in Odisha with participation of all – incubators, fund people, industry leaders, counselors, and also successful innovators,” he said, adding that CII believes that innovation should be a tool kit in academic curricula in engineering and other courses.