TBI helps innovators with funding to build an enterprise out of their innovation
Are you an innovator with a novel idea that would impact the society at large? You may be an individual or a company and if you need to give shape to your innovative idea, prototype it, build a product, and sell it to become an enterprise, the Technopreneur Promotion Programme (TePP), an open innovation network under the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India, is ready to lend you help with funding and also incubation though remotely. TePP has 29 outreach centres spread across India and one of them is the Technology Business Incubator (TBI) as part of University of Madras, Chennai. Located in the University’s Taramani campus, TBI has funded 25 innovative projects so far and two of them, Invention Labs and Uniphore, have become commercially viable businesses. Encouraged by its success, TBI is looking for innovative ideas to fund.
Dr. Gangi Reddy, Managing Director of TBI, University of Madras, says, “once an innovator submits an idea, we seek the help of technology angels to evaluate the idea. These technology angels are usually from IIT-Madras or from Anna University although we occasionally choose domain experts from different departments. When an electricity-related project came up, we sought the advice of a retired chief engineer of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.” The TBI, in its three years of operations, has sought the counsel of more than 70 experts to evaluate the ideas submitted by innovators. The unique aspect of this programme is that the innovator can also be an individual and not an enterprise per se. Through microtechnopreneurship support (TS), students get to the extent of Rs. 75,000 to explore their innovative ideas. The TePP Project Fund helps (1) unattached independent innovators like micro and small entrepreneurs working on new designs; (2) start-up firms/incubated firms with turnover less than Rs 45 lakhs; (3) independent innovators scouted, documented, mentored by various agencies like NIF, RIN, RIF, ISB, SPJIMR, CIIE, CII, FICCI, Stanford Bio Design; (4) finalists of competitions like Techfest, GE Edison Challenge, Tata NEN, Proto.in, Indian Angel Network, TiE, Eureka, India Innovation Pioneers Challenge, Lockheed Martin India Innovation growth program, Innovation for India awards, Piramal Prize , Economic Times, National Geographic; and (5) medical doctors coming out with low cost tools by providing a fund up to Rs. 15 lakhs. A supplementary TePP fund of Rs. 7.5 lakhs is given to innovators who have successfully completed Phase I.
Innovators get Rs. 45 lakhs as a seamless scale up support who fulfill the following criteria:
- Innovator who has successfully completed TePP Phase-I project and desires to take innovation to market by becoming Technopreneur.
- Innovators who have worked on ‘Phase-1 concept proving stage’ with support from other government agencies or with their own funds.
- Independent innovator taking up collaborative innovation in partnership with commercial firm using TePP Open Innovation Network.
- Entrepreneur taking CSIR rural technologies (with high social impact) to market.
Dr. Gangi Reddy is excited to work with TBI after a stint in Corborundum for over 20 years. The three-year-old TBI is working quietly giving wings to the dreams of innovators. Dr. Gangi Reddy adds, “my evaluation usually involves screening the innovator for various parameters like their capability and we want to see more enterprises built out of innovations.”
For more details about the program or to arrange a meeting with Dr. Gangi Reddy, contact TBI, University of Madras, on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
–Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist