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Got a smart solution to transform India? Sign up for IIM Calcutta’s SmartFifty contest to win grants and star in a TV show

Team YS
8th Nov 2017
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This article is brought to you by IIM Calcutta Innovation Park 

Smart is the new sexy!

You can’t dispute the statement even if it does sound like a t-shirt slogan. The rapid progress in IoT technology, the advent of Industry 4.0 and the dizzying increase in connectivity have enabled the creation, deployment and scaling of solutions that can solve India’s unique challenges. If you are a startup or an entrepreneur with a smart solution that needs just the right type of support to take your idea to the next level, here’s a solution that’s just for you.

IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, a not-for-profit entity, in association with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, has launched a joint initiative to encourage entrepreneurship-driven social development. SmartFifty50 solutions to transform India is a televised contest to discover and reward 50 smart ideas across targeted sectors that can help transform India through the creation of wealth and employment opportunities and efficient solutions to social problems.

To be telecast on NDTV, “India’s largest startup contest” seeks to find aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs and innovators, and provide them with seed funding, strategic networking and mentoring support.

Last date to apply is November 25. Apply now.


Smart solutions are especially important for a fast-developing economy like India which needs these to give a larger section of its populace access to sustainable solutions and better quality of life, education and infrastructure – it’s what will help us stay in step with global superpowers.

Why you should apply

The contest is a chance to positively impact the lives of millions of Indians, a chance to get your solution validated and recognised both at a national and international level, and an opportunity to get monetary rewards and other benefits. Here’s a sneak peek into some of the benefits on the cards for those who apply and win.

Over Rs 21 crore available via cash grants and other benefits.

  • The top 10 startups stand get funding up to Rs 1 crore each and assured Incubation at IIM Calcutta Innovation Park
  • The top 50 startups get assured funding of Rs 4 lakh each and get access to dedicated mentoring
  • The top 400 startups get assured benefit worth Rs 1 lakh each
  • 3,000 startups win assured benefits worth Rs 50,000 each

The Top 50 finalists will also feature on NDTV 24X7’s Smart Fifty series.

Who can apply

Register for SmartFifty if you:

  • Are an entrepreneur with an early stage venture (set up not earlier than September 1, 2012) or a promising idea with a plan and prototype or working model
  • Have a principal business unit, or propose to set up a principal business unit in India.
  • Have a business plan or an early stage venture which is not an extension of your family business or integrated with any existing business
  • Have a determinable revenue model
  • Can verbally communicate in Hindi/ English
  • Are not involved in these industries -- alcohol, tobacco, gambling, firearms and explosives.

Preference will be given to those startups that have a full-time core team and a working model, prototype or proof of concept ready for customer validation.

Areas of focus

If you have a solution that is sustainable, motivational, affordable, responsible and transformational, addresses a major socio-economic need, and have a sustainable revenue model with a focus on any of the following areas, then you can apply:

  • Smart Learning: Infrastructure and delivery, skilling & re-skilling
  • Smart Agriculture: Tech-enabled farming, supply chain, food processing
  • Smart Money: Payment systems, financial inclusion, blockchain, big data
  • Smart Sustainability: Clean tech, water conservation, waste management, clean energy, pollution management
  • Smart Living: Security, mobility, city, village, home, governance, retail
  • Smart Health: Devices, home care, rural care
How it works

First shortlist: January 21, 2018.

The top 3,000 selected applicants will be called for regional knowledge sessions between January 27 and March 4, 2018.

A jury will screen and pick the 40 top entrepreneurs from each region.

Following the quarter-finals, the top 50 participants selected will take part in a boot camp at the IIM Calcutta campus and compete in the semi-finals.

Ten finalists will make their way to the Grand Finale which will be held in New Delhi on March 31, 2018, where the top 3 winning ideas will be selected by an eminent jury on TV.

So, if you believe you have a smart idea that could make a positive difference in society, then this could be the platform that you need to take it to the world. You can get more details about the initiative here.

Hurry and apply to the Smart Fifty contest today. November 25 is the last date to apply.

YourStory is an ecosystem partner for this programme.

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