“What is now proved was once only imagined.” - William Blake
Boosting the transformation of ideas into innovations, the Programme for Modernisation and Innovation in Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in India (MSME INNO) is a great example of the power of collaboration and its benefits for the MSME ecosystem in India.
The bilateral project was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and the Indian Ministry of MSME (M/o MSME).
The programme aims to create a sustainable ecosystem for cooperation and partnership between MSME units, the government, and the academic and research communities in order to strengthen the innovation capacity of the MSME sector through new technologies, products, processes and business models.
To celebrate the success stories that emerged from industry-academia collaboration, the Marathwada Association of Small-Scale Industries and Agriculture (MASSIA), supported by GIZ, organised the MSME Innovation Summit 2019 in Aurangabad on September 30.
How to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders
Based on the theme Innovate to Lead, the event was a testimony to the industry-academia collaboration initiative that was started in 2016 on a small scale and that has since grown to become a huge success.
Addressing representatives from MSMEs and industry bodies from across Maharashtra, including corporates, academic institutes, and students, Chaman Lal Dhanda, Director, MSME INNO, stressed on the need for a fresh perspective on challenges. “In order to act together to find a solution for problems anywhere in the world we need the youthful energy present in this room. We need to transfer our knowledge and experience to young minds to develop a world which will be at par with the aspirations of the new youth.”
Similarly, AR Gokhe, Director, MSME DI, showcased how the Ministry of MSME takes measures to encourage growth and development in the MSME sector. Praising MSME INNO’s success, he underlined, “The MSME INNO programme is assisting the MSME sector to get better solutions to their problems. On the other hand, students are getting benefits, because they have an opportunity to commercialise their ideas and become entrepreneurs.”
Harnessing youthful energy more productively
MASSIA President Dnyandeo Rajale highlighted how the industry-academia collaboration has increased in scope and size since its inception. Since then, the projects have not only helped to solve MSME problems, but also increased students’ employability and entrepreneurship. Prasad Kokil, Director, Marathwada Accelerator for Growth and Incubation (MAGIC) is equally passionate about fuelling the entrepreneurial spirit in students: “During college, students have a lot of energy, but also face a number of temptations. MAGIC’s motive is to develop an ecosystem where these temptations can be redirected and regenerated to create wealth for them and create wealth for society.”
Helping shape transition of a student into a successful entrepreneur
To demonstrate the programme’s success in building an entrepreneurial spirit amongst youngsters, two projects were showcased where the students had not only solved the MSME problem successfully, but also commercialised their ideas. Today, they are successfully working as entrepreneurs after launching their own startups.
One of them is Akshay Raut of Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College who developed an automatic dust collector that reduces dust pollution in Aurangabad’s MSMEs. Akshay received orders from other MSMEs and founded his own startup, which is manufacturing these machines for other MSMEs as well.
The second project felicitated was Yogesh Gawande’s Neo Spray Pump. The former student from Deogiri Institute of Engineering and Management Studies developed an automatic fertiliser sprinkler that not only increases the productivity of farmers but that also minimises the health threats that come with the job.
On the occasion, a unique digital platform to foster greater industry-academia collaboration for solutions to MSMEs’ live problems was launched. With this platform, the MSMEs can select a college and submit their requirements for each future project directly, which will then be monitored online. The platform connects the four cities of Aurangabad, Nashik, Pune and Nagpur, as well as the new project regions that will soon emerge in Punjab.
Driving innovation by enhancing employability, leveraging youth power
Ajit Habbu, Head, Tata Technology Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Department, spoke about the need to nurture quality engineers at the entry level, and took the audience through their Tata Technology Ready Engineer Programme. Shortlisting the main skills needed in an industry-ready engineer, Mr. Habbu added that good knowledge of fundamentals, contemporary tech development and future technologies, as well as good soft skills and communication skills were substantial assets for young engineers.
Mr. H. D. Kapse, MD, Indo-German Tool Room, Aurangabad, shared how the MSME Technology Centre has helped enhance industrial research, and introduce new technologies in MSMEs. Calling the Indo-German Tool Room a bridge between academic institutions and industries, he elaborated on how they were giving emphasis to entrepreneurial development, along with core tech training and practical exposure to technologies such as 3D, mechatronics and robotics.
In contrast to the aging populations across the world, India is becoming younger, offering more opportunities for Indian youngsters to come up with fresh and innovative ideas to resolve industry problems, according to Shripad Kulkarni of Nashik Industries and Manufacturers’ Association (NIMA). Kurt Gerard, VP, Ajay Kumar Garg Engineering College (AKGEC) Ghaziabad, further emphasised on the importance of creating an innovation ecosystem through Indo-German collaboration between industries and academia.
Felicitation and recognition for achievers and ecosystem enablers
Towards the end of the event, project teams whose solutions were implemented by MSMEs as well as organisations that had helped contribute to the programme’s success were felicitated with certificates of recognition. These included:
- Sandip Darde and team, for developing an auto-feeder mechanism for a press machine, which helped an MSME improve resource efficiency.
- Laghane Prakash and team, for developing a low-cost heat treatment components basket, which helped an MSME improve the process efficiency.
- Aditi Kannav and team from SGGS College, Nanded, for developing an automatic power factor controller panel, which helped an MSME reduce its operational cost.
- Shubham Jangid and Madhav Kulkarni for developing an automated LED panel tester, which helped an MSME drastically reduce the cycle time of its inspection process of LED Panels.
- Kalpesh Sonawane and team for developing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System for MSMEs in Nashik, which helped the MSME improve monitoring and productivity through digital means.
- Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College, Aurangabad, MIDC. Industries Association (MIA), Nagpur, and Nashik Industries and Manufacturer Association (NIMA), were also recognised for contributing to the development of the local innovation ecosystem in Nashik.
At the conclusion of the event, Sunil Kirdak, MASSIA convenor, advertised the Advantage Maharashtra Expo to be held in Aurangabad in January 2020. MASSIA expects 400+ exhibitors, 1 lakh+ visitors and business of more than Rs 400 crore at the event. The event will showcase Aurangabad’s speciality of being an auto component hub as well as a hub for product manufacturing, tool rooms, fixture manufacturers and integrators, food and pharma with a special focus on women’s entrepreneurship.