Harnessing India’s Tech Strength | 27 Apr 2022
Why in News?
Recently, an agreement has been signed between CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) and iCreate to harness the country's technological strength.
What is iCreate?
- iCreate is an autonomous centre of excellence of the Gujarat government and is India's largest institution for transforming start-ups based on tech innovation into businesses.
What is CSIR?
- CSIR is known for its cutting-edge Research & Development and Industrial knowledge base in diverse S&T areas.
- It is a contemporary R&D organization.
- CSIR has a dynamic network of 37 national laboratories, 39 outreach centres, one Innovation Complex, and three units with a pan-India presence.
- CSIR has a patent portfolio of 8366 Indian patents and 7806 foreign patents.
- CSIR covers a wide spectrum of science and technology – from oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology to mining, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering and information technology.
- It provides significant technological intervention in many areas concerning societal efforts.
- Societal efforts include environment, health, drinking water, food, housing, energy, farm and non-farm sectors.
- Further, CSIR’s role in Science & Technology human resource development is noteworthy.
What are the Highlights of MoU?
- Under the MoU, CSIR and iCreate intend to establish a collaborative support system for promising tech start-ups by making combined resources available for entrepreneurs and innovators in the country.
- The partnership will also catalyse scientific innovation and the marketability of high-tech start-ups.
- Fintech, neobanks, and e-commerce players make the most of the digital environment and their enterprise can leverage it to the fullest as well and ride the digital boom.
- Further, iCreate will help set up new incubators at identified CSIR labs.
- Such start-ups will access CSIR's equipment, facilities, and scientific manpower.
- CSIR will provide intellectual property support and explore methods of financially supporting innovative start-ups from India to boost emerging entrepreneurs.
- iCreate will also leverage its deep industry connections and market linkages to identify real needs that can be addressed through scientific innovation by CSIR scientists.
- It will thus lead to faster commercialisation of the innovations coming out of CSIR.
What is the State of Start-ups in India?
- Today, India is the third largest start-up ecosystem globally (by number of start-ups) with more than 15,000 start-ups established in 2020, up from 5000 in 2010.
- The underlying enablers of this startup ecosystem include smartphone and internet penetration, cloud computing, application programming interfaces (APIs), and a national payments stack in place.
- Additionally, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, India has witnessed more number of Unicorn startups (startups having valuation of over USD1 billion) in just 2021 than it did in the period 2011-20.
- However, still there are many challenges (Building and Scaling an Indian Startup, Diversity and the Digital Divide, Complex Regulatory Environment) that act as a hindrance in realizing the true potential of startups in India.
- Other Related Initiatives:
- Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems: It is an evolved evaluation tool aimed to strengthen the support of States and UTs to holistically build their startup ecosystems.
- SCO Startup Forum: The first-ever Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Startup Forum was launched in October 2020 to develop and improve startup ecosystems collectively.
- Prarambh: The ‘Prarambh’ Summit aims to provide a platform to the startups and young minds from around the world to come up with new ideas, innovation and invention.
- Startup India Seed Fund Scheme: It aims to provide financial assistance to startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry, and commercialization.
- Fisheries Startup Grand Challenge: The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying In association with Startup India, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry inaugurated the Fisheries Startup Grand Challenge.