Spark-plugging the Cradle of Change

Published: 07th September 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2015 03:50 AM   |  A+A-

There are plenty of students who may never have imagined being a business owner in College if it hadn’t been for these fully-loaded incubation centres. Shilpa Vasudevan finds out how they do it...



Somaiya Vidyavihar

Less than five years old, Research. Innovation. Incubation. Design Lab (RiiDL) is all about giving ideators from urban and rural India the digital push they need. With over 200 students honing their ideas and more than 50 start-ups expanding their horizons within their walls, they appear to be well on track, “What we’re trying to do is create a platform for creators from rural and Urban India to gain from the ecosystem we have created. We want to help students get access to digital fabrication and work on their own ideas. Our research lab won the Innovation Design Award given by MIT, US (FABLAB) in 2014 and several national level awards from FICCI and DST,” says Gaurang Shetty, Chief Innovation Catalyst, RiiDL.

Located centrally, they foster entrepreneurial growth in 34 institutions spanning Engineering, Management, Medical, Sciences, Culture and Media within the Somaiya campus studies - which creates a student pool of over 35,000. Students and alumni from IIT-Bombay, IIMs, Indian School of Business-Hyderabad, Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Don Bosco, Terna and other colleges are currently working at RiiDL.

Dig This:



Welingkar Institute

If you can see it, you can design it a whole lot better. At least that’s what the think tank felt at InnoWE, Mumbai’s first innovation Lab and centre for Memetics. “It is a space where thinking is stimulated; ideas germinate and are nurtured along to become paradigm-defining businesses,” begins Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, explaining how they hit upon their 3D printing idea. “While preparing for a workshop along with MIT Media Lab in 2014, we had installed a high-end 3D printer, so that designers can print 3D models of manufacturing product designs and alter it. This drastically reduces the cost and time needed to create prototypes allowing for much more flexible and customised designs,” says Salunkhe.

They acquired the uPrint SE Plus from Israeli-firm Stratasys. It uses Fusion Deposition Modelling (FDM) technology to create models in ABS Thermoplastic, which is durable and accurate. “As WeSchool has incorporated the ‘design thinking’ approach in its pedagogy across programmes, 3D printing fits perfectly as it gives students exposure to one of the most important trends in manufacturing,” adds Salunkhe.

They also have a six-member mentor board comprising entrepreneurs, IP experts, fund managers and mentors. “We want the youth to apply their design thinking to various socio-economic issues and create solutions,” he concludes.

Dig This:


IIT-M Incubation Cell


To add to their tally, IIT Madras is home to India’s first university-driven Research Park, which currently houses R&D and innovation wings of corporates engaged in collaborative research with IIT-M faculty. “Several sector-specific incubators have emerged, including our Rural and Technology Business Incubator (RTBI), Bio-Incubator, and MedTech incubator. IIT-M has sought to synergise technology-based entrepreneurship through the formation of a nodal overseeing body, IIT-M Incubation Cell (IITMIC),” says Tamaswati Ghosh, CEO, IIT-M Incubation Cell.

The incubators nurture technology and knowledge based ventures by providing all support necessary to help entrepreneurs survive in the market. All the incubators actively collaborate on various themes and levels.“ Here, startups are leveraging the technology gap and addressing urgent societal needs in  energy, water, healthcare, education and environment,” explains Ghosh. With 89 startups founded by students, faculty, staff and alumni of IIT-M, there is no dearth of innovation in the air. One of the important outcomes of the dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem here is the significant faculty participation, feels Ghosh.  About 30 companies have faculty as co-founders or minority shareholders. Alumni also provide mentorship, funding and networking. Going forward, they want to grow to a level where at least 20 new companies are incubated every year, with 10% of them becoming ‘blockbusters’.

Dig This:


Nadathur S Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL)

IIM Bangalore

Set up in March 2000, Nadathur S Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) offers programmes for first-gen entrepreneurs and for women entrepreneurs. Professor Sabarinathan G, Chairperson, NSRCEL says that they’ll support any venture as long as it is innovative, has the potential to make a social and/or financial impact and the team has the capability to implement it. Founders of enterprises who apply to the incubation programme do not need prior affiliation with IIMB.

Anyone requesting mentoring is matched with a mentor, depending on the area of interest. The Centre’s flagship event, 4Startups (, is held on the first Saturday of every month and provides insights into different facets of entrepreneurship. Explains Sabarinathan, “NSRCEL was founded to promote education and research relating to entrepreneurship. Around the time it was being established, Global Internet Ventures suggested starting an incubation centre.”

NSRCEL’s approach to entrepreneurship is also highly integrative, attempting to create a close connection between the theory and practice of entrepreneurship, he says, adding “Being located inside India’s leading business school provides the incubatee an unequalled access to academic firepower. We also believe that each entrepreneur should be given the space to follow their own individual style in building the enterprise. It does not believe in micro-managing the incubatee’s destiny.”

Dig This:


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp