Young researchers struggling to muster funds to establish their start-ups have a reason to smile — the government on Monday set up a corpus of Rs. 55 crore to help scientists convert their prototypes to tangible commercial products.
“This (venture capital) fund will now help researchers become entrepreneurs,” Science Minister Prithviraj Chavan said.
The Rs. 55 crore fund will be provided to start-ups registered with nearly 40 science and business ‘incubators’, which help researchers set up new companies, in the country during the 2010-11 financial year. These incubators help to take the laboratory prototypes to the masses as tangible products.
The fund will be managed by the Science and Technology Park in Pune, where the Indian Steps and Business Incubator Association (ISBA) secretariat is located.
Rajendra Jagdale, secretary general of ISBA, said the fund will help many new enterprises to come up as it would help researchers shift their innovation from the science lab to the market. This is the first ever venture capital fund for business incubation.
“There is no point producing a prototype or publishing a thesis hoping that someone will pick it up. Here ISBA and the fund will come to their help. ISBA is just five years old but they are doing a great job in networking for resources,” Mr. Chavan said.
“The whole intention is to convert knowledge to enterprises,” the minister said at the 4th ISBA conference here.
He said the Indian government has been at the forefront to help establish start-up companies to generate employment among science and technology graduates.
“Innovation through incubation is the way forward for sustainable inclusive growth. This initiative will go a long way in achieving sustainable growth through science and technology tools,” said R.M.P. Jawahar, president of ISBA.
India is currently spending around one percent of the GDP on research development, as compared to over four percent being spent by countries like Israel and Finland.