S. Ganesan

For Innovation Fund of the Technopreneur Promotion Programme Financial assistance will be given for converting ideas into prototype products

TIRUCHI: The Tiruchi Regional Engineering College Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park (TREC-STEP) plans to take up a special campaign among industries and educational institutions to identify and encourage more innovators to avail themselves of the Innovation Fund of the Technopreneur Promotion Programme (TePP).

TREC-STEP is the partner agency in Southern India for the implementation of TePP, funded by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC). Individual innovators are extended financial assistance under the programme for converting their innovative ideas into prototype products / models. The project is intended to help innovators overcome initial constraints and give shape to their ideas for the benefit of the society at large.

Any innovator farmers, artisans, engineers, scientists, medical practitioners, housewives or even students with an original idea / invention / know-how could avail financial support under the programme. Innovators would be eligible to get up to Rs.10 lakh as grant-in-aid for a project from the Innovation Fund created under the programme.

TREC-STEP has so far forwarded about 23 applications to a high-level Evaluation Committee comprising DSIR and TIFAC representatives. Of this four proposals have been cleared by the DSIR. "About 100 persons approached us for availing the fund. After preliminary screening, we took the applications for about 40 projects. On further evaluation by our experts, we selected 23 viable proposals and forwarded them to the DSIR," the Executive Director of TREC-STEP R.M.P. Jawahar told The Hindu .

Projects sanctioned

The sanctioned projects include a proposal put forward by an engineering student, Sriram Kumar of Coimbatore, on developing a universal `spirit level' (an instrument used in construction industry to indicate whether a surface is level). The DSIR has sanctioned a grant of Rs.50,000 for the project.

A carpenter of Madurai, N.Vinayaga Pandi, has been sanctioned Rs.5 lakh for developing `split type wood cutters.' Another proposal, put forth by I. Panneerselvam of Paramakudi for developing a tractor mounted pulverising unit for crushing a thorny plant species (karuvela mul) has been sanctioned a grant of Rs.3.12 lakh. The final product is to be used as industrial fuel. A Tiruchi-based innovator has been sanctioned Rs.50,000 for developing a manually operated table-top metal cutter and shear press, according to V. Venkatesh, Project Officer, TREC-STEP.

TREC-STEP officials are hopeful that 10 more applications would be cleared soon, including a proposal a proposal on developing pesticides using use algae and neem. "We are also planning to take some of the innovators under our fold and provide incubatory support to their ventures," Mr. Jawahar added.

TREC-STEP has already initiated a dialogue process with the Tiruchi District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association and has planned to take up a campaign among industries, industries associations and educational institutions to draw innovative proposals from employees and students.