Staff Reporter

New centre to nurture innovation at IIT

Published - January 12, 2017 01:33 am IST - CHENNAI:

Three alumni of Indian Institute of Technology Madras — Jaishree Deshpande, Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande and S. Kris Gopalakrishnan — have joined hands and launched a centre for innovation and entrepreneurship at the campus in Chennai.

The Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre will get a funding of $500,000 per year over the next 5 years.

The centre will select up two to three entrepreneurial and innovative initiatives every year and perform the role of an angel investor (investing in time, energy and funds). Every program the centre seeds, if successful, will ultimately stand on its own and the centre will not play a role in it after it is up and running.

The centre will be staffed by entrepreneurial professionals with solid experience, who will enable the students and faculty to find the necessary assistance to translate their out-of-the-box ideas to reality.

Gururaj Deshpande, President and Chairman, Sparta Group LLC, said: “We are looking for teams who can make something happen.”

Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said that the Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre was being created at the right time to give a big fillip to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in IIT.

Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of Axilor Ventures, said the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at IIT Madras will be enhanced by the opportunity to learn from the global network of such centres.

“Also, the research community will get the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers across the network, including market and funding access,” he said.

The centre is patterned after similar Centres at MIT (Cambridge, USA), University of New Brunswick, Canada (The Pond-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship), Queens University, Canada (Dunin-Deshpande Queens Innovation Centre), and the Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Hubli, Karnataka

It will also be part of a robust network of over 100 institutions that are part of the annual Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

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