- Innovation & Incubation
- Culture & Sports
Kanpur, March 5, 2023: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, through its technology business incubator, Startup Incubation & Innovation Centre (SIIC), is organizing a two-day Startup Festival – ‘Abhivyakti’, from March 4-5, 2023, at the institute. The festival is bringing together people from different walks of life, including budding entrepreneurs, government officials, industry representatives, investors, and mentors from across the country.
The ‘Abhivyakti’ Startup Festival commenced with a grand inaugural session on March 4, with Prof. Ankush Sharma, Professor-in-Charge, Innovation & Incubation, IIT Kanpur, welcoming the delegates. Dr. Nikhil Agarwal, CEO, SIIC & AIIDE-CoE, IIT Kanpur, delivered a remark on the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in current times. Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur, gave the inaugural address by emphasizing on the need to promote startups and entrepreneurship in India.
The event was graced by a host of dignitaries, including Hinduja Group’s Shri Ajay Hinduja (joined virtually); Shri Arun Tiwari, Group President, BFSI, Hinduja Group; Dr. Ajay Kumar, former Defence Secretary, GOI; and Shri Sivasubramanian Ramann, Chairman & MD, SIDBI, who shared their valuable insights on the startup ecosystem in the country. More than 600 government officials, innovators, venture capitalists, angel investors, startups, and students gathered at the inaugural day of Abhivyakti 2023.
Commenting on the inauguration of the Festival, Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur, said, "We are proud to host the Abhivyakti Startup Festival at IIT Kanpur, which brings together the brightest minds in the startup ecosystem, including entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and government officials. Our mission at IIT Kanpur is to foster innovation and entrepreneurship across sectors, and this festival is a testament to our commitment to that mission. We believe that the festival will serve as a launchpad for many promising startups and will contribute significantly to the growth of the startup ecosystem in India."
Prof. Ankush Sharma, Professor-in-Charge, Innovation and Incubation, IIT Kanpur, said, "Abhivyakti is a great initiative that provides a platform for startups to showcase their ideas and connect with investors and mentors. It is heartening to see the passion and energy of these young entrepreneurs, and I am confident that many of them will go on to become successful businessmen."
Two significant developments took place on the inaugural day of the event. SIIC, IIT Kanpur signed an MoU with the Hinduja Group to collaborate on promoting the startup ecosystem in India by providing crucial support to budding entrepreneurs, fostering innovation and driving growth in the Indian startup ecosystem. The inaugural session also witnessed the launch of the SIDBI Seed Equity Support Scheme (S4-SIIC). With this fund, SIDBI is setting up a pilot fund of Rs. 50 Crore, 10 Crore each year, which will be used for supporting the hard-tech startups incubated at SIIC, IIT Kanpur.
In his keynote speech, Shri Sivasubramanian Ramann, Chairman & MD, SIDBI, highlighted the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in driving economic growth. He said, “The Vision for Fund of Funds is aligned with the Government's objective of promoting entrepreneurship by providing indirect funding to emerging startups through Venture Capital (VC) Funds”.
Shri Ajay Kumar, Former Defence Secretary of India, highlighted the significant role of young innovators in the field of defense, emphasizing the power of their ideas and their potential to transform the sector through the development of cutting-edge technologies.
An Innovation Showcase with several revolutionary inventions is being held as part of the festival. On the inaugural day, over 70 startups from various sectors, such as Agritech, Cleantech, Cybersecurity, Fintech, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Defence, Sustainability, the Internet of things, and Artificial Intelligence, participated. The Showcase provides a platform for startups to present their ideas and products to the audience, gain exposure, connect with potential investors, and receive valuable feedback from industry experts, which will help them improve their offerings and better meet the needs of their customers.
Along with the overwhelming group of startups, Abhivyakti has also attracted over 40 investors from across the country to the event. The investors are getting a chance to see and understand the innovations closely and discuss on investment possibilities.
Various events and activities are being organized as part of the Festival. In the event titled “Government se Baat” – a panel discussion on "Government Initiatives for Promoting Deep-Tech Startup Culture in India", the panelists comprising high-level officials and experts shared their insights and experiences on how the Indian Government is supporting deep-tech startups through various initiatives to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. FundSights, a panel discussion on "Investing in Deep-Tech Startups: Opportunities and Challenges”, had experts emphasizing on the need for adequate funding, mentorship, and a supportive ecosystem to nurture startup ventures.
The event titled “Samvaad with Industry” focused on catalyzing innovation through corporate-startup partnerships. The panelists discussed the importance of building collaborative relationships between large corporations and startups, leveraging each other's strengths to drive growth and innovation. Following the Showcase was the Battle of Ideas, where startups engaged to pitch their innovative solutions to a panel of judges. A Drone Show was also held late in the evening, where cutting-edge drone technologies were showcased to the delegates.
The festival is providing an opportunity for startups to gain valuable insights, connect with potential investors, and showcase their innovations to a wider audience. With the support of SIIC and IIT Kanpur, the startups will be able to receive necessary mentorship and funding to turn their ideas into successful businesses, driving innovation and economic growth in India.
Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC), IIT Kanpur, is one of the oldest incubators in the country. It was established in 2000 when the entrepreneurial ecosystem was still at a nascent stage in India. The multifaceted and vibrant incubation ecosystem at IIT Kanpur, nurtured for over two decades, prospers to fill the gaps on the road to converting an idea into a successful and meaningful business model. The domain expertise combined with the infrastructural prowess of the academic institute has collectively demonstrated a knack for tremendous social impact and technological advancement over the years.