A brief summary on the NIDHI-PRAYAS and NIDHI-EIR schemes, and grant sanction details of PSG-Science & Technology Entrepreneurial Park (PSG-STEP)

By Varsha V (MSc Data Science , 2016-2021)

While most organisations cater to “Space, Services and Knowledge” requirements of start-ups, there exists a broad crevice in financial support required by a technology driven start-up in its initial juncture, which is not being addressed properly.

Here comes in the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI), an umbrella program, started by National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) ,Department of Science and Technology (DST),Government of India which has sanctioned an amount of Rs.100 crores to support all the fruitful propositions out there. The institutionally linked facility focuses on nurturing innovative and technologically led new ventures during the initial and critical period. PSG-Science & Technology Entrepreneurial Park (PSG-STEP) is one of the few well equipped centres in the country promoting the programme.

Dr Naveen Vasishta, Director, NSTEDB, Shri L Gopalakrishnan, Managing Trustee, Dr R Rudramoorthy, Principal, PSG College of Technology & Dr K Suresh Kumar, General Manager, PSG-STEP with the beneficiaries

NIDHI – PRAYAS:

There is a profound lack of support for early stage prototyping in the country, causing many innovators to lose interest in their ventures in the absence of support at that critical point of time.

PRomoting and Accelerating Young and ASpiring technology entrepreneurs (PRAYAS) focuses keenly on the aspect of supporting young avant-gardes turn their ideas into proof-of-concepts. This grant benefits the innovators in pursuing their ideas without the fear of deterioration, thereby paving a way for them to reach a point where they have an apt product.

Dr. R. Rudramoorthy enlightened the gathering stating that PSG – STEP had received an endorsement of Rs.6.00 crores under the NIDHI – PRAYAS Scheme to authorize an efficient laboratory at a cost of Rs.1.00 crore and Rs.5.00 crore in aid to the innovators to convert their notions into prototypes. A maximum amount of Rs.10.00 lakhs might be approved per innovator to convert their idea into prototype.

Initially, PSG – STEP received 84 idea submissions from innovators in different sectors like Electrical / Electronic, Biomedical, Biotechnology, Textile, and Mechanical. The proposals put forward were scrutinized and 18 were shortlisted before the Project Management Committee, out of which PRAYAS had selected ten projects with a total budget of Rs.71 lakhs.

Out of the 10 projects, Mr. R. SATHISH KUMAR and Mr. ABHISHEK BHASKAR, our alumni are engaged on implementing their ideas supported by this scheme. Mr. R. Satish Kumar, (B.Tech Information Technology,1999-2003) is working on a ‘Diagnostic Kit for Cardiovascular Disease’, to identify patients at the risk of developing heart attacks and strokes at the earliest by identifying a series of predictive biomarkers in blood and the circulating cells. He has been sanctioned an amount of Rs.9.00 lakhs and provided with the support of PSG Hospitals and PSG Institute of Medical Sciences & Research in the development of the solution. Mr.Abhishek Bhaskar (B.E EEE SW 2002-2007 ) is focusing on an ‘Aeropart Validator’, a validator of the RFID tags used in the aerospace industry that checks the presence and validity of various parts such as safety equipments during the final stage of aircraft manufacturing and reports errors, with a grant of Rs.7.30 lakhs.

NIDHI – EIR:

To inspire the best talents to be entrepreneurs and minimise the risk involved in pursuing start-ups, NSTEDB has introduced NIDHI-Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR), which provides exceptional opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs to expand their grids and be positively criticized in their undertakings to promote their career ambitions.

The NIDHI-EIR Programme would provide subsistence to an aspiring or budding entrepreneur of considerable potential for pursuing a promising technological business idea. The support to early-stage, product-focused young entrepreneurs working on innovative big ideas would be for a maximum period of 12 months. As a NIDHI-EIR, one gets office space, administrative support and a stipend of a maximum of Rs.30, 000 per month to make the most of their ideas and turn innovative breakthroughs into viable businesses.

PSG – STEP received 22 applications for this programme, out of which the committee selected five young prospects interested in starting a new venture for the fellowship support under NIDHI-EIR scheme.

One of the six prospects is Ms. MAMATHA M.PILLAI, who is a major in Biotechnology and has been associated with PSG Institute of Advanced Sciences since 2012, and is in research, while tutoring junior students and volunteering in conducting conferences. Her work focuses on ‘Breast Cancer Detection using Paper Strips’,  a paper-based urine test to identify biomarkers associated with cancer as well as blood clots, raising the possibility of improved preventive care.

 Sanction Letter and first instalment of grant being handed over to a beneficiary

The release of the sanction letters (with the 1st instalment of the grants) to the beneficiaries was held on July 13, 2017 at the Board Room, PSG College of Technology. Dr. Naveen Vasishta, Director at the NSTEDB, Department of Science and Technology, handed over the sanction letter and the 1st instalment to the beneficiaries in the presence of Sri. L. Gopalakrishnan, Managing Trustee – PSG & Sons Charities and Dr. R. Rudramoorthy.

Providing such opportunities for those with creative and innovative intellect might turn out to be a godsend help. This scheme hopes to serve the purpose of igniting the spirit of entrepreneurship among all those youngsters out there and it has struck all the right notes at the start.

VARSHA V. (MSc. Data Science, 2016 – 2021) is an ardent reader with outrageous passion for baking. Consumed by wanderlust, she’s an avid traveller who prefers solitude. Greek and Egyptian histories are her areas of fascination

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