Srinagar: The Innovation and Incubation Centre at Kashmir University has developed two new schemes to support the growth of entrepreneurship in Kashmir by giving innovators and startup enthusiasts a platform and the support they need.
The centre which is also called NewGen IEDC Business Innovation and Incubation Centre, will be providing multiple grants to aspiring youngsters to upscale their startups and other innovative idea.
In a conversation with Greater Kashmir, Coordinator of the centre, Dr Sartaj Hussain said that they are fully prepared with the infrastructure and necessary grants to the aspiring youngsters.
He said that under the schemes, they will provide necessary mentorship, and financial help and provide their infrastructure to young entrepreneurs free of cost to realise their dreams.
“We have come up with two schemes that will provide grants to young entrepreneurs to conceptualise and realize their startup ideas and innovations. We are encouraging the new ideas and those ideas which have IT intervention,” Hussain said.
He said that the first scheme is a fellowship for young innovators with some raw ideas. Innovators selected under this scheme will work as scholars for a year till they properly conceptualise their idea or any startup.
“We call it taking them to the proof of concept level. This scheme is called Entrepreneurship in Residence (EIR) Fellowship, and it will help to upscale an idea by providing mentorship. If you have an idea that can be a product, service, or a startup, we will provide you with expert help and take care of the financial aspects till it reaches a level which is called proof of concept. If you have a promising concept, we will help you to realize it and take it to a certain level,” said Sartaj Hussain.
He said that based on the requirement, the fellowship will provide upto Rs 4 lakh to young graduates. He said the concept should be innovative, and they can give further assistance or connect the young entrepreneurs to experts for necessary help.
He said that under the second scheme, which is called the Minimum Viable Product Grant scheme, the entrepreneurs should have already reached a proof of concept.
“This grant will be upto Rs 7 lakh which will not be like a loan etc because you don’t have to repay it. In this scheme, one should have the completed concept of the innovation, startup, or product so that we can further help. Help can include covering various costs. For example, you have a start-up concept, but it is yet to be registered as a company, and you need financial help with that. Here, we can help. We can also fund the IT part, marketing, and other upscaling aspects through this scheme,” he added.
He said that both schemes are run through the Government of India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. He said that the schemes are encouraging work in areas like health care, Med-Tech, Education, Agritech, Fintech, etc.
To mention, the centre started in 2018 and has seen many promising ideas and innovations. The officials at KU said post-COVID, they actively worked on it and are trying to rope in as many innovators as possible.