State government of Maharashtra has sanctioned a network of 16 startup incubator centres across the state to promote the state's entrepreneurial talent and provide them a startup ecosystem.

The process of setting up a state-wide network of incubators has been started with selection of Mumbai University (MU) and Research Innovation Incubation Design Laboratory Foundation (RIIDLF), Vidyavihar, both from Mumbai, as first two incubation centres of total 16.

MU will be setting up an incubation centre at its Kalina campus, for which an area of 10,000 square feet has been earmarked at the University Green Technology building.

MU has identified sectors such as Renewable Energy, ESDM and Semiconductor Devices, Polymers and magnetic materials, Bio technology, E-Commerce and Retail, Artificial Intelligence, and Information Technology, Process Intensifications, Stimulation and Optimization in which the centre will carry out innovations.

Mumbai University has fertile campus for incubation and start-ups ventures as there are ample infrastructure with ready to use built up space, it further said.

To select rest of the 14 incubators, state government is inviting applications and the applicants will be shortlisted on the basis of business plan, leadership team, sector expertise, market linkages and infrastructure by a panel of experts from the startup ecosystem.

Giving special emphasis to universities, the shortlisted applicants for setting up incubation centres are eligible for grants of ₹5 crore each from Maharashtra State Innovative Society (MSInS), which was established under Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, government of Maharashtra on August 18, 2017.

Beside MU and RIIDLF, the other incubation centres are expected to come up at the Amravati University Development of Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship; Center for Agro-Bio-Innovation and Incubation, SRTM University in Nanded; CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute in Nagpur; Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University in Lonere.

While 16 institutes were shortlisted in the first phase of implementation of the programme, the MSInS has started accepting applications for the second phase in which budding entrepreneurs in the state will have a chance to participate in boot camps during the startup Yatra and pitch their ideas at a seminar at Nagpur and the shortlisted startup ideas will receive pre-incubation offers.

Pre-incubation activities will be, experimental learning base, promote design thinking and creativity, develop understanding of new technologies, scaling research with students and faculty support to business, equip students with entrepreneurship and finance skills, develop skills in digital world of business.

Source - Times of India, Mumbai Mirror, Indian Express

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