Thursday, July 25, 2024

Initiative Helps Pupil Startups Win Seed Funding & Mentorship


The TechForChange initiative, spearheaded by Nasscom Basis and Ciena, empowers faculty college students to domesticate impactful social ventures by an intensive 18-month programme. Collaborating startups obtain grants, funding, mentorship, and a bunch of different sources to assist their development and growth.

This text is sponsored by Ciena in collaboration with nasscom basis.

A younger little one is inspired to discover the world and get their palms soiled in a playground. ‘Fall down seven occasions, rise up eight’, are phrases that each little one lives by. Why then, will we lose this never-say-die perspective as we develop up? 

Pushing children to harbour this perspective to resolve real-life challenges is the TechForChange programme, which offers them with a “geek playground”.

The concept, Nidhi Bhasin, CEO, nasscom basis, explains, is to encourage social improvements from the leaders of tomorrow. “We encourage youngsters to play whereas instructing them that it’s okay to fall in a playground. We’re creating an identical playground for entrepreneurs, the place it’s okay to fail. We educate them to face up by offering the mandatory assist wanted for achievement.”

Take, for instance, 22-year-old Shivam Gupta who had a unbelievable thought for constructing drones for the defence and agriculture sectors. In want for steerage and funding, he joined the programme as an engineering scholar in August 2022.

The programme helped him refine his thought and study the artwork of pitching to buyers. His startup ‘Home Applied sciences’ was one of many winners in Cohort 2 and is now up and operating, blazing an impactful path on the bottom.

Not simply Shivam, this programme has helped 11 startups discover their toes whereas accelerating the entrepreneurship journey for the scholars. This helps to make the difficult early levels of enterprise creation — from ideation to product growth and advertising and marketing — simpler to navigate.

TechForChange is a Company Social Accountability (CSR) initiative led by Ciena, a community {hardware}, software program and providers firm, in collaboration with nasscom basis as a part of the nasscom ecosystem in its third 12 months.

The aim is to equip younger innovators with important instruments, assist, information, and alternatives, empowering them to make a significant influence. Additionally it is to offer them with a platform to show their concepts into prototypes and companies. Spanning over 18 months, the immersive programme guides college students, exposing them to cutting-edge know-how and potential use circumstances.

The highest 5 high-potential startups are introduced with a seed grant of Rs 5 lakh every by Know-how Enterprise Incubators (TBI).

Empowering tomorrow’s leaders to drive sustainable innovation

At the moment, the crucial for sustainable options that sort out crucial social points is plain. And this programme seeks to empower younger leaders to catalyse international transformation by their progressive ventures and entrepreneurial spirit.

School college students refine their concepts and get them operating by this programme.

TechForChange strives to guide this cost by nurturing rising entrepreneurs and offering them with the assist and sources they should soar. It’s designed to foster options that not solely sort out urgent challenges but additionally resonate with the United Nations’ Sustainable Growth Objectives (SDGs), thereby contributing to a extra sustainable and equitable future.

This programme was conceptualised to deal with the hole discovered within the talent set amongst faculty college students. Whereas they’re well-prepared for placements, they don’t seem to be geared up with the important instruments wanted to begin their very own ventures.

“Ciena’s Digital Inclusion programme goals to foster scholar growth and entrepreneurship in know-how, selling it as a viable and sustainable profession possibility,” says Amit Malik, VP & Gross sales Chief, Ciena India.

Ciena India staff additionally have interaction in common volunteering periods to impart their very own expertise and information to assist increase the scholars’ confidence.

Ciena, in collaboration with nasscom basis, has carried out two profitable cohorts up to now two years and nurtured over 157 concepts. Of those, 11 startups have materialised throughout varied sectors — together with healthcare, schooling, psychological well being, and agriculture know-how.

These 11 startups obtained mentorship from business stalwarts and grants price Rs 61 lakh.

The programme stands out by offering hands-on workshops and project-based learning.
The programme stands out by providing hands-on workshops and project-based studying.

“We obtained numerous assist and assist from the mentorship periods. The programme helped us study advertising and marketing and allocation of funds too. It has made me a extra assured one who can current his thought higher,” Shivam shares.

He provides that the programme helped them launch the drones out there and in addition led to grants price over Rs 19 lakh from programmes in IIT-Mandi, NSUT IIF (Incubation and Innovation Basis of Netaji Subhas College of Know-how, New Delhi), and the Vimarsh 5G Hackathon.

For the reason that third version of the TechForChange programme commenced in January 2024, the highest 124 concepts had been chosen. The method was kick-started by hands-on workshops on design considering and ideation, which helped in refining the concepts.

The programme stands out by providing hands-on workshops and project-based studying, that are instrumental in creating experience in cutting-edge applied sciences — reminiscent of Synthetic Intelligence (AI) and Machine Studying (ML).

Going past technical expertise, the TechForChange-Cohort 3 programme emphasises the significance of innovation, guiding individuals to establish buyer wants and market gaps. This ensures that the options should not simply theoretical however are related, and it helps find the product-market match.

By means of this, they hope to encourage children to seek out options to the burning challenges in society immediately. The TechForChange-Cohort 3 programme has created a framework and assist system that permits these options to develop into working prototypes by know-how.

Nonetheless, developing with an progressive thought is simply step one within the journey of entrepreneurship. Recognising this, the programme provides in depth assist within the crucial early levels of enterprise creation. This consists of mentorship, sources, and steerage on features — starting from ideation to product growth and advertising and marketing — making certain that these younger entrepreneurs have the very best basis to thrive.

The heartening change noticed within the programme over the previous three years is the growing variety of girls individuals. TechForChange’s sturdy dedication to range and inclusion has performed a key position in attracting extra girls. Within the present cohort, 30 % of the individuals are girls. “We hope that this quantity continues to extend over time,” says Vishal Thakur, CTO, nasscom basis. 

The highest 5 chosen startups from the third cohort will obtain enterprise mentoring, seed funding, and advertising and marketing assist. On the finish of 16 months, these 5 startups might be able to launch.

Particulars of the programme

The TechForChange-Cohort 3 programme is open for school college students in Delhi-NCR with a technical background. The scholars should give you a technical resolution for a social downside. The programme spans 18 months — together with 11 months of cohort and 7 months of incubation for the chosen 5 startups.

Students working on building drones for the defence and agriculture sectors.
College students engaged on constructing drones for the defence and agriculture sectors.

Part 1: Ideation monitor (2 months)

The chosen 124 groups get a chance to refine their early-stage ideas into viable concepts by workshops and webinars. This monitor focuses on refining the issue assertion.

Part 2: Product monitor (3-4 months)

Fifty groups with promising concepts might be chosen for this thrilling stage, the place their concepts will come to fruition as prototypes. Mentors with related expertise will information the scholars and equip them with the mandatory expertise to take action. The programme may also present sources for his or her prototyping journey, together with a small fund to assist college students construct their options.

Part 3: Startup monitor (2 months)

Issues get heated up as 20 promising prototypes transfer to the following part, the place the ideas will begin turning into enterprise fashions. Mentors will information on product-market match, growth, firm registrations, and extra.

Part 4: The ultimate 5

The highest 5 startups might be chosen for incubation and an opportunity at seed funding. Their ventures might be on the cusp of turning into realities by a seven-month incubation.

To get updates on upcoming webinars and occasions, click on here.

Edited by Pranita Bhat

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