Hon’ble RakshaMantri Smt. NirmalaSitharaman launched the ‘Defence India Startup Challenge’ at HAL Convention Centre, Bengaluru with the vision to build an eco-system of innovation and entrepreneurship in India for the defence sector.
A number of initiatives to support Start-ups in the Defence sector were launched by the Hon'ble RakshaMantri during this event.
•SPARK: Support for Prototype & Research Kickstart (in Defence)
Under this framework, the ‘Defence India Startup Challenge’ would enable calling for proposals to address specific technological needs of the Indian Defence Establishment. Applicants showing capability, intent, and promise to be able to produce functional prototypes or to productize existing technologies will be awarded up to Rs. 1.5 crores, strictly on a milestone basis in the form of grant/equity/debt/other relevant structures.
•Framework for Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) Partners
As part of this framework, iDEX envisages to work with India’s innovation entities like existing incubators, which would help in the discovery and exploration of Startups/MSMEs that can perform the function of co-creation.
•‘Promotion of Start-ups under Make-II procedure of DPP 2016’
Under this initiative, projects with an estimated cost of prototype development phase not exceeding Rs. 3 crores have been reserved for Start-ups and no separate technical/ financial criteria are defined to encourage their participation. Start-ups are also encouraged to propose projects, suo moto which if found suitable as per the criteria laid out for such proposals, would get advanced under the Make-II procedure.
During this event, five incubators namely (i) Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship , IIM Ahmedabad (ii)SINE, Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, (iii) T-Hub, Hyderabad (iv) FORGE - a branded incubation enterprise launched by the Coimbatore Innovation & Business Incubator (CIBI), (v) IIT Madras signed the MOUs with Defence Innovation Organization and were given Certificates of Partnership for helping the Ministry of Defence in the discovery, exploration and mentorship of Startups/MSMEs to co-create innovative Defence Technologies.
It is for the first time in the history of defence procurement in India, that a firm M/s Tonbo Imaging, Bengaluru was given a Certificate of Accord of ‘Approval in Principle’ for its suo moto proposal ‘Night Fire Control System for AGS-30’.
A lively Panel Discussion, comprising of incubators and startups and a few Defence companies, was also organised on the theme ‘Making the First Unicorn in Defence Industry in India’.
The highlight of the event was the launch of 11 challenges by the Ministry of Defence, which is now thrown open for prospective solutions to be provided by the start-up eco-system.
(i)Individual Protection System with built-in sensors
(ii) See Through Armour
(iii) Carbon Fibre Winding (CFW)
(iv) Active Protection System (APS)
(v) Secure hardware based offline Encrypt or Device for Graded Security
(vi) Development of 4G/LTE based Tactical Local Area Network
(vii) Development of Advanced Technology Based Desalination System
(Water Purification) and Bilge Oily Water Separation System
(viii) Artificial Intelligence in Logistics & SCM
(ix) Remotely Piloted Airborne Vehicles
(x) Laser Weaponry
(xi) Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles
Accelerating innovation driven entrepreneurship and business creation through Startups is crucial for large-scale employment generation. However, Startups face several challenges - limited availability of domestic risk capital, constraints of conventional bank finance, information asymmetry and lack of hand holding support from credible agencies.
iDEX will thus facilitate the creation of networks and structures that not just provide the policy framework for this collaboration between Defence and startups, but also encourage activities and events that actually get this partnership going, and make it effective.
The Launch of Challenges will provide a fillip to the heightened Innovation potential in the country. Partnering with the best minds nationally and internationally will bring together experts in academics, technology, industry, entrepreneurship and research.
The Secretary – Defence Production, Vice Chiefs of all defence services and other stakeholders were present during the event.