This Incubator is Sector Agnostic for Tech Enabled Startups
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When Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his dear friend Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel inaugurated Ahmedabad--based International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (iCreate) earlier this year, most of us were left wondering why the prime ministers were interested in a tier II incubation center. There were various speculations but every few know the real reason.
iCreate is a technology-based incubation center that nurtures, provides mentorship to aspiring individuals or teams to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. The center is PM's brainchild and he did not just lay the foundation stone of the facility, but also the vision of iCreate was crystallized by him shares iCreate's CEO Anupam Jalote.
In a conversation with Entrepreneur India, Jalote said, "In early 2012, PM Modi, along with others had initiated the incorporation of this institution as the Chief Minister of Gujarat to develop the state as the startup hub. He thought people could be job creators rather than job seekers, and therefore, the former CM was keen to start an international-level institution in the state."
Apart from Modi's vision, iCreate also is a result of the collaborated effort of people like Late Prof. N. V. Vasani, Dr. Madhu Mehta, Prof. B. H. Jajoo, Prof. Anil Kumar, M. C. Gupta, Prof. K. Thyagrajan along with Parag Amin, Chief Mentor at iCreate and a US-based Serial Entrepreneur.
The Advisory board is chaired by Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director, Sun Pharmaceutical and is supported by some of the veterans such as Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico, K. Venkataramanan, Chairman of L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering and Uday Kotak, Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank.
Not Just an Incubator
Jalote says iCreate is not just about incubations, money support, space, technology support or mentorship; it is also about creating successful businesses.
"We provide entrepreneurs space and labs to work, hostels to stay, mentor along the journey and seed capital. We take them from the pre-idea stage and guide them till they ready to go-to the market. We even help entrepreneurs that have touch base with the market and are looking to scale their business up. At each level, you will have blockages and iCreate can guide you there," he noted.
Additionally, the incubator is sector agnostic, but ideally, there should some technology-related innovation to join the center.
"We want to be slightly away from pure IT businesses because the sector is really strong in India. On the other side, Gujarat has a very strong ecosystem for manufacturing, so we have a gentle inclination towards-product based startups from embedded system to IoT, electronics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and those are the sectors we try to focus on," he pointed out.
The institution has partnered with CISCO to set up their largest IoT lab in India. Furthermore, it works very closely with the US-India Business Council and the Israeli startups.
"With collaborations like these, our project gets access to talented inventors. We also aim to collaborate with corporates to solve their problems. The program is yet to start off, but we are discussing it," he said while adding that, "We also have tie-ups with Israel, so innovators from the country can access Indian collaborators, corporate and the overall market."
iCreate also helps various other state governments informally to develop their startup ecosystem. On asking him why informally, the CEO said, "We are too busy setting ourselves up."
Sharing his three-star startups, Jalote lists - Bioscan, a healthcare based company that has developed a low-cost handheld medical device to detect bleeding inside the skull (intracranial haemorrhage). He feels the founders Shilpa Mallik and Nupur Singhvi have done a fantastic job but the product needs to be developed further to be commercially successful.
Secondly, he lists PurpleBits, an end to end record management firm which is also available in the market. And lastly, he thinks the iCreate incubated LabourAdda, an online platform to match unskilled labourer with demand has an enormously scalable model.