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Special Content

Issue no 9, 28 MAY - 3 JUNE 2022

Aim Prime Promoting Science-Based Deep Technology In The Country

In a major push towards deep technology and driving the country to become a digitally transformed nation, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog on March 31, 2021 launched AIM-PRIME, an initiative to promote and support science-based deep-tech startups & ventures across India. The nationwide AIM-PRIME program culminated on May 10, 2022 with the release of the AIM-PRIME Playbook. Before getting into what the playbook is all about, let us first understand what AIMPRIME program entailed.

AIM-PRIME program

The AIM PRIME (Program for Researchers in Innovation, Market Readiness and Entrepreneurship) program was aimed at promoting early-stage science-based, deep technology ideas to market through training and guidance over a period of 12 months using a blended learning curriculum. In this regard, AIM joined hands with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to launch this nationwide program which was implemented by Venture Center - a non-profit technology business incubator. Deep technology is an outcome of very intense research and development (R&D) with high knowledge content. Consequently, the entrepreneurial journey emphasizes different aspects and requires a different approach to navigating the derisking process and bringing such ideas to market.

The first cohort of the program invited technology developers (early-stage deep tech start-ups, and scientists/engineers/ clinicians) with strong science-based deep tech business ideas. The program was also open to CEOs and senior incubation managers of AIM-funded Atal Incubation Centers that are supporting deep tech entrepreneurs. The first cohort consisted of sciencebased startups, faculty entrepreneurs and incubator managers, where they worked on progressing their idea by teaming up with an incubator. The cohort included 40 organizations and 64 participants, representing 23 different cities across 7 states. The cohort represented a wide variety of science-based sectors, including industrial automation, IoT, electronics, robotics, energy and environment, health and rehabilitation, and food, nutrition and agriculture. Over 17 national and international faculty members were on-boarded as part of the program, who have collectively spent more than 640 hours on mentoring.

They were also provided access to a deep tech startup playbook, curated video library, and plenty of peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The AIMPRIME program is specifically tailored for the rapid scaling up of deep-tech science ventures in India, providing not just the necessary intellect and support but also the exposure they rightly deserve.

The benefits of this program aimed to address specific issues through training and guidance over a period of 12 months. Candidates selected for the program got access to in-depth learning via a comprehensive lecture series, live team projects, exercises, and project-specific mentoring. Candidates got an opportunity to learn from global experts on various topics relating to innovation and entrepreneurship. They also got the opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary team to actively bring an idea to market, get access to the mentor panel to accelerate their projects, access to exclusive toolkits compiled in a resource for commercializing deep technology ideas and additional access to insights and lectures from various industry experts from around the globe. The candidates also had the opportunity for Peer-to-Peer learning and network with and learn from other experienced startup founders and innovation managers.

Mr. Suman Bery, Vice-Chair of NITI Aayog, opines, "Startups represent an important part of the economy that shape the future industries of the world and thus can shape the jobs, products and economy of the future. Science-based startups are particularly exciting due to their potential for delivering large scale social impact (like for example, via vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, climate change resistant crops, carbon capture technologies etc) but also providing India the opportunity to leap-frog into the future and position itself as a leading innovation-led country of the world. Programs like AIM PRIME can nurture vehicles that can attract capital into high riskreward pursuits - something that can be important for achieving higher growth rates in the country."

Other program benefits include the PRIME Playbook, a guide for science-based entrepreneurs and ventures, the PRIME Library, a curated resource shared by the faculty and expert mentors associated with the program, and the PRIME Videos, an open-access video collection of the lectures delivered as part of the PRIME Classroom.

What is AIM-PRIME playbook?

AIM-PRIME Playbook aims to be a comprehensive resource for academic researchers, entrepreneurs and incubators involved in building science-based enterprises from lab to-market.

What is Atal Innovation Mission?

The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog in 2016 to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of the country. AIM aims to create and promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of our country. AIM's objective is to develop new programmes and policies for fostering innovation in different sectors of the economy, provide platforms and collaboration opportunities for different stakeholders, and create an umbrella structure to oversee the innovation & entrepreneurship ecosystem of the country.

The Atal Innovation Mission has following two core functions:

1. Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.

2. Innovation promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated. AIM has multiple programs to encourage and support innovation in the country.

Atal Tinkering Labs

To promote creative, innovative mindset in schools. At the school level, AIM is setting up state of the art Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) across all districts across the country. These ATLs are dedicated innovation workspaces of 1000-1500 square feet where do-it-yourself (DIY) kits on latest technologies like 3D Printers, Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), Miniaturized electronics are installed using a grant of Rs 20 Lakhs from the government so that students from Grade VI to Grade XII can tinker with these technologies and learn to create innovative solutions using these technologies. This will enable create a problem solving, innovative mindset within millions of students across the country.

 Atal Incubation Centres

Promoting entrepreneurship in universities and industry. At the university, NGO, SME and Corporate industry levels, AIM is setting up world-class Atal Incubation Centres (AICs) that would trigger and enable successful growth of sustainable startups in every sector /state of the country, thereby promoting entrepreneurs and job creators in the country addressing both commercial and social entrepreneurship opportunities in India and applicable globally. AIM is also providing scale up support to existing incubators for scaling up their operations.

Atal Community Innovation Centres

To promote the benefits of technology led innovation to the unserved/underserved regions of India including Tier 2, Tier 3 cities, aspirational districts, tribal, hilly and coastal areas, AIM is setting up Atal Community Innovation Centres with a unique partnership driven model wherein AIM would grant upto Rs 2.5 crores to an ACIC subject to a partner proving equal or greater matching funding.

Compiled by: Annesha Banerjee & Anuja Bhardwajan

Source: PIB/aim.gov.in