NITI Aayog, Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation ink deal to support innovation

By Team BiharConnect

NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) has joined hands with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation to promote and support entrepreneurship and innovation in India.

The three institutions have collaborated to launched AIM iCREST – an Incubator Capabilities enhancement programme for a Robust Ecosystem focused on creating high performing Startups. This is a first of its kind initiative for advancing innovation at scale in India.

AIM iCREST has been designed to enable the incubation ecosystem and act as a growth hack for AIM’s Atal and Established incubators across the country. Under the initiative, the AIM’s incubators are set to be upscaled and provided requisite support to foster the incubation enterprise economy, that will help them to significantly enhance their performance. This will be complemented by providing training to entrepreneurs, through technology driven processes and platforms.

“India has a great opportunity in its inherent innovative mindset to capture global markets while creating disruptive solutions for the challenges within the country. In order to facilitate an AtmaNirbhar ecosystem that is capable of nurturing such disruptive startups, AIM, NITI Aayog is enabling this partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation,” Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog.

“We are positive it will propel our portfolio to become World Class Incubators and reach greater heights,” Kant added.

The programme aims at going beyond incubator capacity building. Given the current pandemic crisis, the effort will focus on supporting start-up entrepreneurs in knowledge creation and dissemination as well as in developing robust and active networks.

Sharing his views, Ramanan Ramanathan, Mission Director, AIM said, “India needs world class incubators fostering world class startups leveraging the tremendous innovation talent of our country. For the first time in the Government, the Incubator capacity development program is being extended to the entire portfolio of supported Atal incubators.

“This programme is unique also in its design – it is a combination of interactive practices in the field of incubation; enabling the incubators to support sustainable and successful startups. We are pleased to announce the partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation,” said Ramanan Ramanathan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM).

Reacting on the deal, Anjani Bansal, Deputy Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “Such innovations in technologies and business models can contribute, both incrementally and radically, to the foundation’s goals of improving maternal and child health, increasing productivity and income of small farmers, increasing access and usage of digital financial services, and improving livelihoods for women.”

“The large network of incubators under AIM-iCREST programme also enables us to deliver this programme at scale which is particularly exciting,” Bansal added.

“Wadhwani Foundation is honored to partner with Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help accelerate and scale Startup success in India,” said Ajay Kela, President, and CEO, Wadhwani Foundation.

“The partnership brings decades of experience and global best practice integrated into a comprehensive platform delivered through AIM iCREST. The programme will contribute to much needed economic and job growth in these challenging times,” said Kela.

These partnerships will provide global expertise and showcase proven best practices to the AIM’s incubator network.

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