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NIT centre looks to incubate IT entrepreneurs

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Centre for entrepreneurship development and incubation (CEDI) of NIT Trichy has opened up opportunities for incubation of innovative businesses by announcing seed funding of Rs 25 lakh for start-ups. After having incubated 10 innovative businesses in diverse areas in the last three years, CEDI is now looking for ideas and business models in IT/Electronics – SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud) areas for seed funding.
March 9 has been fixed as the last date for potential entrepreneurs including working professionals, faculty, research scholars and UG and PG students to apply for the programme. While it will help early stage entrepreneurs engaged in growing innovative businesses, the idea is to reach out to a large section of potential entrepreneurs. Director of CEDI, a “section eight” company promoted by NIT Trichy, G Kannabiran, said that if someone had an idea and had no money to convert it into a product, they would get a seed fund of Rs 25 lakh and office space. CEDI is to select up to four such entities for funding and mentor them apart from making R & D facilities of NIT Trichy accessible to them.

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“Since these small companies cannot afford to recruit employees and pay huge salary, we also provide NIT’s bright students as interns who can assist them in their work,” said Kannabiran. For each incubatee, they have formed a mentor team consisting of one of the faculty members from industry. An alumnus of the institution who was into business would help these early stage entrepreneur convert their business idea into marketable product. “Once they are successful and venture capitalist companies invest in their business, we will exit”, said Kannabiran.
While 2 per cent of corporate tax should go towards corporate social responsibility (CSR), they could fund incubator setup in the centrally-funded institutions. Sonata software had committed significant funding to CEDI NIT Trichy to support technology business incubation under CEDI-Sonata partnership.
Kannabiran said that CEDI had received a Rs 1.2 crore grant from Sonata software and funding from the ministry of information technology as well for the programme. “We either give loan or CEDI takes equity of the company. The interest from the equity would be used to fund more startups,” said Kannabiran.
Speaking to TOI, Utsav Mathur, an NIT alumni and founder of a one-year-old virtual reality startup called ‘Gmetri’ said that the programme was encouraging. “ A new company like ours needs to have cash flow to get some attraction. Technical sessions with the mentor team give us insight into ways to move on and help get industry-specific details,” he said.


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