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Driving Innovation & Entrepreneurship by Fostering Startups

Chandigarh Engineering College (CEC), the sole private engineering institution accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) for five consecutive years (2009-2014), commands profound respect in its region. Ranked among India’s elite engineering colleges, CEC boasts a faculty roster featuring esteemed professionals from IITs and premier institutes, fostering a prolific academic environment. With over 1200 research papers and 150 patents, CEC stands at the forefront of innovation. Embracing contemporary teaching methodologies, the college ensures students receive cutting-edge education. Renowned for its 360-degree training program, CEC excels in placements, epitomizing excellence and leadership in engineering education.

In a privileged conversation with The Interview World, Dr. Dinesh Arora, a distinguished Professor and Intellectual Property (IP) Head at the Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC), located within Chandigarh Engineering College, illuminates their endeavors in research, innovation, startup incubation, and IP development facilitated by ACIC. Below, we present the pivotal highlights gleaned from his insightful interview.

Q: What initiatives and strategies has Chandigarh Engineering College implemented to foster research, innovation, entrepreneurship, startup incubation, and patent creation within its academic ecosystem?

A: Let me introduce you to the Atal Community Innovation Center, a pivotal hub nestled within the Department of Research, Innovation, Sponsor Projects, and Entrepreneurship at Chandigarh Engineering College. Here, at the helm of the Chandigarh Group of Colleges, we oversee this dynamic department, which functions as our esteemed Incubation Center. This center is a catalyst for fostering innovation, serving as a nurturing ground for early-stage entrepreneurs, startups, faculty members, and students alike, empowering them to transform their ideas into tangible realities.

Within the incubation center’s nurturing confines lies the Idea Zone, a fertile ground where creativity blooms and aspirations take flight. It is here that individuals are encouraged to embark on their research and innovation endeavors, providing them with the necessary resources and support to navigate the challenging terrain of entrepreneurship.

An integral component of our ecosystem is the regular ideathons held almost monthly, providing a platform for budding entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas. These sessions culminate in panel discussions where judges meticulously evaluate each idea, selecting those deemed worthy for incubation within our center. Once chosen, entrepreneurs are granted access to invaluable resources, including complimentary office space and the autonomy to build their teams, all without the burden of rental expenses. However, after a year of incubation, a nominal fee of Rs. 10,000 is required, ensuring sustainability and continued growth.

But our support extends far beyond mere physical infrastructure. We are committed to providing comprehensive assistance, including technical guidance and financial backing. Startups benefit from a range of funding options, including Rs. 20 lakh in seed funding and Rs. 50 lakh in debenture fund support, empowering them to scale their ventures and bring their innovations to market. Moreover, we offer financial support of Rs. 2 lakh for inventions, incentivizing groundbreaking discoveries and breakthroughs.

In addition to financial support, we place a strong emphasis on intellectual property protection. Through our robust IP protection services, startups can safeguard their innovations by filing for patents, trademarks, and copyrights, all at no cost. We shoulder the associated government and professional fees, ensuring that entrepreneurs can focus their resources on driving their ventures forward.

With a steadfast commitment to nurturing innovation, our IP cell has filed over 2000 patents to date, of which 1000 patents have been published and 45-plus have been granted, and several others in the loop. This underscores our dedication to fostering a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship. Looking ahead, plans for technology transfer are underway, with an entrepreneurial meet scheduled for April. Here, we aim to facilitate seamless knowledge exchange and collaboration, laying the groundwork for future breakthroughs and advancements.

As we journey forward, we are grateful for initiatives such as Startup India and Make in India, spearheaded by PM Modi, which champion indigenous innovation and product development. Armed with determination and vision, we stand poised to continue our innovation journey, driving positive change and making a lasting impact on the world.

Q: What is the total number of patents that have been successfully commercialized up to the present time?

A: Just recently, I mentioned that our patent was published merely a month or two ago. Notably, only a handful of patents have been granted thus far. This observation prompts us to initiate the process of technology transfer without delay. It’s worth noting that up to this point, we are in the process of five technology transfers. This underscores the importance of swiftly leveraging our intellectual property for broader commercial applications and collaborations.

Q: What are the key dynamics shaping the tech startup movement in India?

A: In recent years, there has been a noticeable uptick in both tech transfers and the momentum of startup ventures. The government has been pivotal in fostering this growth through a multitude of initiatives. Among these are various schemes tailored to support innovation and entrepreneurship, such as the IP scheme, SIPP schemes, and notably, the Kapila Scheme focused on patent filing.

Specifically, the Kapila Scheme serves as a robust shield for safeguarding the intellectual property (IP) rights of creators and innovators. Its overarching aim is to not only protect these rights but also to instill a deeper understanding of the imperative need for IP filing mechanisms. Furthermore, the scheme endeavors to educate individuals on the intricate methodologies involved in filing IP on a global scale. With the government offering grants and support at every turn, the pathway to accessing these resources is clear—eligible individuals simply need to seize the opportunity.

Q: What’s the long-term vision for your institute?

A: Our overarching goal is to play an integral role in Viksit Bharat by equipping individuals with entrepreneurial acumen, nurturing a culture of innovation, and providing mentorship to the younger generation. Our vision extends to expanding our expertise in research and fostering innovative solutions to address societal challenges. By empowering individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in a dynamic world, we aim to contribute to the growth and development of our nation. Through continuous learning, collaboration, and forward-thinking initiatives, we aspire to be catalysts for positive change, driving progress and prosperity for generations to come.

Chandigarh Engineering College – Transforming Ideas into Innovations
Chandigarh Engineering College – Transforming Ideas into Innovations
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