Students Centric Startup Policy - Gujarat Model

Students Centric Startup Policy - Gujarat Model

Two years back I joined Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar as an Assistant Professor of Research and on the very second day I was given the task to coordinate startup related activities at the universities. GNLU came up with idea of setting up of a legal incubation centre in year 2014 and finally it got registered as not for profit company under the Companies Act, 2013 in name and style of GNLU Legal Incubation Council popularly known as GLIC. It is run by faculty coordinator/convener/members supported by manager and student member. After my joining of one month in June 2017, Education Department, Government of Gujarat invited application for grant under student’s centric startup policy called Student Startups & Innovation Policy popularly known as SSIP which was launched in January 2017. Department invited application for grant across the state in phase manner irrespective of government or state universities/institutions. We submitted the application and able to get grant of Rs. 40 Lakh in phase 2. In 2017, first year itself it sanctioned 7.2 Cr grant out of which 3.6 Cr disbursed for University category and sanctioned 8.4 Cr grant out of which 4.2 Cr disbursed for Institute category. Till date total 23 universities and 51 institutes have been given the grant. Recently Gujarat topped the ranking of states by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion for their startup culture.

Key Objectives

The Student Startup & Innovation Policy of Government of Gujarat aims to create an integrated, state-wide, university-based innovation ecosystem to support innovations and ideas of young students and provide a conducive environment for optimum harnessing of their creative pursuit.
1)    Developing student centric Innovation and Pre-incubation Ecosystem for Students (IPIES)
2)    Creating environment for creativity to flourish and an end-to-end support system in educational institutions to allow ample support to ideas for better execution
3)    Build internal capacity of educational institutions and key components of the innovation ecosystem to enable deployed processes to make sustainable impact at scale
4)    Create pathways for mind to market by harnessing and handholding projects/ research/ innovation/ ideas of students in Gujarat
5)    Creating and facilitating sectoral and regional innovation efforts in state around educational institutions
6)    Create a common platform to showcase, support and upscale innovations for motivating stakeholders as well as for an opportunity to create value for money and value for many
7)    Leverage public system initiatives at state and central level, academia, industries and by other ecosystem stakeholders / domain experts and institutions to make an inclusive effort

Key Goals

1)    Empower all universities to set-up and execute the broad agenda of innovation and pre-incubation
2)    Aim to create an environment that converts at least 1% graduates into job creators by innovation and allied means
3)    Support at least 1,000 student-led innovations per year and aim to file 1000 patents from universities in the state every year
4)    Harness 500 student startups in the next 5 years, and upscale
5)    Empower universities and educational institutes to build a robust Innovation and pre-incubation support systems within
6)    Create incentives, awards, appreciations and benchmarks for innovation and student startups and associated efforts at all layers
7)    Build capacity for at least 200 educational institutes in the state in the next five years, to have a robust pre-incubation support for student / alumni startups and Innovations
8)    Undertake strategic interventions to empower all universities in the state to develop full-fledged pre-incubation ecosystem in the next 5 years
9)    Ensure that the innovation processes link academia, society and SMEs through systematic ways so that students and faculty solve their challenges and create further entrepreneurial opportunities

Role of Stakeholders

1)    Government: Mandate, support, facilitate, integrate and scale
2)  Academic stakeholders: Deploy agenda within, quality assurance, create end-to-end support systems, and codification
3)    Non-academic, industry and other ecosystem stakeholders: Mentoring, market access, and domain knowledge

Chronology of event

January 2017 – Launch of SSIP
May 2017 – Summer Innovation Challenge 2017
June 2017 – Setting up of Innovation and Start-up cells and councils across universities and institutes 
September 2017 – Award distribution for winners of Summer Innovation Challenge 2017, Launch of smart Gujarat for New India Hackathon
October 2017 – SSIP grant disbursement Phase 2
February 2018 – Regional Hackathon in multiple cities
March 2018 – Grand finale of Smart Gujarat for New India Hackathon
May 2018 – SSIP grant disbursement -  Phase 3, Summer Innovation Challenge 2018, Annual Start-up/Innovators’ Meet, Smart Gujarat for New India Hackathon winners awarded, Inauguration of SSIP Hub
September 2018 - Gujarat Industrial Hackathon announced, Launch of Intellectual Property Guidelines, Award distribution for winners of Summer Innovation Challenge 2018
November 2018 – Setting up IPR Cells in institutes
December 2018 – Launch of student open innovation challenge, Large scale capacity building of faculty members

Key Highlights

2,50,000+ students outreached
900+ prototype supported     
400+ patent filed
2900+ project supported
19 Cr+ grant sanctioned

The Way forward

I would say SSIP policy is blessing for students who can experiment with their idea being in college/university and come up with path breaking product or service which will solve the social problems and building the economy. SSIP also supports alumni who passed in last five years. Most important thing about this policy is that it does not have revenue sharing, stake mechanism in place which really helps student to work on their idea without any worry. Last year SSIP Hub was established at Ahmedabad which is a co-working space for budding student entrepreneurs. In SSIP hub, seminar and capacity building programmes on start-ups related topics are organised on regular basis. Various Awards schemes were also launched to appreciate the effort made by institute, university, faculty, students. For smooth operation of this policy at university and institute level, dedicated faculty and staff are utmost needed which will have lesser academic burden. We all will agree that people involved in execution of this policy taking extra burden and not able to cope up with objectives set. Some are enjoying startup related activities some not. There should be some budgetary provision for appointing at least a Manager to execute SSIP related activities under the guidance of faculty coordinator/convener. In last six months 6 faculty development programmes have been conducted under SSIP in collaboration with Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad. In this FDPs total 231 faculty, incubation managers, executives and other concerned participated and learned the startup ecosystem and its implementation in their universities/institutes. I am really happy to be a part of this innovative policy which is empowering students through its various activities.

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