Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur inaugurates IIT Mandi Catalyst’s Annual Flagship Event Himalayan Startup Trek

Mandi: Chief Minister Sh. Jai Ram Thakur virtually inaugurated the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi Catalyst’s annual flagship event Himalayan Startup Trek (HST) on Saturday, 12th December 2020. During the event, Hon’ble Industries Minister of Himachal Pradesh announced a seed fund of Rs. 10 Crore for startups from Himachal Pradesh. IIT Mandi will be hosting this fund under the Him Startup Yojana.

Virtually addressing the event, Hon’ble Chief Minister Sh. Jai Ram Thakur said, “IIT Mandi is a jewel of Himachal Pradesh. I congratulate and applaud the Institute on virtually organising the Himalayan Startup Trek during the Covid times. I am happy to see how the Institute has made an impact with its startup initiatives on a national level. In the fast growing world, I urge the young startups to take a lead in utlising technology to find solutions for the community at large”.

“I hope to visit IIT Mandi in the near future and discuss how the state government can work even closer with the Institute to boost the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state”, said, Sh. Thakur while concluding his address.

Speaking about the H.P. Government’s initiative to boost entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state, Sh. Bikram Singh, Hon’ble Industries Minister, Himachal Pradesh, said, “I am happy to see IIT Mandi has incubated more than 100 startups in the past 4 years which have made a mark not just on national but on international level as well. I congratulate the Institute and its team for this achievement and hope that these innovators will help the country grow. The Him Startup Yojna will provide unimaginable opportunities to the startups from Himachal Pradesh.”

IIT Mandi Catalyst already hosts a Rs. 10 Cr fund sponsored by Department of Science and Technology, GoI, that has national focus. Under the Him Startup Yojana, funding will be focussed to the regional startups that are in advance stages of product development and are looking to commercialise it in the near future.

Regarding the Institute’s collaboration with the State Government, Prof. Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Mandi, said, “IIT Mandi Catalyst is continuously helping young minds in materialising their innovative ideas to create solutions for the society at large. The fund under the Him Startup Yojna provided by the state government will prove to be a boon for the new ventures in the state.”

This year in HST, as many as 70 startup applications will be considered for incubation support by IIT Mandi Catalyst. During the 3 day event, 40 mentors/ investors will meet these startups. Selected startups will undergo an incubation program during which seed funding will be provided to them. A maximum seed support of Rs. 50 Lakh will be available to a single startup.

Speaking during the event, Dr. Anita Gupta, Advisor & Head (Innovation & Entrepreneurship), Department of Science & Technology, GoI, said, “Given the talent, opportunity, challenges, and diversity, in India, we are charting the new pathways to promote entrepreneurship in the county. Incubators like IIT Mandi Catalyst are navigating the challenging journey of young startups and providing mentors for them to succeed. I am happy to see many startups incubated by IIT Mandi Catalyst and other incubators of DST have worked tirelessly to help tackle COVID in the country. All these innovative efforts have helped India rise in the Global Innovation Index.”

Addressing the gathering, Dr. Ajai K Garg, Director, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, GoI, said, “Covid has given us a great opportunity to enhance our strength using technological innovation and solutions. IIT Mandi Catalyst is an important factor keeping the government and young entrepreneurs glued to work together for the betterment of Society. I am glad to say MeitY startup hub is with Catalyst to support the young entrepreneurial India.”

In its incubation program, IIT Mandi Catalyst will provide business and technical mentoring to the selected startups shortlisted under the scheme through a competitive pitching process. The next batch of incubation program will begin in the month of January 2021 and the startups will have an opportunity to raise funds from various funding schemes that the incubator hosts.

Apart from this, Mr. Srikanth Velamakanni, Executive Vice Chairman, Fractal Analytics; Mr. Kartik Desai, Executive Director, Asha Impact, and, MS. Rhea M Singhal, Founder & CEO, Ecoware India, addressed the audience during the event.

It is notable that IIT Mandi Catalyst is committed to building a strong ecosystem in the region. In a short span of 4 years, Catalyst has incubated 100+ startups and disbursed more than Rs. 3.5 Crore funds. Catalyst is currently hosting Nidhi-Seed Support System, Nidhi-Prayas Scheme, and TIDE 2.0 scheme of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology that has a national focus. All these schemes provide funding for different stages of startups be it ideation, prototyping or commercialization.