IIT Bombay launches e-Yantra Innovation Challenge (eYIC 2022-23) with Rs 1 Cr. startup seed funding at stake
Mumbai: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay has launched the e-Yantra Innovation Challenge (eYIC 2022-23) to seek solutions for inclusive urban infrastructure. The e-Yantra project is funded by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, and hosted at the CSE department of IIT Bombay. This year’s themes are Sustainable and Advanced Technologies for Helping Urban Inclusivity and Agriculture. Inclusivity here caters to Persons with Disabilities (PWD), who constitute almost 2.2% of our population (30M people), but have to lag behind due to less inclusive urban spaces.
e-Yantra is a Robotics outreach program that caters to young engineers in solving problems using technology. It uses a Project-Based Learning (PBL) approach that compliments traditional learning by providing a practical and hands-on learning experience. Expert guides at e-Yantra hone the ability of young participants to solve real-world problems.
e-Yantra Innovation Challenge (eYIC) is a unique annual competition that trains student teams in crucial skills through MOOCs before getting them to solve real-world problems and build startups. It was started in 2014 and this year marks the 9th year of the e-Yantra Innovation Challenge. For the past few years, on average, 2,000 students have participated in e-Yantra’s Innovation Challenge.
Principal Investigator of the e-Yantra project, Prof. Kavi Arya from the Dept. of Computer Science, IIT Bombay, says, “The e-Yantra project is a very special project that has been flourishing at IIT Bombay for over a decade now. The e-Yantra Innovation Challenge brings young minds together to work on real problems to seek solutions for building a better tomorrow. Majority of the students have skills but don’t know which problems to solve nor how to solve them. For that, e-Yantra engages participants in immersive learning on thematic areas where experts help them articulate relevant problems they could solve. They are then guided to develop prototypes and subsequently trained in pitching to incubators to learn to launch their own startups. This year is a watershed moment for us as we engage with youth to help us forge a better future with more inclusive urban living spaces to create a better life for all.”
The e-Yantra Innovation Challenge is divided into 4 stages. Stage 1 is a Training sprint that familiarizes participants with the theme, trains them in technologies, and helps them articulate problems with training through MOOCs and live sessions by experts. Stage 2 is a Prototyping Sprint where teams work under e-Yantra mentorship to build a prototype of their proposed solution. Stage 3 is an Innovation Sprint where e-Yantra helps develop a pitch to an Incubator – here, the IIT Bombay Incubator SINE. The last stage is an Implementation Sprint, where teams refine their Proof-of-concept (PoC) under the guidance of e-Yantra mentors. e-Yantra provides the resources, training and guidance, and even a travel allowance and boarding/lodging at IIT Bombay for the Finals at IIT Bombay.
This year’s theme gives young minds a platform to seek solutions for a better and more inclusive living experience for the urban populace. It takes into account climate change and better provisions for persons with disabilities (PwD). The Challenge allows students to form multi-disciplinary teams from different institutions and domains.
The e-Yantra Innovation Challenge gives participants a platform to launch their own startups with incubation support from the IIT Bombay Incubator SINE. It has already nurtured startups such as Nex Robotics, Nibrus Technologies (Mine Surveying Drones), Drona Automation (Sewer Cleaning robots), and Katomaran (Mobile robots), to name a few.
This year, e-Yantra has tied up with:
- Deutsche Bank,
- Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE, IIT-Bombay)
- Desai Sethi School of Entrepreneurship (DSSE, IIT-Bombay)
- IIT Tirupati , Technology Innovation Hub, Navavishkar,
- Inclusive Divyangjan Entrepreneur Association (IDEA),
- Design Bridge Foundation,
- CAG CEPT University
- Geospatial Information Science and Engineering Hub, (GISE, IIT Bombay).
Winning teams who successfully pitch will receive seed funding from a prize pool of Rs. 1 Cr. There are also 25 lakhs worth of prizes to be won. Prof. Kavi Arya, the Principal Investigator of e-Yantra, believes in changing the outlook of students from “knowledge consumers” to “knowledge creators.” The goal of the Challenge is to create “student innovators for local disruption.”
e-Yantra strives to achieve the goals set by the National Education Policy through its engagement with three key stakeholders – Colleges, Teachers, and Students. e-Yantra initiatives complement the engineering education system to render students more employable and oriented toward innovation and entrepreneurship. Visit e-Yantra’s website for more information, https://eyic.e-yantra.org/.