IIT Madras Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre wins International Award for ‘Exemplary Practice in Technology Commercialisation’

CHENNAI : Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GDC) has won an International award for ‘Exemplary Practice in Technology Commercialisation.’ The award was presented during the 11th Annual Deshpande Symposium held at Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. recently.

Started by the Deshpande Foundation and the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2012, the ‘Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education’ brings together academics, policy planners, and practitioners to discuss best practices in integrating entrepreneurship throughout their college and university communities.

The Awards Committee of the Deshpande Symposium observed that “The Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Center at IIT Madras best exemplified the spirit of the award with the breadth of programs that cover the lifecycle of a start-up from idea to scale up as well as its national aspirations.”

A video on GDC can be viewed at – https://vimeo.com/650526207

Thanking the Awards Committee for this Recognition, Prof. Krishnan Balasubramanian, Professor-in-Charge, Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship-IIT Madras, said, “GDC has been successful in designing and rolling out programs that stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in IIT Madras and other STEM institutions. In India, less than 2 per cent of academics commercialise their research, mainly due to a lack of guidance and role models in this difficult space.”

Further, Prof. Krishnan Balasubramanian said, “Given that about 200 professors from 40 STEM institutions have signed up for GDC’s programs and more than 800 entrepreneurs have been transformed, it can be confidently said that GDC is making a huge contribution in improving the innovation capabilities of Indian universities and ushering in a Lab-to-market revolution with deep-tech start-ups.”

The GDC was established in IIT Madras in 2017 by the philanthropic contributions of IIT Madras’ illustrious alumni, Dr. Gururaj Deshpande, Mrs. Jaishree Deshpande, and Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan. Structured as a not-for-profit initiative, GDC’s charter is to work with STEM colleges across India to help faculty, researchers, students, and budding entrepreneurs commercialise their research-based ideas that have the potential to positively impact society at scale and improve people’s lives.

Speaking about this Award, Mr. Raghuttama Rao, Chief Executive Officer, GDC-IIT Madras, said, “The Award is truly an honour for the Centre as it is an independent validation of our commitment to our mission of catalysing commercialisation of STEM research in India by way of deep-tech start-ups.”

Mr. Raghuttama Rao added, “Over a billion people in India face severe socio-economic challenges that need hi-technology solutions at affordable prices for which internationally developed innovations are unsuitable. The GDC aims to bridge this gap by building the capabilities of Indian researchers and entrepreneurs through its programs- I-NCUBATE, I-NSPIRE, and I-GNITE. We are hopeful that the Government and Industry will support GDC, IIT Madras, in scaling up these programs pan-India to catapult India to pole position in the international innovation sweepstakes.”

I-NCUBATE and I-NSPIRE are the flagship programs of the GDC. I-NCUBATE is a boot camp for creating world-class, early-stage start-up teams at Indian STEM universities. It transforms the capabilities of academics/students and builds an entrepreneurial mindset to enable a lab-to-market transformation of research ideas into scalable deep-tech start-ups. A total of 197 faculty members from 40 STEM Institutes are participating in the I-NCUBATE program. Currently, the teams of the 22nd cohort are undergoing training and a total of 184 start-up teams have participated in the program. The I-NCUBATE start-ups have received estimated external funding of Rs. 750 million.

I-NSPIRE is a program for early-stage start-ups to help founders evolve an optimal path to sustainable revenue generation towards creating a scalable and repeatable business model. The I-NSPIRE program enables founders to ask the toughest questions of themselves and find answers with evidence for the same. While a total of 10 Incubators are participating institutions in the program, currently the teams of the 10th cohort are undergoing training.