IIT Mandi Catalyst invites Applications for HST Startup Grand Challenge 2022

In the 6th Edition of Himalayan Startup Trek, Startups will get Rs. 6 lakh worth of cash prizes, upto Rs. 50 lakhs funding opportunity, and piloting opportunities

MANDI : Indian Institute of Technology Mandi’s Technology Business Incubator, Catalyst, is hosting sixth edition of its Annual Flagship Event, Himalayan Startup Trek (HST) from 26th to 28th August 2022.

The event features a Grand Challenge for startups, innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs that has Rs. 6 lakh cash prizes. Top startups will also have opportunity to raise upto Rs.50 lakhs. The last date to apply is 31st July 2022.

In its sixth edition, ‘HST Startup Grand Challenge’ – startup pitch competition will have three thematic areas including:

1.    The New Age Alliance – Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

Problem areas in this thematic area are devised in consultation with iHub and HCI foundation at IIT Mandi (iHub), and the Indian HCI foundation. iHub has sponsored the prize money for this thematic area.

Problem Statements in Human Computer Interaction

●        Assistive technologies to aid and enhance human functioning and decision making

●        Use of advanced technologies to enhance the cognitive abilities of humans

●        Use of computer’s intelligence to aid human decision-making, prediction, communication, and processing

●        Brain computer interaction based solutions for economic and social betterment

●        Robotics and AI based solutions for high business and computing performance

●        Cost-effective diagnostic tools/equipment/services as an alternative to costly tests such as MRI.

●        Electric vehicle and hydrogen based technology solutions for mobility

●        Application of deep tech and high tech solutions that cut across industries including health, agriculture, clean energy, sustainable economy, etc.

●        Autonomous and remote computer interaction based systems that enhance humans’ interaction with computers

●        Augmented and virtual reality based solutions for sectors including education, health, and skilling

2.      The Foothill Innovators Challenge – Build for the Himalayas

The problem statements in these areas are devised in close communication with the state’s Industries Department, HP Center for Entrepreneurship Development, Department of IT, and Labor Commissioner Office-HP.

Problem Statements in Build for HImalayas

·         Hill road safety, disaster prevention, and management

·         Demand and supply-side challenges to Himalayan agriculture

·         Vocal for local – interventions to scale local products and services

·         Rural development – education, skill training, and employment

·     Patient oriented Hospital Management Information System, Digitization of patient health records and prescription, and data based analytics for decision making.

·         Route Tracking of popular high elevation trekking routes

·         Location tracking of trekkers in areas with and without internet network

·         SoS system for trekkers to call help in areas without internet network

·         Integration of intra-departmental and inter-departmental data to take data-based decisions

·         Low cost technology solutions for displaying, managing, and monitoring vehicle inflow, time-keeping and payment at parking areas

·         Solutions for managing state’s blue colored human resource including factory commissioning, labor law compliance, labor hiring and training.

·         Solutions for efficient record keeping and employment matchmaking for human resource

·        Technology on drones for use cases in Himalayas – essentials delivery, difficult terrain mapping and discovery, use cases in high altitude agriculture (sprays, irrigation, etc).

·         Drone based solutions for monitoring, mapping, and reporting of deforestation, and solutions for reforestation

·         Solutions to promote vernacular housing, sustainable living, and green practices at individual and organizational levels.

3.    The Habitable World Challenge – Environment and Sustainability

The problem statements for this area have been developed in partnership with Peak ventures, Alsisar Impact, Pollution control board-HP, and National Health Mission-HP.

Problem Statements in Theme 3: Environment and Sustainability

●        Technology based solution for handling/processing/disposing single use plastic waste

●        Technology solutions for solid waste management

●        Management and recycling of industrial and household waste

●        Technology solutions for sustainable livelihood and economic/social practices

●        Solutions based on clean technologies including electric vehicles, solar, hydrogen

●        Energy efficiency monitoring and management systems

●        Community based entrepreneurship solutions that use technology to create social impact

●        Resource management and conservation

●        Water purification solutions based on novel technologies that preserve essential nutritional/mineral values

●        Climate-resilient agriculture (CRA) for a sustainable future

Each thematic area has prize money of up to INR 2 Lakhs to be distributed between the top 3 start-ups in the given theme. Top start-ups will be provided incubation support and access to funding schemes for prototyping as well product development up to INR 50 lakhs. These startups will also get piloting opportunities in the state.

Speaking about the Himalayan Startup Trek, Prof. Laxmidhar Behra, Director-IIT Mandi, said, “IIT Mandi Catalyst is on a mission to build a high-tech sustainable startup valley in Kamand. IIT Mandi will function as a nucleus to attract the relevant stakeholders to this hill valley. Himalayan Startup Trek is our sincere effort towards achieving this mission.”

Prof. Puran Singh, Faculty-in-charge, IIT Mandi Catalyst, said, “HST is following a multistakeholder approach this year. The problem statements have been sourced and developed in collaborations with the stakeholders of each thematic area. Particularly, this year we are collaborating with several state government departments and bodies that have shared problem statements for startups in these thematic areas. The startups with technology based solutions for such problems will have an opportunity to co-create and pilot their solutions with these government bodies.”

Every year, the event brings together the stakeholders of the Indian Startup ecosystem including entrepreneurs, industrialists, investors, experts, government and budding start-ups. The event is supported by HP Center for Entrepreneurship Development of HP Industries Department. Applications can be filled on the event page: www.iitmandicatalyst.in/hst2022

After the two covid-affected years, this year HST will be hosted on IIT Mandi campus. The event has been planned on a large scale and is expecting a footfall of about 500 including 100 startups from across the country, over 50 speakers, investors and senior government officials including bureaucrats.

Through its support programs, IIT Mandi Catalyst guides early-stage entrepreneurial initiatives by providing support in infrastructure, finances, mentoring, and industry connections, thereby making itself an attractive destination for startups across the country. In the last five editions, IIT Mandi Cataylst received participation from over 1200 startups and over 150 mentors/speakers/investors. Himalayan Startup Trek (HST) has proven to be a fruitful event for startups and mentors alike. HST brings a much-anticipated opportunity for startup ecosystem stakeholders to interact and network in person after prolonged covid-imposed restrictions. IIT Mandi is primarily supported by the Department of Science and Technology, GoI, and HP State government. Several government ministries including Ministry of electronics and Startup India have also backed IIT Mandi Catalyst.