Nine best innovations in the field of healthcare, textiles, agriculture, food technology, electronics and products and services were conferred top awards of 7th India Innovation Initiative (i3) 2015, by Union Minsiter of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, here. The awards were conferred during the valedictory ceremony of the India International Science Festival (IISF) at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
The national fair of i3 was held under the aegis of IISF which opened on 4th December and ended on 8th December. Also present during the award ceremony were Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Prof Anil Sahasrabudhe; Scientist G and Head, National Council for Science and Technology Communication, Dr B P Singh and lead industry partner of the initiative and Founder Chairman of Valluri Technology Accelerators, Mr Venkatesh Valluri. Other partner organisations of the initiative included Indian Venture Capital Association (IVCA) and the Young Indians. The awards across 9 different categories comprised trophy, cash prizes, certificate and a connect with the start-up ecosystem.
The national fair of i3, which is the annual flagship national innovation competition of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and AICTE saw 76 best-in-class innovation entries battling it out for the top awards. The finalists were shortlisted from a total of 770 entries after a two-month long evaluation and selection by an online Jury comprising academics from some of India’s top science and engineering colleges, industry experts from business incubators, VC funds and angel networks.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “As part of the vision and mandate of the government, the Department of Science & Technology has been playing a pivotal role in promotion of research and more particularly high end research and development not only for cutting edge technologies for frontier applications but also for serving the requirements of the common man through the development of appropriate skills and technologies,” adding that, “I believe that platforms such as i3 should be supported and encouraged to scale-up in size and impact so that more innovators from all corners of the country, especially the hinterland are able to take part and enrich the innovation and entrepreneurial landscape of the country.
Among the winners was 51-year old entrepreneur P A Sekar who hails from the weaving community in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. Because of family circumstances he had to drop out of school after class VII but he continued thinking about ways to make the task of turning yarn into warp less taxing and time-consuming for the community. He was able to find an answer to this problem through an innovative power loom which not only makes warp in short time but also eliminates the necessity of involving children in the process. After winning the i3 Gold Award for Best Innovator at the 7th india Innovation Initiative National Fair, Sekar said, “I want to open an R&D centre in my village in Guruvarajapet and need financial assistance in the form of a research grant for that.”
Within a short span of time, the India Innovation Initiative as emerged as one of the largest and most well-known and anticipated platforms for innovation and entrepreneurship in the country with widespread participation from students, scientists, researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs from all corners of the country. Launched in 2009, it has grown multi-fold over the past six years.
An ensemble jury panel comprising eminent industrialists, scientists, business management experts and government representatives came together to evaluate each of the finalists’ entries. The initiative is being supported by government and non-government incubators and investor associations for incubation, mentoring and funding support. There will be other awards, recognition and support to winners