AIC-RNTU is located at Raisen, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The incubation centre was established in June 2018 and has been continuously supporting startups since then…reports Lothungbeni Humtsoe
We are all aware of the importance of entrepreneurship in terms of providing products and jobs, but most importantly in terms of functioning as the source of economic growth in a specific state or country. With a vision to enhance the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem in Madhya Pradesh and rise as top leaders and contribute to the economy, AIC-RNTU Foundation, supported by NITI Aayog under Atal Innovation Mission was founded in the year 2018 under the leadership of CEO, Ronald Fernandez and Director AIC-RNTU Foundation, Siddharth Chaturvedi.
To help companies expand their businesses while also raising awareness and encouraging entrepreneurship as a career option among students. Through numerous events, workshops, and mentoring sessions, AIC-RNTU has engaged and supported 350+ entrepreneurs while also creating 250+ jobs. We spoke with Siddharth Chaturvedi, who walked us through the entire AIC-RNTU ecosystem.
Tell us about the INCUBATION facility. Where is it, and when did you start it?
Siddharth: AIC-RNTU Foundation, Bhopal is one of the leading Incubation centres of Central India, which is supported by Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog. AIC-RNTU has today become Central India’s leading name in startup incubation and has been working to support the Start-up ecosystem across all the functions viz. funding, mentoring, handholding, industry connect, workshops, investor connects, events, competitions, new age labs & dedicated office space, etc.
AIC-RNTU is located at Raisen, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The incubation centre was established in June 2018 and has been continuously supporting startups since then.
Could you perhaps share any case studies with us?
Siddharth: Medyseva Technologies Private Limited, a MedTech startup based out of Indore joined AIC-RNTU as an incubator at a very early stage. They were provided a seed fund support of INR 35 Lakhs by AIC-RNTU under Startup India Seed Fund Scheme. Medyseva is also a part of AIC-RNTU Discover Cohort 2022. The startup was provided mentoring and training through the vast pool of mentors associated with AIC-RNTU. AIC-RNTU also provided a market connection of 22000 centers in rural areas through the parent organization, AISECT Group to Medyseva. The startup recently raised an investment amount of INR 1.15 Crores from The Horses Stable (an Indian reality show created and conceptualized under the mentorship of entrepreneur and Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty).
Which companies are you currently sponsoring at the centre?
Siddharth: We have 74 startups incubated with us. As we are sector agnostic, the startups are from multiple sectors. Brands like Medyseva and Wonderlooms are some of the startups that have raised money from Angel Investors and VC Firms after being incubated at AIC-RNTU.
Is AIC-RNTU self-funded or do you receive funding from the government?
Siddharth: AIC-RNTU Foundation is an Incubation Centre supported and funded by Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog. Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is an ambitious flagship program of NITI Aayog. Under its aegis, Rabindranath Tagore University was selected to establish Atal Incubation Centre by Niti Aayog amongst the 1200 second-round applicants. AIM grant was used to set up the state-of-the-art infrastructure of the incubation centre.
AIC-RNTU has also received Startup India Seed Fund Scheme by DPIIT, and Nidhi – Seed Support Scheme by DST (Department of Science & Technology) to support and fund eligible startups.
What is the team size?
Siddharth: We are an 11 people team that includes Director, Chief Executive Officer, Assistant Manager, Incubation Officer, Assistant Incubation Officer, Accountant/Administration, Technical Person, Designers, and Consultant/Advisor.
Apart from this, AIC-RNTU also has a mentor pool of 80+ mentors, 50+ corporate partners, 30+ investors, and 10+ ecosystem partners to support the startups.
How do you manage training/workshops? Who conducts these sessions?
Siddharth: AIC-RNTU provides holistic exposure to promising startups. That’s why we have divided our incubation program according to the stage of the startups. Following is our Incubation Program :
Ideate Program: This program aims at helping innovation-driven startups in their cocoon stage to convert their invalidated business ideas into feasible prototypes. Under this program, we provide a dedicated technical mentor, access to our labs, access to co-working space, access to business mentoring sessions, patent support & corporate connections to startups. This is a 5-6 months program & expected outcome from the startup will be a feasible prototype that can be commercialised in a later stage
Discover Program: This program aims at startups who have their prototype in place but struggling with business models & customer acquisition. Under this program, we help them in making robust business models, and customer acquisition strategies and give them market access. Under this program, we provide a dedicated business mentor, access to our labs, access to co-working space, access to business mentoring sessions, patent support, access to a network, legal and accounting support, technical support, and H.R support. Duration – 9 Months
Growth Program: This program leads to investment, Under this program, we help startups in making their investment ready. Under this program, we provide a dedicated business mentor, access to our labs, access to co-working space, access to business mentoring sessions, patent support, access to the network, legal & accounting support, access to HNI’s/VCs, corporate connections & H.R support. Duration -3 Months.
A vast pool of 80+ mentors, which includes successful entrepreneurs from across the country, mentors from investment backgrounds, and domain experts are associated with AIC-RNTU for a holistic learning experience to startups. Startup training and workshops are mainly carried out through them.
AIC-RNTU has engaged and supported 350+ startups and created 250+ Jobs through various events- Please share more insights on this.
Siddharth: AIC-RNTU being an incubation center is working towards building a strong startup ecosystem in central India. For this purpose, we do multiple events which include conferences, investor networking events, business networking events, awareness and outreach events, etc. These events also help entrepreneurs gain the necessary exposure that they might not be getting otherwise.
Some of the prominent events include the EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) which is a premier global competition for students who own and operate a business, Dream Startup Challenge – in association with CII, DCB Bank Innovation Carnival, Navonmesh Startup Idea Challenge, i4 Summit to identify and support innovation from rural areas of central India, etc. Over the years, startups and innovators have benefited from such events.