Utkal University is the oldest university in the state of Odisha and the 17th-oldest in India. It is a teaching & research-cum-affiliating university located at Vanivihar over a sprawling 399.9 acres area in the heart of the capital city of Bhubaneswar. Many prestigious organisations such as Max-Planck Institutes, University of Tubingen, University of Goethe, John Hopkins University, University of Sussex, University of Miami, RIKEN, Institute of Physics, NISER, ILS, IMMT, RMRC, AIIMS, NALCO, NLC India and UNICEF have signed MoU with Utkal University.
Under the aegis of RUSA 2.0 (Ministry of Education, Govt of India), Utkal University has set up a business incubator: ‘Centre for Innovation and Incubation’ (CII) for promotion of startups and creating a thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurship development and innovation.
CII has been envisaged to offer a host of services to budding startups ranging from pre-incubation, incubation, acceleration, co-working spaces, seed funding, advisory support, mentoring support, market linkage, training and hand holding.
Thematically, while the key technology focus areas for CII are Agri-tech, Food Processing, Biotechnology, Green Technology, Eco-tourism, and Rural Technology, it shall also incubate and nurture any good innovative idea with commercial potential.
The mandate of the centre is to assist entrepreneurs of Utkal University (faculty, staff, alumni and students) as well as the external startup community to commercialize their product/service ideas and accelerate economic growth.
CII provides a platform to students, aspiring entrepreneurs, technology start-ups as well as lab-stage innovations to flourish. CII aims to ignite young minds with entrepreneurship culture by motivating them to establish Student Start-ups: thus, truly fulfilling the vision of an Atma Nirbhar Bharat. It will also fuel the start-up dreams among budding entrepreneurs particularly women by transforming their dreams into reality. It aims to pioneer the startup culture not only in the urban city corridors, but also among the lesser-known but highly talented and motivated entrepreneurs of the rural hinterlands.
Thus, overall, the objective of the Incubator would be to improve the socio-economic development of the large rural and semi-urban populations of Odisha by linking them to commercial businesses promoted in the Incubator.
It would be providing income generating opportunities by identifying local problems, bridging technological gaps, tapping business opportunities aligned with innovative marketable solutions leading to the development of sustainable local enterprises. Overall the main aim for selecting the location is to enhance the livelihood opportunities for the people of Odisha through sustainable intensification of Agriculture, Skill Development and Market Integration.
~ Manisha Acharya