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Business Incubator: Creating a Wonderful Experience for Tenants

Manisha Acharya

Manisha Acharya




How do you create a wonderful experience for the tenants of your business incubator?

Start-ups are very much like new borns.

A new born baby needs proper, overall care in order to be strong and healthy while growing up. Further, in addition to basic necessities like food, water or availability of other resources, they need supervision and care to survive and grow.




The same can be said about the Start-ups who are nothing but ripe ideas which are newborn as business entities.



Regardless of availability of adequate resources and skills, early-stage startups need this “proper care” in order to face the vagaries of real life world and grow their business effectively.

Now where can they receive such nurturing support? The answer is, the business incubator.




 The incubators provide startups with not just the resources, but also the necessary guidance needed to achieve success.



In fact, studies have shown that the Start-ups tend to achieve much larger scales of success when supported and mentored properly via incubators.




We at the Centre for Innovation and Incubation (CII) understand this, and thus have formulated our program for incubation accordingly. We also keep in mind, that we need to optimise to the needs of each of our Start-ups, rather than taking a broad-brush approach.

For example, startups at the ideation stage are very different from ones who are already done with prototype development.




 In the ideation stage, startups need idea validation, which is not necessary for those with a working prototype.



Keeping this in mind, we have launched two thoughtfully curated programs immediately after setting up CII Utkal: Upakram and Udyam. While Upakram is for Startups in the Ideation stage, Udyam envisages to cater to those which have already developed a prototype.

We have designed Upakram as a platform for nascent entrepreneurs to validate their ideas and move towards developing it into a marketable Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and subsequently, a profitable business model.




It is a 6-month cohort based program (24 weeks) covering the entire spectrum: from Call for Ideas to pitch presentations before investors.



So, we start with simply spreading awareness as well as by scouting for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.

Then, the ideas are evaluated and selected for the later stages.

Next, we provide the unique opportunity to the early-stage startups to have a single platform to test, validate and continuously improve their business ideas.




They are thus provided with technical support, and access to the right one-on-one mentoring by using the program as a networking platform. They can utilise this to undertake proof of concept (POC) tests leading to a minimum viable product (MVP) by understanding the technical feasibility of their ideas. Lastly, we also provide classroom coaching about entrepreneurship, idea validation, pitch presentation, and applying for prototype grants.

In the Udyam program on the other hand, we provide an incubation program designed to validate startup solutions, provide support for product development, regulatory & IP, and provide go-to-market strategies.

Understanding its importance, we also offer one-on-one mentoring as well.

The Start ups incubated through the Udyam program, receive office space at very nominal rates, access to a meeting room for meetings with clients, conference room/training room for conducting training programs, highspeed internet, recreational areas, and sectoral labs.




We are in fact, in the process of setting up an AI/ML Lab, a Fab-lab and a Tool Room too! Some of the selected Start-ups shall also be provided with Seed fund support.  



Besides, we also provide AWS Credit, 12 courses of Online Learning Modules for capacity building of founders in fundraising, 20+ customizable tools and templates for founders to prepare for investor reach out, legal and IP services through our collaborative partners at nominal rates, IT support through collaborative partners and also the opportunity of hosting Student internships.




However, these programs are just the beginning. Going forward, next year, we envision to start the Twaran Acceleration Program catering to Start-ups in the MVP stage who already have some market traction and wish to scale up further. This shall also be a six-month cohort based program.

With these 3 programs, we aspire to cater to the individual needs of every Start-up that joins our incubator, and provide them with the best environment and support to grow. We tirelessly and consistently make efforts to connect with regional, national and even international ecosystem players to gives access to the best resources to our Start-ups. And just like a baby growing up, our reward would be similar to that of a parent viz. to see our Start-ups succeed in their endeavours.




CII Tenants Describe Their Experience




We closely work with our Start-Up Incubatees and keep obtaining their feed backs as well.




Mr. Abhigyan Choudhury, Founder & CEO, Happiness Under Budget Retail Pvt. Ltd. (Grameen Store) says “CII, UTKAL has been a good experience for us. They have provided us a good work space and now it’s our identity. We could also collaborate with other Start-ups working there. They are helping us in growing our business by mentoring and giving valuable advices. It’s a great environment for us and we are learning everyday and cii is guiding us to acquire new heights.”




Another startup Dr Aviseka Acharya from Home Acts Pvt Ltd opines that “there are so many wonderful things about working at the CII . One thing which we like the most about CII is the leadership. Though CII itself is an nfant Organisation, but their professionalism at each steps of our journey has been appreciable. We also love the CII culture and enjoy working with everyone here.”




Rupali Nanda from Lyfvibes says that the best contribution of CII is the legitimacy of its Leadership in the community. Dr. Vijayshree from AgIntel feels that “the networking and administrative services made available by CII to the nascent companies is incomprehensible. The administrative support acts as immediate assistance for the Start-ups to save the operating costs. CII has also extended its network, which helps in interaction with other entrepreneurs and business mentors”.




Thus, CII has positioned itself as a holistic growth propeller for Innovation led Start-Ups and nurturing them to be successful business enterprises.



Manisha Acharya

Innovation promotion is a compulsion, not an option.

Manisha Acharya



Dr. Manisha Acharia, India,Miss Innovation World 2021 award winner, Innompic Games, CII Director, business incubator  

Dr Manisha Acharya is CEO of the Center for Innovation & Incubation (CII) Utkal University, Odisha, India. She  is also a Startup Advisor & Mentor, and British Chevening CRISP Fellow at University of Oxford.




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