Making a strong bid for socio-economic development through innovation and entrepreneurship, the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP) has aligned with the government’s ‘Startup India’ initiative to launch ‘Smart Fifty - 50 Solutions to Transform India’. Businesses from Singapore and north Americal will also be looped in for the initiative.

The international drive, planned with the government’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), will identify, recognise and reward aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs from various sectors who come up with innovative solutions to transform India from a socio-economic perspective.

About 3,000 selected participants will receive startup kits and attend knowledge sessions and 400 from among them will be selected for mentoring, funding and incubation opportunities . Participants will present solutions that are SMART (sustainable, motivating, affordable, responsible and transformative). Entrepreneurs and innovators will through the platform be able to network strategically and access seed funding. They will also be mentored by IIMCIP experts on various aspects of business model, fund raising, and real-life lessons.

40 SMART solutions will be selected from the regional or quarter final rounds (quarter-finals) and up to 10 SMART solutions will be selected from International rounds (Singapore, North America).

The SMART 50 will then attend a boot camp at the IIM Calcutta Campus. Following that, there will be further screening of plans by a jury in the semi-finals to identify 10 participants for the grand finale, who will join a grand finale at Delhi. A jury will select the top three winning ideas.

The top 50 entrepreneurs will get seed grants of Rs 4 lakh each and the top 10 entrepreneurs will pitch for a total funding of Rs10 crore.

DST will provide access to the startup ecosystem and seed fund for prototyping.

On objectives, Prof Ashok Banerjee, director IIMCIP, said, on Wednesday that a nurturing ecosystem was being created for entrepreneurs working on innovative solutions to India’s socio-economic challenges. Sustainable, motivating, affordable, responsible, transformative or SMART ideas will be provided to the businesses, which will also be given all the necessary support “so that they may create a positive impact in the country.”

The Innovation Park will provide mentorship, visibility and access to funds to the participants that will help them to take their venture to the next level, Prof Banerjee added.

Smart Fifty – 50 solutions to transform India was announced in the presence of Prof Banerjee, Prof Ashutosh Sharma - secretary to GoI, DST, Dr H K Mittal – advisor member secretary, NSTEDB, DST, Dr R Ramaraj, chairman, IIMCIP Board, Pradeep Gupta, director IIMCIP, Dr Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO IIMCIP and Sanjiv Aiyar – director IIMCIP.

IIMCIP had created an ecosystem with all the required support to translate an innovative idea to a self-sustaining and financially independent business, Dr RRamaraj, chairman, IIMCIP Board, said. “We will gladly provide mentorship, seed fund, training and networking opportunities to the promising entrepreneurs in this field. IIMCIP has created an ecosystem with all required support to translate an innovative idea to a self-sustaining and financially independent business,” he added.