High-Tech Manufacturing Startups

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The start-up culture has gained a lot of momentum in the country in recent couple of years. The reasons are many. A couple of driving factors in India could be a growing  young  generation, educated and technology savvy, wanting to be own thereon coupled with technology evolution that had happened in the IT and the spread of internet reach. Incidentally the country has more than 200 SEBI registered funds and 68 incubators, including government supported and private ones.
 
A significant majority of the start-ups companies are in the e-commerce and IT-based solution space. However, the ones backed up intellectual knowledge generated through sustained R&D efforts are now picking up in India. In recent brainstorm meeting organized by this office, Prof Jhunhunwala, IIT Madras, spoke about more than 100 start-up companies that had come up out of the IIT Madras and about 80 of these were technology start-ups.  The meeting converged on the fact that 80% of the students joining IITs/IISc in the UG level are interested to become entrepreneurs, though majority of them were keen in the e-commerce and mobile apps based IT/ service sectors. There are instances that many of them after graduation and few years of experience behind them, have taken up technology start-ups. At same time, the M. Tech and PhD students invariably showed interest in technology based start-ups.

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The hi-tech manufacturing starts-ups have the additional challenges in entering into a new technology domain, besides the challenges of entering a new business which are common to any start-up. The new technology itself has to prove its worth, firstly in the R&D phase, and then in the market place.
There is the additional technology hiccups that the start-up company may face in term of manufacture up-scaling, a situation that is intensive both in terms of technology and capital.
 
The brainstorm meeting that had representatives from hi-tech manufacturing companies, senior faculty managing incubators in IITs and IISc and technologists and policy makers from the government were unanimous agreed that the country held a bright future for the start-ups in hi-tech manufacturing to proliferate and flourish. The meeting identified some major enablers in the ecosystem that have to be in place. These issues covered a spectrum of action points including opening up of laboratory facilities in the academic and national laboratories for start-ups companies to engage R&D, incentivising select industries to extend their manufacturing facilities to upscale of start-up company products, certification and standardization facilitation, financing of start-up companies and taxation related issues. Further, a platform that champions the cause of the hi-tech manufacturing start-ups, by continuously disseminates success stories and projects the products that come out of such start-ups.
 
Interested readers may see the recommendations that came out of the brainstorming meeting.

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