Social Innovation Immersion Program : Agri-Tech Call

Call for applications closed

SIIP is the Social Innovation Immersion program of SPARSH which intends to create a pool of “Social Innovators” who can identify needs and gaps within communities and then can help bridge the gaps either through an innovative product development or services.

Under the SIIP programme, BIRAC has identified a 14 centers nation-wide for implementation of the programme. Venture Center in Pune is one of those centers, who help provide a whole host of technical, business and implementation mentoring to the fellows.

Focus of the current theme at Venture Center is on “Agritech”.

Social Innovation Tech Fellows  

Welcoming our Social Innovation Tech fellows on board – Read more about our fellows here

Illustrative Technical Themes:

  • Sensors for agri-parameters like pH, moisture, soil and plant nutrients etc
  • Software/hardware solutions for soil analysis
  • Remote sensing-based solutions
  • Big data analytics tools and techniques,
  • IoT solutions
  • Diagnostic kits for soil and plant health analysis
  • Solutions for minimizing post-harvest losses

Venture Center is looking for daring ideas and aspirations on the topic! Work on solving one of the most pressing problems facing the world today in the Agriculture domain !!!

Venture Center’s Social Innovation Tech Fellowships

Highlights: Entrepreneurship Development Center (Venture Center)

  • Highly experienced team for SPARSH-SIIP: Only partner for all 5 SIIP calls  | 7 converted to Startups (3 more in the  pipeline) | 9 raised funding beyond SIIP | 2 patents filed (1 provisional filed) | 1 Design Registration granted
  • Strong incubation programs: Mentoring and access to domain experts | Physical incubation spaces | Resources for startups | Networks and connects | MoUs / Partnerships with Academic, Research and Clinical institutes & NGOs
  • Fundraising opportunities: BIG, NIDHI-Prayas & EIRSPARSH | CSR grants | POC grants | Seed  investments
  • State-of-the-art high-end scientific facilities | Access to technical facilities of research institutes in the vicinity

Features of the fellowship

  • 18 month fellowship program | Rs 50,000 pm fellowship | Rs 5 Lakhs mini kick start grant
  • Eligibility: Indian citizen undergraduate (B.Tech, BE, MBBS) or Postgraduate (MSc, MS, M.Tech, MPhil, MD) & PhD below 35 years

Program Structure:

1. Pre-Immersion orientation & Induction phase :
Once the 5 fellows are selected,  fellows would be briefed by the Program Manager at Venture Center about objectives & expected outcomes of the program as well as provide necessary tools and guidance to identify existing gaps & needs in the identified thematic area.

The fellows would be trained on process of systematic Community and real-life field observations, needs assessment and refinement, affordable technology development & Commercialization, market and industry research and enabling rural / remote settings. Venture Center has established urban and rural partners, networks and mentors of primary, secondary and tertiary levels in Agri-related themes. In addition to this pre-Immersion workshop for the SPARSH fellows will be organized by BIRAC in coordination with SPARSH knowledge partners.

2. Immersion phase :
The “immersion” component of the program would be for a period of 4-5 months. During this period the social innovators would ideally be exposed to both agriculture settings in rural or urban resource poor community settings and real-life field areas. During this immersion period, fellows would be exposed to multitudes of needs and will conduct detailed ethnography and need assessment studies in different setting with varied communities. Rural or Urban resource poor community immersion would expose them to cultural aspects and other pain points faced by the community.

Venture Center will provide continuous support and hand-holding during this entire period. Rigorous engagement with the fellows will be ensured via periodic reviews of the fellows. Besides other support, Venture Center team will provide mentoring on Intellectual Property Rights and technology commercialization issues. A detailed immersion experience report with photo-documentation will be prepared for the funding agency, BIRAC, at the end of the immersion phase along with summary of the ideas generated during this phase.

3. Post Immersion Filtration phase : 
On completion of the immersion component, fellows will proceed to do desk research to understand various solutions explored and list out all the gaps & need analysis carried out during immersion. Further to this they will filter their list and narrow down to top 2-3 ideas that align well with possible product or service strategies. This would involve a mix of business & technical learnings related to market dynamics, technology landscaping, regulatory challenges (if any), business plan formulation and grant writing skills.

Team Venture Center will mentor and provide them with connect points especially with mentors from business, technical and regulatory fields. SPARSH fellows will also be expected to participate in relevant workshops and conferences to their specific ideas and to their project requirements. They will also be connected  to opinion leaders or stakeholders for individual specific meetings.

The Social Innovators will then prepare a detailed dossier on the 2-3 final ideas shortlisted by them. The detailed requirements for the next stage will also be envisaged in this dossier. This dossier will be submitted to submit to BIRAC along with a detailed plan of action for taking identified gap/need to the next stage either in terms of product design or delivery component with at least two milestone stages. A Post-Immersion workshop for the fellows will be organised in collaboration with BIRAC and SPARSH knowledge partner.

4. Product Design, Prototyping and Delivery Mechanism phase 
In this phase Venture Center will provide the live prototype development environment or provide help in planning a delivery implementation to the Social innovators. The detailed plan of action submitted by fellows will be reviewed by Venture Center and recommend release of the mini kick-start grant (₹ 5,00,000/-) to BIRAC, which will be released  in two stages via Venture Center. If two or more fellows wish to work together as a team on developing a single identified need, they can combine their mini kick-start grants, after approval from BIRAC.

Venture Center will connect the fellows to their project relevant technical and business mentors during this phase. The fellows will also have access to all the Prototyping and Scientific facilities (VC Analytix,  Center for Applications of Mass Spectrometry (CAMS),  Cell Studio) at Venture Center. 

More details available here