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Deptt of Science & Technology funded Incubator at Sona College to spur entrepreneurship in Salem

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Salem: As the entrepreneurship movement spreads beyond the top 6 metropolitan cities the steel and textiles city Salem could soon stake its claim to be home to new age innovative start-ups with a Department of Science and Technology (DST) funded Inclusive-Technology Business Incubator (i-TBI) coming up in the city.

The iTBI in Salem set up as Sona Incubation Foundation (SIF) will nurture innovative ideas from professionals, students, and local community into successful startups focused on wearable technologies and assistive technologies, among others.

The spanking new 10,000-sq ft incubation facility, the first in Salem district, located inside the sprawling Sona College of Technology campus has a charter to mentor dozens of city-based innovators and start-ups by providing comprehensive facilities. The facilities offered at the incubator will cover mentoring and functional support, investor connect as also co-working space with infrastructure for prototyping, FAB lab with PCB printing facility and semiconductor devices.

The iTBI set up as part of the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) will be funded by the Union Department of Science and Technology for a period of three years.

Within ‘wearable technologies’ the i-TBI will incubate innovative startups dealing with sensor-based fabrics for monitoring and communication and ‘assistive technologies’ to aid individuals with disabilities.

The iTBI will have a budget of about Rs 5 crore with Sona College of Technology as the host institution investing about 20 per cent and the DST investing the rest. The funding provides for a grant of Rs 1.5 crore promising startups over 3 years.

“The incubates at the Sona Incubation Foundation will be able to draw upon the outcomes of the 36 research and development labs of the Sona College of Technology that in the past were awarded many R&D projects by DST,” says Sathya Murthy V, Head, Sona Incubation Foundation.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) funded i-TBI at Salem will benefit from Sona College of Technology’s experience in undertaking technology-based R&D projects with active support from DST and DST-Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB).  The R&D project entrusted by DST have resulted in better student outcomes and industry recognition.

Sona College of Technology research team is proud to have impacted the local community through the meticulous execution of Women Technology Park (WTP) that led to empowering hundreds of women to become self-reliant. The WTP project was undertaken with a grant under the Technology Development Programme of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.

“Our global experience as research partners to Canada’s University Health Network for undertaking multi-institution research as part of FIBRE project to develop smart fabric-based wearables in 2021 shall also be available to the startups at SIF,” says Mr Chocko Valliappa, Vice Chairman, Sona College of Technology.

“Sona College of Technology researchers have undertaken several innovative projects focused on cutting-edge areas like nano technology, artificial intelligence, and aerospace, including contributions to crucial components for several ISRO missions including the most recent Chandrayaan-3 mission,” says Dr SRR Senthilkumar, Principal, Sona College of Technology.

Since 2021 Sona alumni with innovative ideas have had access to IIT Madras Incubation Cell (IITMIC), at IITM Research Park in Chennai as part of its arrangement to enable the start-ups to scale and to make national impact.

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