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Initiative Helps Pupil Startups Win Seed Funding & Mentorship


The TechForChange initiative, spearheaded by Nasscom Basis and Ciena, empowers faculty college students to domesticate impactful social ventures by means of an intensive 18-month programme. Taking part startups obtain grants, funding, mentorship, and a number of different sources to help their progress and improvement.

This text is sponsored by Ciena in collaboration with nasscom basis.

A younger youngster is inspired to discover the world and get their palms soiled in a playground. ‘Fall down seven occasions, arise eight’, are phrases that each youngster lives by. Why then, can we lose this never-say-die perspective as we develop up?


Pushing kids to harbour this perspective to unravel real-life challenges is the TechForChange programme, which offers them with a “geek playground”.

The concept, Nidhi Bhasin, CEO, nasscom basis, explains, is to encourage social improvements from the leaders of tomorrow. “We encourage kids to play whereas educating them that it’s okay to fall in a playground. We’re creating an analogous playground for entrepreneurs, the place it’s okay to fail. We train them to face up by offering the required help wanted for achievement.”

Take, for instance, 22-year-old Shivam Gupta who had a improbable concept for constructing drones for the defence and agriculture sectors. In want for steerage and funding, he joined the programme as an engineering pupil in August 2022.

The programme helped him refine his concept and be taught the artwork of pitching to buyers. His startup ‘Home Applied sciences’ was one of many winners in Cohort 2 and is now up and operating, blazing an impactful path on the bottom.

Not simply Shivam, this programme has helped 11 startups discover their toes whereas accelerating the entrepreneurship journey for the scholars. This helps to make the difficult early phases of enterprise creation — from ideation to product improvement and advertising — simpler to navigate.

TechForChange is a Company Social Duty (CSR) initiative led by Ciena, a community {hardware}, software program and providers firm, in collaboration with nasscom basis as a part of the nasscom ecosystem in its third yr.

The aim is to equip younger innovators with important instruments, help, information, and alternatives, empowering them to make a significant affect. Additionally it is to offer them with a platform to show their concepts into prototypes and companies. Spanning over 18 months, the immersive programme guides college students, exposing them to cutting-edge know-how and potential use instances.

The highest 5 high-potential startups are offered with a seed grant of Rs 5 lakh every by means of Know-how Enterprise Incubators (TBI).

Empowering tomorrow’s leaders to drive sustainable innovation

At the moment, the crucial for sustainable options that deal with important social points is simple. And this programme seeks to empower younger leaders to catalyse world transformation by means of their progressive ventures and entrepreneurial spirit.

College students refine their ideas and get them running through this programme
School college students refine their concepts and get them operating by means of this programme.

TechForChange strives to steer this cost by nurturing rising entrepreneurs and offering them with the help and sources they should soar. It’s designed to foster options that not solely deal with urgent challenges but in addition resonate with the United Nations’ Sustainable Growth Objectives (SDGs), thereby contributing to a extra sustainable and equitable future.

This programme was conceptualised to deal with the hole discovered within the ability set amongst faculty college students. Whereas they’re well-prepared for placements, they don’t seem to be geared up with the important instruments wanted to start out their very own ventures.

“Ciena’s Digital Inclusion programme goals to foster pupil improvement and entrepreneurship in know-how, selling it as a viable and sustainable profession choice,” says Amit Malik, VP & Gross sales Chief, Ciena India.

Ciena India workers additionally have interaction in common volunteering periods to impart their very own abilities and information to assist enhance the scholars’ confidence.

Ciena, in collaboration with nasscom basis, has carried out two profitable cohorts up to now two years and nurtured over 157 concepts. Of those, 11 startups have materialised throughout varied sectors — together with healthcare, schooling, psychological well being, and agriculture know-how.

These 11 startups obtained mentorship from trade stalwarts and grants value Rs 61 lakh.

The programme stands out by offering hands-on workshops and project-based learning.
The programme stands out by providing hands-on workshops and project-based studying.

“We obtained a whole lot of assist and help from the mentorship periods. The programme helped us be taught advertising and allocation of funds too. It has made me a extra assured one that can current his concept higher,” Shivam shares.

He provides that the programme helped them launch the drones out there and likewise led to grants value over Rs 19 lakh from programmes in IIT-Mandi, NSUT IIF (Incubation and Innovation Basis of Netaji Subhas College of Know-how, New Delhi), and the Vimarsh 5G Hackathon.

For the reason that third version of the TechForChange programme commenced in January 2024, the highest 124 concepts had been chosen. The method was kick-started by means of hands-on workshops on design considering and ideation, which helped in refining the concepts.

The programme stands out by providing hands-on workshops and project-based studying, that are instrumental in growing experience in cutting-edge applied sciences — corresponding to Synthetic Intelligence (AI) and Machine Studying (ML).

Going past technical abilities, the TechForChange-Cohort 3 programme emphasises the significance of innovation, guiding individuals to establish buyer wants and market gaps. This ensures that the options should not simply theoretical however are related, and it helps to find the product-market match.

By way of this, they hope to encourage kids to seek out options to the burning challenges in society immediately. The TechForChange-Cohort 3 programme has created a framework and help system that permits these options to grow to be working prototypes by means of know-how.

Nonetheless, developing with an progressive concept is simply step one within the journey of entrepreneurship. Recognising this, the programme affords in depth help within the important early phases of enterprise creation. This consists of mentorship, sources, and steerage on facets — starting from ideation to product improvement and advertising — guaranteeing that these younger entrepreneurs have the absolute best basis to thrive.

The heartening change noticed within the programme over the previous three years is the rising variety of ladies individuals. TechForChange’s sturdy dedication to variety and inclusion has performed a key position in attracting extra ladies. Within the present cohort, 30 p.c of the individuals are ladies. “We hope that this quantity continues to extend over time,” says Vishal Thakur, CTO, nasscom basis. 

The highest 5 chosen startups from the third cohort will obtain enterprise mentoring, seed funding, and advertising assist. On the finish of 16 months, these 5 startups might be able to launch.

Particulars of the programme

The TechForChange-Cohort 3 programme is open for faculty college students in Delhi-NCR with a technical background. The scholars should provide you with a technical resolution for a social drawback. The programme spans 18 months — together with 11 months of cohort and 7 months of incubation for the chosen 5 startups.

Initiative Helps Student Startups Win Seed Funding & Mentorship
Initiative Helps Pupil Startups Win Seed Funding & Mentorship

Section 1: Ideation observe (2 months)

The chosen 124 groups get a possibility to refine their early-stage ideas into viable concepts by means of workshops and webinars. This observe focuses on refining the issue assertion.

Section 2: Product observe (3-4 months)

Fifty groups with promising concepts might be chosen for this thrilling stage, the place their concepts will come to fruition as prototypes. Mentors with related expertise will information the scholars and equip them with the required abilities to take action. The programme may even present sources for his or her prototyping journey, together with a small fund to assist college students construct their options.

Section 3: Startup observe (2 months)

Issues get heated up as 20 promising prototypes transfer to the subsequent part, the place the ideas will begin turning into enterprise fashions. Mentors will information on product-market match, improvement, firm registrations, and extra.

Section 4: The ultimate 5

The highest 5 startups might be chosen for incubation and an opportunity at seed funding. Their ventures might be on the cusp of turning into realities by means of a seven-month incubation.

To get updates on upcoming webinars and occasions, click on right here.

Edited by Pranita Bhat



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