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Union Government picks up Maker Village as SPARSH Centre

The selection, which comes as a huge recognition for Maker Village, will offer greater opportunities to the hardware startups Kochi: Maker Village in Kochi has been selected by the Union Government as a centre under its SPARSH programme, which aims at strengthening the agriculture sector through affordable technological interventions and addressing pressing social problems like

The selection, which comes as a huge recognition for Maker Village, will offer greater opportunities to the hardware startups

Kochi: Maker Village in Kochi has been selected by the Union Government as a centre under its SPARSH programme, which aims at strengthening the agriculture sector through affordable technological interventions and addressing pressing social problems like air pollution.

The selection, which comes as a huge recognition for Maker Village, will offer greater opportunities to the hardware startups incubated by the facility in their journey from ideas to market-ready products. The theme for which the approval has been given is ‘Nurturing and accelerating social innovation at Maker Village by leveraging Deep Technology.’             

Maker Village will shortly sign the SPARSH – Social Innovation Programme for Products: Affordable & Relevant to Societal Health – agreement with Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), New Delhi.

As India’s largest hardware deep tech incubator, Maker Village has been assigned with the twin task of developing cutting-edge solutions  to combat air pollution and strengthening technological solutions in agriculture within a time-frame of three years.

The scheme shall be operated in two cycles of 18 months each. The first cycle will focus on developing agriculture technologies and the second cylce on solutions for combating environmental pollution. The approval comes after a rigorous evaluation and screening process by a panel of experts from BIRAC, and subsequent due diligence at the site at Maker Village.  

“The selection gives a golden chance to our startups that are into the areas of pollution control and agritech to get selected for immersion and subsequent development of solutions,” according to Prasad Balakrishnan Nair, CEO, Maker Village. The Maker Village is also poised to host Social Innovators from outside the ecosystem, the CEO said.

“Beyond the financial support, SPARSH centre scheme will immensely benefit the startups with deep expertise provided by the mentoring network and the immersion partners,” Nair added.

The SPARSH centre scheme is piloted by the Central Government’s BIRAC and Department of Biotechnolgy under Ministry of Science and Technology.

The SPARSH centre will create a unique platform to leverage emerging deep technologies for successful social innovation. The 2013-launched SPARSH has a component called Social Innovation Immersion Programme that is into creating a pool of ‘social innovators’. Through SPARSH centres, they will identify the needs of communities and come up with innnovative products and services.

The social innovators are selected after a thorough scrutiny of detailed project proposals. The selected fellows must complete the product design and come up with the model within the first 16 months. Their final report should be submitted within 20 months.

The approval for the SPARSH centre comes close on the heels of the selection of Maker Village as a partner for the Defence Innovation Organisation under the Innovation for Defence Excellence of Ministry of Defence. Providing solutions for defence application to accelerating social innovation through SPARSH centres, Maker Village has come of age covering the entire gamut of activities in the innovation landscape. Last October, Maker Village got the approval for the establishment of TIDE 2.0 (Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurship) centre by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India.

Maker Village, which was founded in February 2016, is currently incubating more than 75 nascent hardware deep tech startups from across the country.

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