Navneet Kr. Gupta
IIT Madras has taken the 2nd Edition of its pioneering Carbon Zero Challenge national and is reaching out to environmental entrepreneurs, start-ups and Educational Institutions across the country.
Carbon Zero Challenge (CZeroC) 2019, an ‘All India Energy and Environment Innovation Competition,’ was launched at IIT Madras on 5th June to commemorate the World Environment Day 2018.
Aimed at encouraging Students, Early-stage Energy Start-ups, Environmental Entrepreneurs and Researchers, it calls for innovative proof-of-concept technological solutions with scalable business models.
This is one-of-its-kind initiative pioneered by IIT Madras in collaboration with Virtusa, a global information technology services company, and Industrial Waste Management Association (IWMA), a Non-Profit Organization.
The competition timeline aligns with the academic calendar to encourage student teams to carry out CZeroC Project as part of their curriculum requirement. The competition requires participants to go undergo a ‘customer discovery’ phase for pertinent problem identification, market assessment and entrepreneurship training before building the prototype.
Helpful for start-ups
Addressing the launch function, Dr.Rajendra Kumar IAS, Principal Secretary/Industries Commissioner, and Director of Industries and Commerce, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, said, “India has the third largest ecosystem for startups with over USD 5 Billion of funding every year. Yet, we can do a lot better in making it easier for startups to be set up by delaying the layers of clearances. Our effort has been to ensure that the entire process is easier for entrepreneurs to get approval and to approach banks for loans. Both state and central governments have various schemes to boost startups.”
Dr.Kumar further added, “We’re trying hard to improve the ‘ease of doing business’ in Tamil Nadu. The State Government recently launched an online single window portal to make the process of starting an enterprise completely hassle-free.”
He has promised support from the Government of Tamil Nadu for the winners of Carbon Zero Challenge (CZeroC) 2019 when the teams are ready to go ahead with startups.
The uniqueness of CZeroC 2019 lies in its multi-stage support to the participants. It not only seeks innovative ideas but additionally supports the best performing teams to build working prototypes, by providing them ‘Financial and Mentor Support’.
CZeroC 2019 Offers:
For shortlisted 25 teams
- Up to Rs. 5 Lakhs per team to build prototypes Internship/liaising with industry for ‘problem identification’ and ‘piloting’
- Mentorship by Technical and Business Experts
- Entrepreneurship Training and Certification
- Winning teams will get connect to IIT Madras Incubation Cell.
Speaking for the occasion, the Guest of Honour Dr. Murali Padmanabhan, Senior VP and India Head of Talent Management, Virtusa, said, “We at Virtusa are delighted to partner with IIT Madras for the Carbon Zero Challenge. We are confident that these students will present exceptional solutions using technology concepts that are highly workable in the present day’s environmental scenarios and will help in the reduction of carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions.”
Further, Dr.Padmanabhan said, “We really appreciate IIT-Madras’s effort in supporting students to build innovative, low-carbon energy solutions that will achieve the grand objective of saving sustainable resources in India. At Virtusa, we work towards helping to reduce the environmental footprint and demonstrate ethical maturity based on our corporate values of passion, innovation, respect, and leadership. We, therefore, look forward to continuing this collaboration with IIT Madras in the coming years.”
Participants have to formulate innovative proof-of-concept technological solutions that are practical and scalable enterprising models and are contextual to Indian Energy and Environmental needs. The Competition is intended for early-stage energy and environmental entrepreneurs and Students (BTech/MTech/MBA/PhD/Post-doc in Science, Engineering, Management).’
Dr. Krishnan Balasubramanian, Chair Professor, Dept of Mech. Engg., and Professor-in-Charge, Gopalakrishnan Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, IIT Madras, said, “We need more understanding from Corporate India to participate with academic in taking the innovations happening in the laboratories to the market. We’ve immense talent in India and all we need is to convert the talent to opportunities.”
Dr. Indumathi M. Nambi, Professor, Civil Engineering Dept, IIT Madras, and Principal Coordinator, Carbon Zero Challenge, said, “We’re expecting minimum of 3,000 applications from all over the country. We’ve a lot of support from IIT Madras faculty and alumni, IIT-M Incubation Cell and many other organisations for this contest, which challenges students to think innovatively and raise awareness of environmental issues.”
The highlights of CZeroC 2019 are:
- Invites Pan-India Applications
- Entrepreneurship training and certification program
- Greater emphasis on commercialization of the selection idea
- Prototype development in collaboration with an industry partner
- Alignment with Academic calendar and curriculum and internship needs
- Greater possibility of appropriate products /Solutions and commercialization
In its first edition, CZeroC 2018 committed Rs. 10 lakh each to top three winning teams, to pilot their innovation. Three of the top 25 teams have already filed patent applications. One of the teams Team Enviro was selected for the I- incubate program of the Centre for Innovation at IIT Madras. As many as 52 startups and 479 college students from South India participated in CZeroC 2018.