NITK, Nitte will be declared as innovation hubs: Nirmala Sitharaman

NITK, Nitte will be declared as innovation hubs: Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the NITI Aayog will soon declare NITK-Surathkal and Nitte institution as innovation hubs, at university level under Atal Innovation Mission.

She was speaking after inaugurating Centre for Entrepreneurship Opportunities and Learning (CEOL), an incubation centre for start ups, developed under her MPLAD scheme, at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore in Mangaluru on Friday.

She said teams from NITK and Nitte have been taken to IIT-Madras, where Prof Jhunjhunwala has set up an innovation hub where one can obtain hands on training on how to set up innovation hubs. The NITI Aayog will make the announcement on the innovation hubs in these two institutions shortly, she added.

Atal Tinkering Labs

She said 55 schools from Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada have been selected for setting up Atal Tinkering Labs, which will be funded by NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission. "In the first phase, schools from Delhi and surrounding areas that were selected for the Atal Tinkering Labs. So I had sent a team to Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada, to train school teachers on applying for Atal Tinkering Labs. After the training, the schools from the region applied online and 55 have been selected for the same, which shows the potential in the region," she said.

Further, Sitharaman said that two colleges in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi will also be selected under Centre of Excellence wherein state-of-the-art lab will be set up, which can be used by neighbouring colleges as well.

Stating that Silicon Valley, which is also on West Coast, had many suburbs and educational institutions similar to Mangaluru region, the Union minister said in Silicon Valley people were enterprising.

People of Mangaluru region are equally enterprising. "Similar to Silicon Valley, a valley in the west coast of India can be created with these three projects," she said.

"CEOL is historic"

Sitharaman said that the CEOL is historic and a symbol of New India because this is probably the first time that a Member of Parliament has used his/her MPLAD funds for creating such an institution. Normally, the funds are used for building roads, parks, and other basic facilities. "But when I had a choice, I wanted to do something for a New India, to realise the aspirations and dreams of the people, of the youth, and I wanted to think in an innovative way. That's when I came up with the idea of an incubation centre, and Mangaluru and DK was my first choice," she said.

The incubation centre is a force multiplier as new companies will be mentored and grown. The companies will employ more people and contribute to the development of the region, she felt.

Nirmala said that Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil has been asked to plan three programmes every month, bring in venture capitalists and angel investors to interact and fund ideas of the start ups, bring in industries to find solutions to their problems through the Start up ideas and bring in mentors in specialist areas to fine tune ideas of the start ups.
The incubation centre will be run by a society headed by the deputy commissioner.

A set of professional/ mentors will choose the applicants based on their ideas and give them space to nurture their ideas, at a nominal rent.

Already, 49 interested youths have applied for getting a space in the incubation centres. The CEOL will be able to host up to 70 entrepreneurs.

MLA J R Lobo and MP Nalin Kumar Kateel demanded the setting up of Zonal Coast Guard headquarters in Mangaluru and allotting a Sainik School for Dakshina Kannada district.

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