From Students To Entrepreneurs: The FTBI
National Institute of Technology Rourkela (NITR) is a premier institution of higher learning in the field of technology and sciences and is Institute of National Importance. It strives to create an environment where hundreds of professors and thousands of students carry out research on subjects for wealth and well-being of society. Foundation for Technology and Business Incubation (FTBI), a section 8 Not for Profit Company housed under Centre for Technology Innovation and Industry Relations (TIIR) at NIT Rourkela is an effort in the same direction. It is supported by National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
The vision of FTBI is to be counted as a global centre for promoting innovation and nurturing entrepreneurs leading to the creation of jobs, improved quality of life and stronger local and national economies.
The mission of FTBI is to create an ecosystem that will foster innovation and entrepreneurial spirit among the students and faculty in science and technology leading to self-employment, the creation of wealth and social values.
FTBI is dedicated to facilitating the budding incubates by providing the best support and guidance in order to unleash their potential to nurture the innovation and entrepreneurship by translating technology ideas and innovation in various disciplines of science and engineering into products, processes and services for commercial exploitation and benefit of society.
The steering committee of FTBI has Professor A K Panda as the Chairman. The other members include Professor A Satapathy, Professor R C Pradhan, Professor H B Sahu, Professor D Sarkar, Professor S Ari.
SUPPORTING AND FUNDING ORGANISATIONS
National Institute of Technology Rourkela (Host Institute)
Department of Science and Technology (DST), MHRD, Government of India
Department of Planning and Convergence, Government of Odisha
Startup India, Government of India
Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Government of India
Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL)
Centre of Alumni Relations and Resource Generation, NIT Rourkela
Startup Odisha, Government of Odisha
PRE-INCUBATION AT NITR
Optoelectronics based handheld blood biochemical analyser for PoC applications
Graphene Quantum Dots from Coal
Drone Seed Bombing
Online platform for patients to book hassle free and easy doctor’s appointment in one click
Eaz - market
An educational training startup aiming to help the students aspiring to study abroad for their UG and PG studies
3-in-1 soap, shampoo and toothpaste solution
Asthma relief t-shirt
Design and development of autonomous tethered multi-copter aircraft
Smart parking system for traffic control and parking management
Contracted research and manufacturing services
The smart wear
Biogas and fertilizer production utilising organic wastes
Medstrap (Real time healthcare monitoring system)
Website based portal for technical courses
GANGES WATER SOLUTION
Sandwich water purifier solution
Home automation and water conservation
Hand cased customised furniture and decoratives
JBS GREENHOUSE AND GROWERS
Enhance the crop/area in agriculture and climate controlled farming
Online transportation aggregation
Wet waste management
Economic green cement and concrete
Online aggregator solutions and wedding
Digital platform for creative content and path breaking platforms
Digitisation of fruit market of Rourkela
Dekho Market is one of the emerging startups that is incubated at the FTBI NITR. Dekho market as they describe is the “online gateway for offline fashion”. It addresses the need for transfer of small scale business from offline to online platforms thus facilitating the user’s requirements and comfort. It provides a comparative analysis of all the different garments at various local shops and offers special discounts for its users.
Team MM caught up with the CEO of the startup, Mr C.S Sambit to know more about the journey of the startup and it’s a prevailing culture in the institute.
MM: Tell us about the initial journey of your startup.
CS: It all started when I had gone to one of the malls to buy a shirt that cost me 1000 bucks. When I returned home I was shocked to know that it cost less because of a discount in another shop. This is where I came up with an idea of providing the general public a comparative analysis of the garments and the discounts being offered at different shops. This would not only make the user more aware of the prices but would help digitalise the local business platforms.I knew that FTBI is the perfect place to pitch my idea in. I started working on my business model and prepared the presentation to the authorities at FTBI. They gave me a period of one month to work on my idea and provide a proper working model. I was successful in doing that and we are here today with the website being already live and the company working actively to contribute to the fashion market sectors locally and globally.
MM: How can the students here in NITR deal with academic and entrepreneur life parallel?
CS: It is all about prioritizing. The problem with startups is the deceivingly glamorous CEO life that the youngsters imagine. One shouldn’t aim to become a CEO. The students should only focus on the problem statement and the solution. For acadmices I would say that being regular to classes and utilising the time of 8 AM to 5 PM is all that is required. They can focus the rest of their time on their goals may it be anything.
MM: Do you think startup culture at NITR needs more encouragement and promotion.
CS: Startup Culture in NITR definitely needs some changes. Helping the students identify the problem, help them excel from an idea to a proper business, create more funding and investment opportunities etc would uplift the status quo. Regular workshops on the startup ecosystems, benefits of startup grants by the govt. should be delivered to the students so that they can take their first step from zero to one without wasting their initial days searching for the right approach.
MM: How did you manage with all the permissions and documents required for the startup? Was the Institute helpful?
CS: Approaching FTBI and the being a part of E-Cell, we knew where to approach for the specific permissions required for our startup to grow. For vehicle and other permissions, we approached the security Officer through FTBI. The institute was helpful in some ways, but the process was a bit lengthier as we were students.
MM: What’s the status quo of the startup now?
CS: We have just entered the market after regressive market surveys and plans. We have got a few early clients in the starting days and are in touch with some big fishes in Rourkela. The deal is yet to be finalised, and sooner we will start advertising through various local sources to reach the Rourkela Audience.
MM: How can the students who are interested to work with the startup approach them?
CS: The NITR startup system is in it's growing stage. So, the students can approach directly to the startups by visiting their workplace in TIIR. For the startups established outside NIT, they can contact the startup through their website or/app. Usually, the contacts of the co-founders are available in the site or app, so reaching out to them directly will help them a lot.
MM: How are you planning to the extent your incubation?
CS: For the time being, we are helping the shops to gain customers free of cost. This would help them gain trust in us which would help in increasing our clients and thus gaining a better market faster. It can be overwhelming if we can achieve this feat faster and this may help us gain good investments in the coming days.
The readers can access the startup through the website of Dekhomarket.
Team MM wishes all the emerging entrepreneurs of NITR all the very best for their startups and hopes to see all of them growing by leaps and bounds