Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) – IIM Ahmedabad’s technology and business incubator – has signed a memorandum of understanding with Maharashtra Industries Development Corporation (MIDC) in Pune for a multi-year program with the objective to support and incubate great quality technology startups in Pune. The signing was attended by representatives from Pune’s vibrant ecosystem: The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), SEAP (Software Exporters Association of Pune), PuneTech, Pune International Centre, and VMware. Speaking on the occasion, Joint CEO of MIDC, Mr. Anand Rayate, said that the key pillars of this partnership include “awareness and outreach programs championing tech-entrepreneurship, building entrepreneurial capability through focused programs and startup events, creating an active ecosystem linking investors, mentors and innovators, as well as incubation and funding through CIIE’s flagship programs and angel network”.
For many years, Maharashtra has been at the forefront of entrepreneurial activity in multiple fields. In this regard, MIDC has set a precedent in the past with favourable IT policies, execution capability and partnering with the technology ecosystem. With the government identifying the need for creating a robust support system for startups and entrepreneurial activity, the partnership with CIIE and the MOU have happened at the opportune time. Pune, an educational and technology hub that is home to many of India’s best institutes and largest enterprises, was an easy choice for the two parties to collaborate and build an incubation centre with the support of the Maharashtra Government.
Highlighting the significance of Pune, Mr. Ajit Relekar, Regional Officer at MIDC, said that the city has highest number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state. CIIE, as part of its ThinkPune initiative in 2014, had highlighted this aspect of Pune and its strong points in serving as a rising startup destination in the country. The incubator recently set up its operations in Pune to capitalize on this opportunity, focusing its efforts on key Information and Communication Technology verticals: Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Big Data and Analytics, Financial Technology and eGovernance.
Elaborating on the partnership, Maneesh Bhandari, CIIE’s Director of Pune operations, said that Pune hosts very large number of startups, hundreds of corporate innovation centres and is an R&D hub for a number of global and domestic corporates, and CIIE aims to leverage these enterprises to form a strong startup-corporate connect. Talking about the new incubation centre that will be set up as part of the partnership, he summed up that “the aim of CIIE’s incubation centre is to run Accelerator and related programs helping scale startups”. CIIE aims to provide very mature global ecosystem to these startups apart from funding, business and domain mentoring to scale faster and have better chance at succeeding.