The India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP) 2.0 is a tripartite initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, Lockheed Martin and Tata Trusts. Through its eminent stakeholders and implementation partners, the IIGP 2.0 aims to foster innovation-led entrepreneurship in the country.
We interviewed each of the programme stakeholders to gather their thoughts on the current state of India’s startup ecosystem, and how the IIGP 2.0 is uniquely poised to nurture and drive transformational change of India’s entrepreneurial economy.
Lockheed Martin has been a sponsor of the India Innovation Growth Programme since its launch in 2007. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a premier systems integrator and global security enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
The following are excerpts from our conversation with Mr. Phil Shaw, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India.
What do you think about the current startup ecosystem in India?
Through the India Innovation Growth Programme, Lockheed Martin’s been supporting the Indian startup ecosystem for more than a decade and it’s never been stronger. But we’ve seen a surge in interest since the Indian government commenced the Start Up India initiative.
That interest in entrepreneurialism is growing globally too, but there’s a tremendous ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit in India that we want to help foster.
Why is there a need for a program like IIGP?
The India Innovation Growth Programme is unique in that it connects start-ups with industry, academia and government and supports them whilst they’re finding their feet. It’s about helping innovators and entrepreneurs make their concepts a reality – taking them from idea, to a product and onto manufacturing.
In turn, that will help enhance the growth and development of India’s entrepreneurial economy and accelerate innovative new Indian ideas into markets in the United States and around the world.
How is IIGP different from the other Programs?
The India Innovation Growth Programme is unique in its longevity. Lockheed Martin has been backing this initiative for more than a decade and it’s the longest running public-private partnership in India.
The other way it differs is its focus on teaching and using world-class commercialisation strategies. IIGP has enabled new ideas to cross international borders as we recognize, reward and promote the tremendous entrepreneurial spirit that exists in India. The program fully aligns with the Government of India’s Innovation and Start-up Missions and is committed to supporting as many entrepreneurs in India as possible.
How has IIGP evolved in the last decade?
We launched the India Innovation Growth Programme in 2007 and, recognizing its potential, the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology joined us as a co-sponsor soon after its inception.
In 2017 we announced the launch of IIGP 2.0 when we were joined in this program by a new partner, Tata Trusts, one of the most distinguished philanthropic institutions in India. Our new partner helps IIGP specifically to support innovations to address social challenges.
The program has been restructured to better nurture the Indian innovation ecosystem by providing incubation support, including seed funding for start-up businesses to enhance their success, thus addressing a critical gap faced by innovators and entrepreneurs.
But the most visible way the program has evolved is in the number of applicants the scheme receives each year. From approximately 100 applications received in 2007, we’re now seeing over 3000 applications a decade on.
How is IIGP changing the current startup ecosystem in India? How you believe is IIGP bringing a positive change in India?
Simply put, we think the India Innovation Growth Programme is the flagship initiative for encouraging new ideas and entrepreneurialism and it has changed the fabric of India’s start-up scene.
Since launch of the IIGP program in 2007, more than 7,000 innovative technologies have been evaluated and we have provided over 400 Indian innovators with in-depth technology, commercial training and business development support. An Ernst and Young report commissioned in 2015 concluded that IIGP had been responsible for generating revenue of INR 5,239 crore (approx. US$ 860 million) for the participating companies – that’s likely to have exceeded US$1bn three years later. In addition, more than 500 individual business engagements agreements have been signed – connecting innovators to industry partners.
What should applicants expect out of IIGP?
The possibility that they can turn their ideas into reality. The entrepreneurs who have nurtured their innovations and creative applications are now ready to take them to the next level. This is perhaps the most gratifying part of the program, to see the tremendous potential that begins to take shape as business deals are signed.
Do you have any message for the current and future participants?
I’d like to congratulate our entrepreneurs who will be taking this critical next step today and offer strong words of encouragement to those whose big opportunity is waiting just around the corner. I wish you all the very best.