Centre to fund startups offering indigenous solutions to tackle second Covid wave

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday announced financial support to Indian startups and companies for developing new technologies and innovative products that can enable the country to fight the Covid crisis.

NIDHI4COVID2.0 — a new initiative under which the companies can apply, will fund eligible startups and companies registered in India offering promising solutions in the thrust areas of oxygen innovation, portable solution, relevant medical accessories, diagnostic, informatics, or any other solution that addresses/mitigate various challenges faced by country/society due to the severe impact of Covid.

The initiative is a special drive of the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India (GoI) for supporting indigenous solutions and innovative products to combat the Covid crisis.

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Development and manufacturing (import substitution) of the products parts currently being imported for the devices such as oxygen concentrators would also be considered for Seed Support through DST supported network of TBIs. Promising startups will be provided with financial and mentoring support for scaling up their products/technologies to the next level and speeding up their processes, helping them reach the product deployment stage as fast as possible.

This initiative has been built based on NSTEDB’s past experience of implementing Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) and also through special calls through National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations — Seed Support System (NIDHI — SSS) from Technology business incubators (TBI) to support Startups in 2020.

“Supporting development of devices such as oxygen concentrators also brings with it huge opportunities in the development and manufacturing of several critical components that are  being imported such as specialised valves, zeolite materials, oil-less and noiseless miniaturized compressors, gas sensors, etc which have wider applications in several sectors,” said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.

In the current situation, startups can play a major role in bringing new technologies and products to the market, thus making our country stronger at various fronts against the ongoing war on Covid. Some of the startups already have promising technologies but need mentoring, financial, and marketing support to go to the next level. Thus, DST’s attempt through this new initiative is to scout and support deserving startups with much-needed support to scale up their technologies, helping them reach the product deployment stage as fast as possible.