New Delhi (India), April 9: thingQbator, a CSR initiative by Cisco in partnership with the nasscom foundation, proudly felicitated ten winning start-ups from its 6th Cohort at the prestigious Neovation felicitation ceremony. This event marked a significant milestone in fostering student entrepreneurship and tech-skills development in India through a program centered around nurturing and encouraging young minds to address social issues through technology while strengthening India’s startup ecosystem.

Designed to empower young innovators, thingQbator provides a platform where college students across the country are mentored to turn their ideas into prototypes and viable businesses. This virtual makerspace program, held at various partner universities, offers students hands-on experience with digital technologies. It enables them to transform their ideas into working prototypes and devise localized solutions to community problems.Todate, over 8900 students have beenpart of the Entrepreneurship track,and a subset of these learners have been directed towards the startup ecosystem, with the intention of shifting their mindset to align their innovations with the social and economic needs of the country. Since its inception in 2018, Cisco and nasscom foundation have collaborated with 42 universities to accelerate student entrepreneurship and foster digital skills through the thingQbator program.

The felicitation ceremony was held to celebrate the achievements of the tenstartups who have successfully transformed their ideas from a prototype to a successful solution, winning seed funding of 5 Lakhs rupees each through a government-recognized TBI at the end of the Start-up track. This event brought together students, faculty members, technology experts, and start-up specialists from universities nationwide to celebrate the win start.

Malika DattSadani, Founder of TheMomsCo, delivered an inspiring session, motivating aspiring women entrepreneurs to pursue their innovation journeys with unwavering enthusiasm. Among the dignitaries present were Nidhi Bhasin, CEO, Nasscom Foundation, Harish Krishnan, Managing Director and Chief Policy Officer at Cisco, and Vish Iyer, Vice President, Sales, Cisco APJC.

Harish Krishnan, Managing Director and Chief Policy Officer at Cisco,echoed this sentiment, and said, “Our vision has always been to empower a generation of job creators than just job seekers. Today, we find ourselves amidst the most transformative period in India’s history, a time of immense opportunity and growth. The good news is that this transformation isn’t confined to the bustling metros but is more inclusive and expansive than ever before. Therefore, through our thingQbator program, we’re committed to building an ecosystem that nurtures student innovation and entrepreneurship and also provides access to cutting-edge technology, knowledge resources, makerspaces, mentorship, and financial support. We take immense pride in witnessing students’ focus on developing solutions that have the potential to revolutionize some of the biggest societal challenges.”

Reflecting on India’s burgeoning role as an innovation powerhouse, Nidhi Bhasin, CEO, Nasscom Foundation emphasized,”Today, India is taking a leading role in innovationand we are seeing a pioneering spirit emerge in the startup world, with young minds coming forward, incubating their ideas, and making a difference. The encouraging trend is that it’s not just about technology and entrepreneurship; it is also about the social impact. In the last five years, over 38,00 ideas have been generated, resulting in nearly 369 minimum viable products (MVPs) and roughly 68TechForGoodstartupsthat were launched under the thingQbator program. As India strives for Viksit Bharat by 2047, it is inspiring to see thesestartupsdevelop incredible solutions that aim to transform our country, both economically and socially.

Cisco, through its partnership with nasscom foundation, aims to bridge this gap by creating the next generation of innovators. This year witnessed a record-breaking participation, with over 1,000 submissions, underscoring the burgeoning creativity and dynamism of India’s youth. Notably, the 6th Cohort boasted 24 women co-founders and fourall-women start-ups, reflecting a paradigm shift towards gender-inclusive entrepreneurship.

Following a rigorous selection process, tenstandout start-ups were awarded seed funding of Rs. 5 lakhs each through a government-recognized TBI upon completing the Start-up Stage. These start-ups exemplify a new breed of changemakers,harnessing technology to address pressing societal challenges and drive sustainable impact.The top 10 honoured teams include:

1.Sign bridge (TAT, Bhubaneshwar): Software translating sign language to speech and vice versa, facilitating communication between deaf and mute individuals with others.

2.Hydroponic Automation System (AVV, Coimbatore): A fully automated hydroponic system that monitors and controls crucial plant parameters.

3.Amyr (RGIPT, Amethi): A mobile application with a virtual AI assistant designed specifically for local store owners, streamlining inventory management, offering voice-based billing, and facilitating efficient delivery service management.

4.RailHealth (MNNIT, Allahabad): A platform providing healthcare services during train journeys.

5.NeuRoar (PES, Bengaluru): A personalized assistive technology app created to assist individuals with Autism and ADHD, aiding them in navigating daily routines, embracing neurodiversity, and cultivating positive habits.

6.Spandana (Vellore Institute of Technology): An IoT-based game kit designed for caregivers with children affected by motor coordination disabilities, providing a non-intrusive solution for improving their condition from home.

7.Talent-ED (RGIPT, Amethi): Addresses the skill-profession mismatch by crafting personalized career paths for secondary education students.

8.Solar Powered Vehicle (Sahyadri College of Engineering And Management Adyar, Karnataka): An innovative vehicle integrating advanced solar technology with in-house manufactured controllers, offering an affordable, efficient, and sustainable alternative featuring dual charging options and a compact design.

9.Non-Invasive Glucometer Based On Acetone Concentration (Kongu Engineering College, Tamil Nadu): Aims to develop a portable and low-cost device for analyzing glucose levels using exhaled breath acetone concentration for diabetic patients.

10.NIROGYA (BanasthaliVidyapeeth, Rajasthan): Provides a comprehensive telemedicine platform featuring AI-driven symptom assessment, virtual doctor consultations, medication delivery, appointment scheduling, and health record management.

The celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship at Neovation epitomizes the nasscom foundation and Cisco’s unwavering commitment to nurturing a culture of innovation and empowerment. As we chart a course toward a future defined by innovation and inclusivity, we remain steadfast in our dedication to nurturing the next generation of innovators who will propel India’s journey toward prosperity and progress.The event concluded with the announcement of thingQbator Cohort 7, encouraging students to engage with the platform and explore innovative ideas for positive social impact.

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