The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), set up by NITI Aayog to foster the culture of innovation, will come up with an initiative to focus on innovation in small businesses.

“We are going to announce a formal programme early next year. It will have challenges for innovators to come up with creative ideas that help small businesses,” Ramanan Ramanathan, Mission Director of AIM, said.

Ramanan, who was here to take part in The Things Conference India on Friday, said the Mission would fund such innovators to transform ideas into solutions.

He said the number of researchers per 10 lakh population was very low at 222 in India, while the number was beyond 4,000 in countries like Sweden, Taiwan and South Korea.

The conference discussed opportunities in LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network), which offers cost-effective solutions for smart city projects, for India.

Several demos were showcased to tech enthusiasts on the advantages of deploying LoRaWAN on the sidelines.

“Europe and the US have begun to tap the technology to power smart city products. There’s a huge opportunity for India to benefit from this cost-effective technology,” Ram Ganesh, Chief Executive Officer of CyberEye, which is supported by iBHubs, said.