IIT-M alumni launch innovation centre with $5-million fund plan

OUR BUREAU Chennai January 12 | Updated on January 12, 2018

Alumni of IIT-Madras have joined hands to launch a centre for innovation & entrepreneurship at their alma mater.

The Gopalakrishanan-Deshpande Centre at IIT-M is the brainchild of Jaishree Deshpande and Gururaj Desh Deshpande and has been patterned after similar centres at universities across the US, Canada, and the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in Hubballi, Karnataka. Former co-chairman of Infosys Kris Gopalakrishnan has joined them in the initiative.

Funding pattern

The centre will be co-funded by the Deshpandes and Gopalakrishnan to the tune of half a million dollars every year over the next five years, for a total of $5 million.

The centre will help launch the next generation of solutions, from the institute labs as well as from the fertile young student minds, to create significant economic and social impact at a national and, eventually, global scale.

“We need to feel that we are strong enough to innovate because the rest of world now looks up to India as a lot stronger place than Indians look at themselves. So, we would love to see a lot more of Indians gain confidence to innovate and collaborate,” said Desh Deshpande, who is now President and Chairman of US-headquartered Sparta Group.

Echoing those views, Gopalakrishnan pointed out that his recent experience of working with start-ups and young entrepreneurs revealed that quality of people in India was on par with the rest of the world and there was huge scope to come out with innovative ideas.

Tech start-ups

IIT-Madras, which is at the forefront of entrepreneurship ecosystem, incubates about 30 start-ups every year. It has so far incubated about 110 tech start-ups. Also, it has about 60 industry R &D collaborative initiatives.

“Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre comes at the right time to give a big fillip to the entrepreneurial ecosystem at IIT-M. The centre will be betting on people who come with some fascinating ideas,” said Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras.

Published on January 12, 2017

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