Entrepreneurial Ecosystem @ IIT-Madras

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) has been at the forefront of India’s technology revolution, leading with innovations in the fields of Engineering and Information and Communications Technologies. Located at Chennai, a leading hub for manufacturing and Information Technology in Asia today, IITM has developed a strong and sustainable relationship with the industry. The integrated institutional support for this relationship is evidenced by IITM’s pioneering Centre for Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research (IC&SR), dedicated to nurturing and facilitating industrial interactions. 

Another marker of IITM's strong interaction with the industry is the fact that IITM is also home to India’s first university-driven Research Park (IITMRP). An independent company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013, promoted by IITM and its alumni, IITMRP assists research-focused companies and organizations to set up base and leverage IITM’s strong scientific expertise. Breaking down the traditional barriers of innovation through its connectivity and collaborative interaction, IITMRP currently houses about 55 companies, including ten incubated by IITM. 

Entrepreneurial ventures translating ideas from the academic research to bring practical benefits to communities have been supported from an early phase of IITM’s activities. The TeNeT group at the Electrical Engineering Department served as an early informal nucleus for entrepreneurial activities and incubated over 20 socially relevant companies since 1994. Notable examples include Midas Communications, which pioneered the corDECT low cost wireless DLL technology and Vortex ATM that makes very low power consumption ATMs for rural sector applications.

IITM has nurtured several incubators dedicated to specific sectors:
  • The Rural Technology Business Incubator (RTBI) emerged out of the TeNeT group in 2006, with an inception fund from the World Bank’s InfoDev Project and Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology. Based at the IITM Research Park, the RTBI uses business incubation as a strategy and methodology for rural and social development through capacity building, income generation and services and has since incubated over 30 companies. These ventures are leading the dissemination of world class technology to solve some of rural India’s most difficult problems such as power, water and education.

  • The Biotechnology Department, IITM under the Bio-Incubator Support Scheme (BISS), BIRAC has led to the formation of the Bio-Incubator (BI), which has incubated 2 companies in the Biosciences area.

  • The Entrepreneurship Cell of IIT Madras (formerly CTides) (E-Cell) is a student hub for entrepreneurship related activities at IITM. Started in 1998 to encourage and support student-led entrepreneurship at IITM, E-Cell now serves as a platform for pre-incubation support (NIRMAAN program). 

Several other incubation-related activities have grown from the culture of entrepreneurship at IITM: 
  • The Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CSIE) was founded in 2010 with a focus on teaching and research related to social enterprise in India

  • Founded from funds donated by the alumni of the 1981 batch, the Centre for Innovation (CFI) housed within the Central Workshop complex is a student body providing infrastructure, mentorship and support to nurture engineering innovation

  • IIT Madras Entrepreneurship Forum (IITMEF) is an initiative launched by the IITM Alumni volunteers to work with IITM and bring together people, resources and insights, to help accelerate the development of IITM's startup ecosystem.