Kochi: In a move that comes as a huge boost to the country’s startup ecosystem, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) have signed an agreement to support startups in the maritime sector.
The programme is expected to provide a platform for young and talented entrepreneurs to develop products or services in the marine space with financial support provided by the CSL. Under the initiative, startups can get up to Rs 50 lakh as seed grants, Rs 1 crore as prototyping grants, and equity funding for startups at the scale-up stage.
The agreement was signed between Prof V Kamakoti, director, IIT Madras, and Deepu Surendran, general manager (C-SAS), CSL. The IIT Madras will act as one of the implementation partners of the initiative and will provide incubation, mentorship and training to startups selected under the programme.
The institute will invite applications online twice a year to identify startups for funding under seed funds, pilot grants and equity investment schemes. This is part of the startup engagement programme ‘USHUS’, launched by CSL to augment the central government’s initiatives to encourage and develop an ecosystem in the country for supporting maritime startups from the technical, regulatory, financial, and marketing points of view by bringing the stakeholders together.
Startups selected under the scheme would have to be committed to working on innovation, improvement of products, processes or services, and present a scalable business model with a high potential of employment generation and wealth creation. The amount disbursed under the scheme to startups can be used to meet its operational and capital expenditures, which include working capital, purchase of fixed assets and other expenses.
Addressing the gathering, Prof Kamakoti said the management of the maritime sector had been increasingly becoming automated, posing interesting challenges to creative minds. “The current partnership shall undoubtedly lead to many innovative Atmanirbhar solutions,” he said.
Madhu S Nair, chairman and managing director, CSL, who was present at the event, said “We are confident that this initiative by CSL in association with IIT Madras will catalyse the growth of marine startups in the country, as we move forward aiming at onboarding new and emerging technologies in this space. As an initial step CSL has already declared a corpus of Rs 50 crore for our startup engagement programme ‘USHUS’. We are also happy to have IIT Madras as our partner in this endeavour.”
Prof K Murali, (dean (faculty) and professor in-charge of NTCPWC, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT Madras), Prof Mahesh Panchagnula, dean (alumni and corporate relations), and Rajesh Gopalakrishnan, chief general manager (strategy & new projects), CSL, were also present during the signing ceremony.