A ‘Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship’ was inaugurated at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) on Thursday to make universal healthcare a reality.
The centre was inaugurated by Telangana Minister for IT and Panchayat Raj KT Rama Rao in presence of BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman, Board of Governors of IIT, Hyderabad and Prof UB Desai, Director, IIT Hyderabad.
At the inauguration, Rao said, “I congratulate IIT Hyderabad for kicking off this Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship and this centre is in line with the thinking of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Chief Minister. The role of the government in entrepreneurship is two-fold – the government can be an early adopter and can incentivise the innovators.”
He further added that technology is a great tool to nring social chane. “We welcome IIT Hyderabad to work with the Telangana government in setting up entrepreneurship opportunities in the areas of IT, aerospace and healthcare. Technology that does not bring about social change is futile.”
Reddy said there is a need to create 100 million jobs in 10 years and emphasised on innovation as a part of education culture.
“Although we have a god given demographic advantage, there is a need to create 100 million jobs in 10 years. It’s often thought that large companies create jobs, but it is start-ups that contribute 60% of the jobs today. We are fortunately at a time when innovation is at its best. We have to make innovation a part of our education culture. IIT Hyderabad is today at the fore-front of the second generation IITs. With this Centre for Healthcare Entrepreneurship they bring technology into healthcare aiming to touch the lives of people,” Reddy said.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship are the key drivers to India’s economic development. It is imperative that we create an ecosystem in India for innovations and entrepreneurship. Starting the Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship at IIT Hyderabad is a step in creating this ecosystem,” said Prof. Desai, Director IIT-Hyderabad.
The Centre will be sponsored by two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and IIT Bombay alumini Raj Mashruwala and Avi Nash Manudhane.
Commenting on the reason to choose IIT Hyderabad, Raj Mashruwala said “We were looking for an institute with strong commitment to societal needs, technological excellence and critical mass to create impact in healthcare technology. IIT Hyderabad with its nearly 2,000 students, 150+ faculty, proximity to high-tech city showed deep understanding, passion and capability to bring about innovative products and solutions.”
Avinash Manudhane said, “What really trumps aptitude is attitude and that’s exactly why we went with IIT-Hyderabad, for their passion.”
The centre will operate with a physical office and research facilities within IIT Hyderabad’s campus. Apart from being an incubator, it intends to have a complete programme for identifying and grooming entrepreneurs, and mentoring them all the way to productisation, scaling and eventual social adoption and impact.
The centre will be headed by Prof. Renu John, Professor and Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at IIT Hyderabad. Its objective is to catalyse ‘bio innovation’ with a unique focus of enabling creative solutions to pragmatically address some of the unmet healthcare needs of India’s less advantaged.
The Center hopes to jump-start an effort that trains entrepreneurs to deliver a pipeline of cost-efficient solutions, which are increasingly ‘commercialised’. The Center will aim to develop ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions, nurture promising ideas through start-up phase, guide the best ones to access the full set of resources, financial, operational as well as organizational, to permit broad implementation.
The launch of the centre was followed by a ‘Symposium on Healthcare Entrepreneurship’ 2015 (SHE) which brought together professionals from different backgrounds like social sciences, engineering, medicine, design, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and industry to initiate brainstorm with an aim to make the Center a key enabler for success in healthcare technology leading to products.
The symposium comprised of roundtables from experts on topics like incubating social enterprises; talent and team composition; business models for sustainable and socially impactful healthcare entrepreneurship; and curriculum for budding social entrepreneurs in healthcare.