J Vig­nesh

The Economic Times - - Power Of Ideas -

not be trans­formed for so­cial and eco­nomic devel­op­ment with­out an early-stage scheme like BIG,” M K Bhan, who was helm­ing DBT when BIG was con­cep­tu­al­ized, was quoted as say­ing in a BIRAC re­port ti­tled ‘BIGKick Start­ing En­trepreneur­ship-1st BIG Re­port-2015.’ “BIG was de­signed as a ‘neigh­bour­hood scheme’—run­ning the schemes at mul­ti­ple places such that money goes with men­tor­ship. Men­tor­ship is fun­da­men­tal to this scheme.”


While Rs 50 lakh might seem like a small sum, it is the men­tor­ing and the con­nec­tions that BIG fa­cil­i­tates that mat­ter more. “The projects are mon­i­tored by a tech­ni­cal high-power com­mit­tee that has the best sci­en­tists in In­dia,” said Arun Chan­dru, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Pan­do­rum Tech­nolo­gies, a Bengaluru-based hu­man tis­sue engi­neer­ing startup that was among the first re­cip­i­ents of the Biotech­nol­ogy Ig­ni­tion Grant. The com­pany has also raised money from Flip­kart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. The men­tors in­clude em­i­nent sci­en­tists and in­dus­try ex­perts such as Raviku­mar Banda, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of molec­u­lar bi­ol­ogy firm Xcy­ton Di­ag­nos­tics, and Ro­hit Sri­vas­tava, pro­fes­sor at IIT-Bom­bay. Ap­pli­cants have im­mensely gained from this mix of back­grounds.

Adak re­calls when she was plan­ning for a gen­eral-pur­pose plat­form in­stead of a fo­cused prod­uct. “I went into it a lit­tle naively, ‘do you think you can fund it?’ I then went to Ven­ture Cen­tre (a part­ner agency for BIG), ‘can you help me with it?’ What is tech­ni­cally flawed, what do I need to change? They gave a lot of ad­vice. I was pitch­ing it as a gen­eral plat­form. They said you need to pick a disease. I

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