In an attempt to support, handhold, incubate, mentor startups in Odisha, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) launched the Innovation Club on four leading campuses of the state on Friday.

“Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), National Institute of Science and Technology, Silicon Institute of Technology, Temple City Institute of Technology and Engineering Knowledge Campus (a unit of Techno India Group) are the institutes where the CII Innovation Clubs will be housed.

“Not only do we intend to create a strong and enduring culture of innovation and entrepreneurship here in this state, incubate start-ups and connect them with funding agencies, CII will also help start-ups get funding for their projects,” said Mr J B Pany, Chairman, CII Eastern Region Startup & Innovation Taskforce, and Managing Director, Radiant Telesystems Pvt Ltd, at Financing Innovation: Fueling Startup Growth organized by CII.

The conference featured about 100 industry leaders, academic luminaries, fund managers and thought leaders. “This is just a beginning. As the CII Innovation Club gathers momentum in Odisha, we are confident that more institutes in the state will encourage their students to take the advantage of this initiative,” Mr Pany said, adding that CII runs 20 such clubs elsewhere in eastern region.

“As for the Innovation Clubs in Odisha, CII will serve as a bridge between academic institutions and industry, connecting future innovators, startups with funding agencies and corporates,” he added.

According to him, the CII Innovation Clubs will involve top academics, scientists, industry members who as mentors will interact with students and help them in coming up with projects which have the potential to get commercialised.

The CII mentors will also teach them about revenue models, intellectual property, and how to structure and pitch, he explained. Odisha has set a vision to become one of the top three start-up hubs in India by 2020, he observed.

Mr Dipankar Chakrabarti, Co-Chairman, CII Eastern Region Startup & Innovation Taskforce expressed his confidence over the success of the venture.

He urged the State government to consider offering scholarships to the best and the brightest, and also explained why this CII initiative is pioneering in “concept and design”.

Mr Manas Ranjan Panda, Director, Software Technology Parks of India; and Dr Ratikanta Sahoo, Director, Templecity Institute of Technology and Engineering, also spoke at the inaugural session.