Dehradun based multi-disciplinary university, UPES, has launched ‘Runway’, its biggest incubation program to work with start-ups within and outside of the university on their ideas and help them transition into strong, scalable and successful businesses. ‘Runway’ aims to help brilliant innovators get through the early stages of setting a start-up and reach the point where they have made a product/service impressive enough to raise money. This will be done through a mix of mentorship, grants and investments, legal and incorporation support, and allocation of space to work.
‘Runway’ is established under UPES Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UCIE), which has been recognized by the government of Uttarakhand as a business incubator and the state nodal agency to encourage entrepreneurship and help incubate start-ups in the state.
Speaking at the formal launch of ‘Runway’ at the university campus, Dr Sunil Rai, Vice Chancellor, UPES said, “At UPES, we are serious about encouraging innovation and developing the entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow. Runway is our most ambitious initiative in this direction. We are fully committed to the ideas, passion and dreams of our students, faculty members and individuals outside of UPES who are gearing up for their entrepreneurial journeys. Start-ups are one of the significant growth engines of the Indian economy. ‘Runway’ is our endeavor to fuel this engine and be an ally in the nation’s progress. ”
The launch event was led by Rahul Nainwal, CEO, ‘Runway’ and attended by Sharad Mehra, Chairman, Hydrocarbon Education Research Society (HERS, UPES), Shilpa Sharma, Co-founder, Jaypore; Sri Prakash, President, TiE Dehradun, Saurav Kumar Sinha, Founder & CEO, Homeversity, and Priyanshu Jain, Founder, Agri Joy.
Sharad Mehra encouraged the students and faculty members of UPES and individuals outside of UPES to utilize ‘Runway’ for their entrepreneurial success. Shilpa Sharma advised that those who want to start their own start-ups should work closely with someone who has been on that path for better learning and experience.
On ‘Runway’, start-ups will refine ideas and business models, develop prototypes, and identify key customers and investors. ‘Runway’ will also provide financial support through grants and funding. The process involves:
- Selection: Idea-stage and early-stage start-ups will be selected through an open application process. ‘Runway’ is sector and location agnostic, implying that start-ups can be from any field and located anywhere in India.
- Incubation: The shortlisted start-ups will go through a hybrid (online and offline) 8-week incubation program. This will include refining of business ideas and getting them ready for market and investors. Other important peripheral support will also be provided to the selected start-ups such as incorporation services, logo design etc.
- Mentoring: Each selected start-up will be aligned with a mentor to handhold them during and after the incubation process. They will also be provided necessary infrastructure support such as labs and office space.
- Pitching: The incubation program will culminate into the demo day when the stat-ups will pitch to a carefully selected audience including investors, advisors, and others.
- Nurturing: The ‘Runway’ team will continue nurture and support the start-ups even after they have completed the incubation program and taken off.
- Networking: Through ‘Runway’, start-ups will meet the best in the industry through online and offline events and workshops.