University's Centre for Entrepreneurship in association with Dalmia Bharat Group and Microsoft Accelerator starts initiative to nurture innovative and committed early-stage startups
In a bid to translate the government's focus on smart cities into action, Ashoka University's Centre for Entrepreneurship in association with the Dalmia Bharat Group and Microsoft Accelerator announced application has called for the second cohort of its AIM Smart City Accelerator programme.
The joint initiative is aimed at nurturing innovative and committed early-stage start-ups with unique solutions focused on building a smarter and sustainable India.
Following the success of last year, the five-month long programme will also focus on start-ups in the areas of education, healthcare, transport and logistics and infrastructure.
The aim of smart city accelerator program is to bring startups every six months, take them through an accelerator process, help them in getting in touch with their relevant mentors interact with government, procurement agencies and make business ready.
The first batch of the startups which were a part of Aim Smart City accelerator graduated on that day. The event saw the presence of senior industry leaders for a panel discussion, giving their expertise on the subject.
The panel discussion, moderated by Munnish Puri, CEO BW Disrupt, BW Applause and Everything Experiential, was aimed at decoding and demystifying smart cities, their own interpretation of a smart city.
It also focused on the important aspects of smart cities and their past experience in the process of building a smart city and their current mandate on the subject.
While moderating the session, Puri also helped the audience in understanding the sweet spots and how to wade through the current environment of the smart cities ecosystem. The panel discussion which was divided into three rounds was followed by a Q&A session from the audience, which helped in a better understanding of the concept.
Talking about his idea of a smart city, Saurabh Rai, a partner at Acuity Consultants, said that a smart city is the one which is sustainable, digitally-enabled and provides comfort to the residents.
"My idea of a smart city is the one where there is an intervention between technology and humans, there should be a focus on better quality of lifestyle merged with ease of achieving it," said Rahul Savdekar, director of industry solutions (government) at Microsoft.
Rahesh Mathur, advisor of ESRI India, and chair of the FICCI committee on Geospatial Technology, believes that in order to maintain a smart city it is important to preserve the original cultural attributes or these cities will end up being clones of each other.
Talking about her idea of a smart city, Prarthna Borah, India director of Clean Air Asia, said, "A smart city is all about accessibility convenience and safety. And these aspects can be looked into deeply by startups and could potentially develop a lot of business by venturing into these ideas."
Anant Singh, regional manager - strategic and mega government projects, Smart Cities Dell Technologies said: "As a citizen a smart city is what should be able to provide us living clubbed with comfort and discovery of a problem even before it arises, there is a lot of scope and vast opportunities for startups in this area to develop.
The session ended with all the accelerators showcasing their promising products for their startup ventures.