Centre launches NIDHI4COVID2.0 that fosters indigenous innovations to fight against COVID-19

In order to bolster indigenous solutions and innovative products to combat the pandemic, the Centre has launched a new initiative called NIDHI4COVID2.0.

NIDHI4COVID2.0, an Initiative spearheaded by the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) and Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, has been devised as a rapid response to support startup driven solutions, which would be helpful in tackling the current challenging, second wave of Covid 2.0 in the country.

The initiative will offer funds to promising solutions in the thrust areas of oxygen innovation, portable solution, relevant medical accessories, diagnostic, informatics, including other solution that addresses or mitigate various challenges being faced due to COVID-19.

Applications have been invited from eligible startups with promising solutions on the centralized portal with the deadline of 31.05.2021

What Startups can apply for NIDHI4COVID2.0 aid?

The applicant startup must be a startup/company that is already registered in India. More preference would be given to startups having a formal association with the incubator (Any central and state government supported incubators) in its resident or virtual incubation program.

But if the applicant startup is a non-incubated one but shows promising technologies, DST will try to connect them to existing programs for possible evaluation and support upon the committee’s recommendation.

Moreover, startups should be less than 10 years in existence. In case the startup has more than 10 years of existence, and the product has reached the commercialization stage, Technology Development Board (TDB) may still provide the needed funding support.

Next step: NIDHI PRAYAS program

In order to avail the benefits of NIDHI4COVID2.0, the applicant startup should have a developed clear product fit for market and customer discovery with clarity on intended customers and value propositions for its targeted customers.

After clearing the necessary eligibility criteria, the presented innovative solutions at the conceptual stage that require funds for prototype development would be directed towards the NIDHI PRAYAS program in line with the program guidelines.
(Refer NIDHI PRAYAS website)

NIDHI PRAYAS program is specifically designed to support young innovators turn their ideas into an early-stage prototype or proof of concept (PoC).

The whole emphasis of the NIDHI4COVID2.0 and NIDHI PRAYAS program is to foster indigenously developed innovations and products in alignment with the nation’s “AtmaNirbharBharat Mission”.

Seed of the thought: NSTEDB’s idea of Startups and Innovations to wage war on COVID

This initiative has been launched based on NSTEDB’s past experience of successfully implementing a “Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH)” and “National Initiative For Developing And Harnessing Innovations – Seed Support System (NIDHI – SSS)” from Technology business incubators (TBI) to support Startups last year.

The government believes startups can play a major role in bringing new technologies and products into the market, thereby making our country stronger at various fronts against the ongoing war on COVID.

“Some Startups already have promising technologies but need mentoring, financial and marketing support to go to the next level,” says DST India explaining the urgent need of NIDHI4COVID2.0.

Therefore DST through this new initiative is attempting to scout and support deserving startups with much-needed support to scale up their technologies, helping them reach the product deployment stage as fast as possible.

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