Interview Bee

IICE creating innovative ventures: Abhishek Kapoor

IICE is the hub of research, innovation, and entrepreneurship at BMU Surat. In an interview with the Director at IICE, Abhishek Kapoor spoke about the innovation and Incubation center and how IICE BMU has collaborated with the Government of India and is currently waiting for MSME’s revert. In addition to this, they have planned to conduct workshops and classroom-based training for aspiring entrepreneurs.


Incubees: Tell us about yourself and your journey of starting an Incubator.

Abhishek Kapoor: BMU conducted a programme during the 2021–22 academic year under the SSIP 1.0 scheme of the Gujarat government, which initiated the startup environment in the university. This year, BMU stepped up its efforts and took up SSIP 2.0 with rigor and commitment. In parallel, it also set up the incubation center as a horizontal department across BMU, connecting all the colleges on one platform. It was inaugurated in the month of October by our LS Speaker Shri O P Birla Ji. As of now, we have a dedicated space for incubation and also an IICE team with IICE coordinators from several colleges, including science, technology, IT, pharmacy, BBA, and MBA, to name a few.


Incubees: Tell us about the programmes offered at BMU IICE. Is BMU IICE industry specific?

Abhishek Kapoor: SSIP, in collaboration with the Government of Gujarat, is one of our flagship programmes. Besides SSIP, we have also initiated a 12-week-long rapid startup enablement programme, SANKALP, including workshops to help the innovators reach the business plan stage, making them investor-ready. We have also run the first stage of the MSME Hackathon in collaboration with the Government of India and are waiting for MSME’s revert. Additionally, we plan to conduct workshops and classroom-based training for aspiring entrepreneurs now. BMU IICE is not industry specific as of now, but the ideas are driven predominantly by the existing colleges of BMU, hence the increased focus on science, pharmaceuticals, robotics, and IT as of now.


Incubees: What are the companies registered with you?

Abhishek Kapoor: As of now, we don’t have any startup ventures registered as companies under us. However, we have a few alumni who have set up their ventures successfully and are willing to help us achieve our objectives.


Incubees: What would you say is your USP considering several incubators have come up now in the startup ecosystem?

Abhishek Kapoor: Our USP is an extension of the USP of BMU, which is providing quality career education at an affordable cost to deserving students. We plan to extend the same value proposition to our aspiring entrepreneurs. In addition, the conglomeration of various domains ensures diversity of skills within BMU, and we expect to derive a lot of benefit from that in the coming years through the formation of balanced teams. BMU has over 24 colleges with over 12,000 students, and that’s our real strength.


Incubees: Tell us about the chain of networking, mentors, and investors and how they have benefited the startups.

Abhishek Kapoor: BMU has a strong network already, and we have leveraged that to add strength to our incubation initiative. Our network has helped us in many ways, including selecting the right candidates, designing the syllabus for classroom-based learning, organising sessions, forming policies and SOPs, and providing direct guidance to the startup teams.


Incubees: Can you give the readers an insight into the funding and equity valuation?

Abhishek Kapoor: As of now, our startups have received funding from BMU as well as government schemes only. The equity-based funding has yet to take shape, as it will take the startups a little more time to reach that stage. Our programme, SANKALP, will conclude by connecting startups with investors for equity-based funding rounds.


Incubees: Would you like to give a message to entrepreneurs?

Abhishek Kapoor: Given the context in which we are operating right now, the message to all aspiring students is to take any idea and learn how to convert it into a business plan. In the early stages, the idea is not as important as going through the phases of learning business plan creation. Often, after creating and dropping many ideas, one would arrive that would click and convert into a good business. There’s no need to wait for that moment. An aspiring entrepreneur must continue to work with ideas until one of them becomes profitable.

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