Vizag, India – GITAM (Deemed to be) University has launched the coveted SmartIDEAthon 2022 Challenge in association with Startup India, Northeastern University Center for Emerging Markets (NUCEM), Boston, and Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education (NUCEE), Boston, with over 1000+ student teams from across 27 states pitching start-up ideas that could help build sustainable and resilient communities through social innovation. All venture ideas must revolve around five pertinent themes of interest in India.
The mega pitchfest includes personalized coaching for selected student entrepreneurs, a sponsored trip to Boston, and cash and grants totaling INR30 lakh for the winners and runners-up. The themes for 2022 correspond to the celebrations of India@75-Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. Food and agriculture, clean/green technology, waste management, health and assistive technology, and water management are among them.
Students currently enrolled in any undergraduate or postgraduate program, as well as recent graduates, can present their venture ideas in teams of no more than two people.
In Round 1, a panel of top venture leaders will assess the relevance and innovation of the submitted minute-long video pitches and presentations. Up to 100 shortlisted applicants will advance to Round 2 and be invited to online Bootcamp sessions and coaching from seasoned entrepreneurs. After the panel re-evaluates submitted ideas for innovation, scalability, and impact, the 32 Round 2 shortlisted teams advance to the semi-finals.
The semi-finals and grand finale will be organized in person at GITAM’s Visakhapatnam campus, where the teams will network with industry experts, entrepreneurs, and other notable guests. As the competition heats up, eight teams will pitch on stage in an auditorium to an illustrious jury and a live audience.
In addition to Bootcamp-style and one-on-one coaching and prizes totaling INR30 lakh, the winners and first runners-up will be flown to Boston for an all expenses-paid two-week stay hosted by Northeastern University. They will get to see and experience the vibrant Boston entrepreneurship ecosystem through visits to local incubators and accelerators, as well as expert mentoring.
These trips to Boston would be for the Challenge’s winner and runner-up teams, as well as the winners of the Best Social Impact Business Idea and Best Woman-led Entrepreneurship Idea categories.
Last year’s SmartIDEAthon Challenge received an overwhelming response from students, with 250 team submissions from over 90 colleges across 17 states. The results of Rounds 1 and 2 will be released on July 15 and July 22, respectively. The semi-finals and finals will be held in August of 2022.
Krish Nangegadda, Chief Innovation Officer, GITAM (Deemed to be) University, said, “At GITAM’s Venture Development Center (VDC), we specialize in providing experiential entrepreneurship education to students of all disciplines. We have created a vibrant ecosystem of assets and events that enable creative thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset to solve business and societal problems. SmartIDEAthon is one such event that offers a platform for young minds to propose solutions around the themes advertised. The coaches and mentors at the VDC are equipped to conduct bootcamps and one-on-one sessions to handhold and guide the students to refine their ideas and to prepare them for the pitching competition. This is going to be a truly enriching experience for the students and equally for the coaches and organizers as well.”
Prof Raja P Pappu, Director, Venture Development Centre, GITAM, stated, “The current ideathon is focused on themes which are of national importance; through this ideathon, we encourage students to work on startups that help build sustainable and resilient communities through social innovation. The focus is on identifying pressing problems in Indian society. The participants are encouraged to pitch ideas that will solve these problems and positively impact millions of people. We encourage students to explore technological, process, and design innovations.”
Mahesh Varier, Deputy Director-VDC, GITAM, commented, “When starting out, an entrepreneur’s network can open doors to critical opportunities, knowledge, and support that can be the difference between a venture that succeeds and one that fails. SmartIDEAthon curates these crucial experiences for an entrepreneur.”
Image Source: GITAM