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To make cities in India smart, there is a need of an integrated approach to modernize infrastructure, and leverage technology to improve efficiency and capacity of city services.

PM Narendra Modi had announced his vision to set up 100 smart cities across the country in 2014. The mission intends to promote adoption of smart solutions for efficient use of available assets, resources and infrastructure. From providing a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment, to robust IT connectivity, or e-governance, a smart city will be equipped with these amenities provided through smart solutions.

Taking a step ahead, Microsoft Ventures, DLabs at the Indian School of Business, and Ashoka University have joined hands to launch “AIM Smart City accelerator programme” to identify, invest in and support the best startups focused on making cities a better place.

“This is a unique initiative in the spirit of translating the Government’s focus on smart cities into action. Beyond funding and mentoring, we also going to liaise with the Government to consider the solutions proposed by our startups.” says Priyank Narayan, Director – Entrepreneurship Programmes, Ashoka University.

A smart city is the one which uses technology and intelligent urban systems to enhance quality of life and encourage sustainable utilisation of resources while actively engaging with it’s citizens and environment, is the need of future.

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AIM Smart City Accelerator Programme has come up with a concept to identify startups or entrepreneurs who use connected solutions, technology and systems to productise ideas and bring these solutions to the market for rapid and mass adoption.

The accelerator is inviting applicants from the startups working on smart city solutions in the areas of Education, Healthcare, Transport & Logistics and Infrastructure. The startups will be judged on Financial Viability, Technology Feasibility, Desirability to its target audience, Sustainability of the solution and Track record of the team.

Startups who are between piloting or are in initial launch to pre-expansion phase can apply for the four month accelerator program that will commence from April 25, 2016. An investment support of up to INR 10 lakh will be provided to each team selected.

Microsoft will support this through its BizSpark program and a recently announced special initiative for Indian technology startups for smart cities. Qualifying startups can apply for individual access up to $120K (INR 80 lakh) worth of Azure cloud computing. The cloud computing capability may be used to create innovative solutions and pilot projects for smart cities.

B.K. Singh, Senior Executive Director, Dalmia Bharat Group, said; “We are delighted to launch the Dalmia Bharat AIM Smart City Accelerator Program with support from Ashoka University, ISB and Microsoft. As per NASSCOM, India ranks third in the global startup ecosystem and stands amongst the first five largest startup communities in the world.  Through this program we want to sensitize today’s young entrepreneurs how best to utilize the start-up boom for smart city development.”

After undergoing the training at the acceleration program, selected startups will showcase their products to the best VCs, angel investors and government stakeholders from India and abroad, at the Demo Day, which will be organised on August 26, 2016.

Startups can apply here. More details can be viewed on the website. Last date for application is March 15, 2016.

[This article is brought to you by Ashoka University]

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