Higher Education Institutions (HRIs) have been asked to create an ‘innovation fund’ to support innovation and startup related activities. According to the new guidelines, which were announced on September 11 by the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry, the institutions will have to set aside at least 1% of their annual budget for the same.
These HRIs have also been asked to raise funds from “diverse” sources, both governmental and non-governmental, to reduce dependency on public funding. The institutions have been allowed to approach private and corporate players for fundings under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The HRD ministry issued these regulations under guidelines of National Student and Faculty Startup Policy 2019. The framework is prepared by a 15-member committee under the chairperson professor Ashok Jhunjunwala of IIT Madras. The aim of the new policies is “to envision an educational system oriented towards startups and entrepreneurship opportunities for students and faculties.”
The Policy Benefits
Under this policy, the institutions will also require to create pre-incubation and incubation facilities, which will be available around-the-clock. These facilities can be accessed by all the students and faculty of all disciplines.
In return for the services and facilities, the institutions can also take 2% to 9.5% equity or stake in the company. There will be no restriction on the number of shares the staff and faculty can take. Product development and commercialisation as well as participating and nurturing of startups would now be the responsibility of institutions.
In addition, the HRIs have been asked to update their internal policies for the student entrepreneurs and faculty members involved in innovation.
For The Student Entrepreneurs
To provide a healthy work environment for student entrepreneurs, the government has come up with various regulations. Any student working in these innovation centres will be given attendance relaxation. They will also be liable to semester and year break to work in the startup, following which they will be allowed to rejoin the programme.
These entrepreneurs can also earn academic credits for the efforts that went into creating the enterprise. HRIs will also be allowed to issue intellectual property rights and students will be allowed to study part-time for startups during the general academic course.
In addition, to regulate the policies, the government has also launched Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) to rank universities and colleges on the basis of their promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship activities.