History is fundamentally a narrative of innovation, be it the invention of the wheel or the creation of computers. Innovation is the lifeforce of the ongoing global technological revolution. It drives economic growth and progress. In the words of Harold S. Geneen, innovation is also one of the five essential skills for entrepreneurial success. In recent times, the responsibility of promoting innovation, especially in hardware, has been shouldered to a great extent by a fast-growing network of ecosystem enablers, including makerspaces and startup accelerators all across the world for IoT and hardware innovators.
For the uninitiated, makerspaces are collaborative communities inside schools, libraries and other public/private entities. Makerspaces serve as platforms for makers, hobbyists, technologists, and enthusiasts to come together, exchange ideas and innovate. Makerspaces and accelerators also offer mentoring services to students and professionals in a variety of practical domains, including robotics, drones, 3D printing, coding and woodworking, among others.
Startup accelerators play the role of nurturer, offering support to early-stage, growth-driven companies. These accelerators provide ready-access to a well-connected community of experts, mentors, investors, and advisors. Startup accelerators facilitate the growth of fledgling startups through education, mentorship, and financing. Among the 60 most active startup accelerators in India are such names as 500 Startups, 50K Accelerator, Appy Hours, Jaarvis Accelerator, DesignGild, Intel India Maker Lab, and others.
Central to the concept of makerspaces and startup accelerators is collaboration. This brings us to the next question. What makes collaboration among innovators so important? According to Canadian author and consultant Don Tapscott, “Collaboration is important not just because it’s a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.”
Although late to the scene, the Indian startup ecosystem is slowly opening up to the idea of makerspaces and startup accelerators for hardware and IoT innovators. To provide readers an overview of the fast-evolving segment, we at Inc42 have compiled a list of the top makerspaces and hardware accelerators currently existing in the country.
The Top 21 Makerspaces In India