BMU aims to become start-up hub for north India

Gurgaon-based BML Munjal University has helped set up 15 start-up ventures by its alumni students; the university currently has 20 start-ups being incubated on the campus

For student start-ups, there are two incubators on the campus—the Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC) and the Propel.
For student start-ups, there are two incubators on the campus—the Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC) and the Propel.

Gurgaon-based BML Munjal University (BMU) has been focusing on student entrepreneurship since it was founded in 2014. It has helped 15 start-up ventures by its alumni students and 12 of these are in the early revenue stage. The university also has 20 start-ups being incubated on the campus.

For student start-ups, there are two incubators on the campus—the Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC) and the Propel.Prof Davinder Singh, CEO, ACIC-BMU Foundation, and in-charge of Incubation, BMU, told FE that the ACIC has been set up along with the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of the NITI Aayog.

“At the ACIC, we work with early idea stage start-ups and take them to proof of concept/prototype. They get mentorship and access to university infrastructure, including labs and centres of excellence,” Prof Singh said. “The Propel helps start-ups that have developed a prototype and are ready to go to the market. It helps them design their go-to-market strategy, work out the business model, and develop their product further.

Then there is the mentorship intervention. Mentors are usually people who have very strong industry experience and strong new product launch experience.”The newest start-up to have come out of the campus is BatX Energies, which is into recycling of lithium-ion batteries.

“BatX Energies has been with us for about two years and has raised two rounds of funding. It was selected by the NITI Aayog to be part of the Indian contingent of select start-ups showcased at VivaTech in Paris in mid-June; VivaTech is Europe’s key start-up event,” Prof Singh said.

The BMU, Prof Singh added, enjoys locational advantage. It is close to one of the biggest start-up ecosystems in the country, i.e. Delhi NCR. “The 100-km industrial belt from Gurgaon to Neemrana has over 50,000 industrial units. We work closely with them in terms of connecting them with the start-ups.

Being part of the Hero Group, a physical location near industry, and our emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, we have been able to create a strong and vibrant start-up ecosystem on the campus,” he said.The BMU regularly runs B-plan competitions. “We have the ideathon where we invite students from higher education institutes and schools from across the country to share their innovative ideas for solving relevant problems.

We also conduct capacity-building activities where we hold sessions on design thinking, IPR management and industry connect,” Prof Singh said. “At our flagship start-up event, the PitchFest, campus-based entrepreneurs get to meet prospective investors, successful start-ups, policymakers and thought leaders.”The most recent edition of the PitchFest, held in April 2022, had attracted over 300 start-ups.

While the ACIC and the Propel are run by the university, the BMU also has several student-run clubs like The Start-up and Entrepreneurship Club (TSEC) and Enactus, which is into social entrepreneurship. “These e-clubs are run by students and conduct many innovation and entrepreneurship activities, such as pitching contests, ideathons or a Shark Tank-like pitching activity. It allows them not only to participate as start-ups, but also learn how to manage and build an ecosystem.”

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