Union Education Minister Inaugurates I-Hub Incubator at IIM Sambalpur

Sambalpur; 1st March, 2024: The one-day 100 Cube Start-up Conclave began at IIM Sambalpur with the inauguration of the I-Hub Foundation, the physical and virtual incubator by the Union Minister of Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Govt. of India, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan. Established under Section 8 as a registered company, I-Hub Foundation will play a pivotal role in nurturing and supporting innovative ventures across diverse sectors including textiles, arts & culture, agriculture, healthcare, financial & digital inclusivity, tribal entrepreneurship, and sustainability, among others.

Spearheaded by the Ministry of Education, GoI, the 100 Cube conclave endeavors to establish 100 startups on its premises, each with an approximate valuation of INR 100 Crores by Odisha’s centennial celebration in 2036. The conclave witnessed the august gathering which consisted of Prof Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur; Prof Manoj Kumar Tiwari, Director IIM Mumbai; PM Prasad, MD, Coal India Ltd; Amrendu Prakash, CMD, Steel Authority Of India Ltd; Sanjiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Finserv; Rashmi Ranjan Mohapatra, MD Parry Enterprises; Nagaraja Prakasam, Author & Angel Investor; Jayanti Mahapatra, CEO & Founder Manikstu (GOAT Bank); Nirmit Parikh, Founder Apna; and Avinash Punekar, CEO iCREATE, faculty members and students. The event also witnessed the signing of an MoU for the establishment of the Center of Management Education in Angul, Odisha, by IIM Mumbai and IIM Sambalpur.

While addressing the audience, Shri Pradhan emphasized the significance of the 100 Cube start-up conclave and said, “Start-ups at the conclave are the wealth creators, jobs creators, and creators of economic opportunities for the bottom of society.” The Union Education Minister envisioned healthcare, textile, agriculture, mines, and minerals as the priority sectors for startups and said, “Education institutions like IIM Sambalpur are natural places for mentorship, given the talent pool of faculty.” He also stressed that there is no shortage of resources in the country today; however, the challenge lies in linking resources with new ideas. Incubation centers like I-Hub will facilitate this. Finally, he emphasized the need to monetize startup ideas, products, and projects.

Sanjiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Finserv, said, “It’s a pleasure to be part of the 100-Cube Conclave, especially considering the ambition. This is an apt opportune time, given India’s status as the fastest-growing economy and its trajectory to become the third-largest economy globally. India is already the third-largest startup nation, with over one lakh eleven thousand startups registered with DPIIT, and there are 111 unicorns.” He further said, “The key is having an idea, identifying the market, building a strong team, and executing well. The opportunity provided by India and Odisha is unparalleled.  I believe in aiming for 100 startups by Odisha’s hundredth year 2036, let’s set an additional goal of having at least ten unicorns.”

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