Herald: Forum for Innovation Incubation Research and Entrepreneurship was launched today. Let us know more about this new center.
D S Prashant: FiiRE is a technology business incubator established with the support of Department of Science and Technology, Government of India under the national initiative to develop and harness innovation and it is dedicated towards helping move the start-up process from the garage to the laboratory. FiiRE implements a structured incubation process to make the start-ups investable and leverage the strengths of the ecosystem to help start-ups scale faster. It is hosted at the Don Bosco College of engineering, Fatorda and promoted by The Fatorda Salesian Society which is part of the worldwide society of Don Bosco having branches in over one hundred countries. Don Bosco Society has over five hundred institutes engaged in the education of the young.
Herald: What are the facilities you are offering here?
DSP: FiiRE offers 100 seater incubation space, structured incubation support, training and strategic mentoring, prototyping facilities, marketing and promotion support, corporate connect access to funding besides add-on benefits like tax exemptions and discounted offers from partner agencies and organisations for start-ups.
Herald: What are your focus areas?
DSP: We are focusing on supporting manufacturing, product development and agriculture-based start-ups. We will also support tech-based start-ups in the area of travel and tourism.
Herald: Since there are several incubation centers in Goa how would you sustain yourself?
DSP: We are presently funded by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India to the tune of Rs 10 crore. FiiRE implements a rental and equity model. The incubator will also invest in the start-ups by taking a small stake in the company. The incubator will work closely with several corporate to build sustainable benefits to be offered to the start-ups.
Herald: What are your plans to create the new generation of techno-entrepreneurs?
DSP: A great start-up ecosystem usually has three tier support systems. The primary one is to create an environment for the natural development and expression of innovative ideas and innovations wherein people are inspired to think about techno-entrepreneurship as a career option. The second tier is to have an invigorating incubation support system and tertiary being creating opportunities for scalability of start-ups. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Manovikas Public Charitable Trust to explore the possibilities of developing the next generation of techno-entrepreneurs through a collaborative learning process from a young age. The incubator of the school will throw up challenges to the school students and the selected ideas will be supported for commercialisation. The underlying expectation is to get the young minds to think innovatively towards solutions for problems and also appreciate and learn from failures at a young age.
Herald: What difference will FiiRE make to the Goan start-up ecosystem?
DSP: The Government of Goa is keen on making Goa the hub for start-ups. We have most of the ingredients to make it a thriving start-up hub. What is now required is a collaborative approach to support the start-ups at their various stages of development. FiiRE has invested its capabilities in building a process to help start-ups become investable by leveraging the strengths of the ecosystem with the help of the partners from the global start-up ecosystem. [H]