72% Indians aged 25-34 want to be entrepreneurs (Randstad Workmonitor survey)
There are no proper jobs for the educated youth. And those lucky few that do get them have to face immense pressure at workplaces, with no time to spare for family and friends. Added to this, there is uncertainty and an insecure future staring at them, driving youngsters today to look elsewhere to ensure financial security.
In 2014, in a quiet shed within IIT-Bombay, a handful of engineers who left their jobs started working on innovative medical devices. Youngsters who wanted to take up challenges kept joining along the way. Gradually, a culture of frugal innovation was built at BETiC — Biomedical Engineering and Technology (incubation) Centre, which has started yielding success stories of ‘Made in India’ products.
Take the case of Adarsha K, who gave up a cushy job at L&T to join BETiC in 2015. His journey started at a medical device innovation camp at IIT-Bombay when he met Tapas Pandey (who later left an electronics company to join the centre). They discovered the unmet clinical needs of remote auscultation (listening to chest sounds of patients in faraway places), where trained doctors are not available. They teamed up and solved the problem by developing a smart stethoscope to record and transmit sounds over mobile networks. Two years later, they founded their start-up company, Ayu Devices, and have already sold more than 600 devices.
The story of Dr Vikas Karade is similar. He quit a corporate job to join BETiC and developed a software to convert X-ray images into 3D models, which can be used for planning orthopaedic surgeries, as well as 3D-printing surgical tools. This helps reduce the time and increase surgery accuracies. Dr Karade was part of PM Modi’s delegation to Silicon Valley in 2015 and his company, Algosurg, is supported by BIRAC, DST and Y-Combinator.
Then, there is Nishant Kathpal, who declined an offer from Intel to develop a low-cost portable screening device to avert diabetic foot amputations. His start-up company, Ayati Devices, is already getting enquiries from diabetologists and podiatrists, as well as patients of chronic diabetes.
Adarsha, Tapas, Vikas, Nishant and many others are testimony to the fact that 83% of the Indian workforce would like to leave their jobs and want to become entrepreneurs, which is much higher than the global average of 53% (Randstad Workmonitor survey).
A key catalyst for the innovation ecosystem is hackathons, such as the weekend MEDHA and week-long MEDIC organized by BETiC. These events bring doctors and engineers together to explore medical device innovation. They can quickly validate their ideas, identify team members and obtain expert feedback, where budding innovators, entrepreneurs, mentors, innovation managers and faculty guiding med-tech projects can speed up their innovation journey in the healthcare field.
The Randstad Workmonitor survey also reveals that the inclination towards entrepreneurship is the highest among workers aged between 25 and 34 years — 72% of them favour entrepreneurship over service.
BETiC is supported by the Government of Maharashtra and the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. The 5th edition of MEDIC (Medical Device Innovation Camp) is scheduled from September 28, 2019 to October 2, 2019 at the Powai campus of IIT-Bombay.
‘Making a real difference to the world’
‘An increasing number of engineering and medical graduates want to make a real difference to the world we live in. When they realise the constraints of a corporate workplace, they start exploring entrepreneurship through innovation labs, such as BETiC. Such facilities for product engineering along with comprehensive mentoring are accelerating indigenous development of affordable devices suitable for local manufacture and use. We’re now witnessing a surge in healthcare start-ups across the country, next only to e-commerce according to some estimates’
— Prof. B Ravi, founder, BETiC
‘Exploring options; finding entrepreneurship partners’
‘Many new opportunities for research, innovation and entrepreneurship lie at the intersection of conventional disciplines, such as biomedical, design, mechanical and electronics engineering. We’re bringing together like-minded people through such platforms as MEDIC to explore such opportunities and find suitable partners, as well as, mentors, to pursue their ideas further’
— Dr Rupesh of BETiC