The 2023 edition of the GITAM SmartIDEAthon — organized by and held at GITAM (Deemed To Be University) in collaboration with Startup India and Northeastern University Center for Emerging Markets (CEM) and Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education (NUCEE), Boston — is set to host its grand finale on August 24-25 in Hyderabad. The annual nationwide student pitchfest has received ideas across four themes: Food & Health, Toys for STEM, Sustainable Fashion and Frugal Innovation.
“The submissions showcase a wide spectrum of innovations. Student innovators seem to strongly favor the theme ‘Frugal Innovation’ with 489 applications exploring cost-effective solutions. Under the Food & Health category, we received 310 applications. 134 applications under Sustainable Fashion, and 76 applications under Toys for S.T.E.M.” said Sreedevi Devireddy, Director, Venture Development Centre, GITAM (Deemed To Be University).
GITAM SmartIDEAthon – 2023 showcases a diverse pool of participants from top colleges and universities across India. The demographics of participants represent a wide geographical spread, with states like Tamil Nadu (206), Telangana (130), Andhra Pradesh (108), and Karnataka (101) being prominently represented among the 1009 total applications.
Emphasizing the event’s core focus on fostering collaborations and providing a nurturing platform to aspiring students, Krish Nangegadda, Chief Innovation Officer at GITAM (Deemed to be University), stated, “SmartIDEAthon aims to be more than just an innovation showcase; it endeavors to promote collaboration and networking among young minds. We are grateful for the invaluable support from esteemed partners like Startup India and Northeastern University, Boston, besides sponsorships from reputable businesses, which has been instrumental in making this event possible.”
SmartIDEAthon, a platform for Indian undergraduate and postgraduate student innovators to showcase their entrepreneurial prowess, has unveiled its title sponsor, CtrlS – a leading provider of data center and cloud solutions, ensuring secure and reliable IT operations.
The SmartIDEAthon 2023 competition features an impressive array of innovative ideas, including a groundbreaking energy conversion innovation, transforming thermal heat into electrical energy, and a sustainable fashion prototype, comprising comfortable clothes made from a blend of banana, bamboo, and other eco-friendly fabrics. Advancing to the next competition stage are remarkable concepts like the ‘World’s first fastest and smallest self-aware coconut harvesting robot,’ as well as captivating innovations like the ‘plant-based battery’ and ‘heat-powered air blower.’ Notably, the top 32 contenders include students from prestigious universities from the length and breadth of India. Reflecting on the diversity of applications, Balkumar Marthi, Dean – Innovation, expressed, “The level of creativity and enthusiasm displayed by the students in this year’s SmartIDEAthon is truly remarkable. We are thrilled to witness the caliber of ideas pouring in from top educational institutions across the country.”
In Round 1, a panel of top venture leaders reviewed the submitted minute-long video pitches and presentations for relevance and innovation. Up to 100 shortlisted applicants made it to Round 2 and were invited for online Bootcamp sessions and coaching by entrepreneurship practitioners. After the panel re-assessed submitted ideas for innovation, scalability and impact, 32 shortlisted teams from Round 2 have now walked into the semi-finals.
The semi-finals and grand finale will take place in-person at GITAM’s Hyderabad campus, providing teams with valuable opportunities to network with industry experts, entrepreneurs, and distinguished guests. As the competition reaches its peak, only eight teams will move ahead to pitch their ideas to an eminent jury and live audience in an auditorium setting. The winners and runners-up will receive mentoring and coaching from us for the next six months with up to INR 200,000 cash prize.
The Prizes for various categories are as follows:
Winner: INR 2,00,000 cash prize + fully sponsored two weeks Boston trip for both Founder & Co-Founder where they will receive personalized coaching, mentoring and exposure to the Boston startup ecosystem
Runner-up: INR 10,000 cash prize + partially sponsored two weeks Boston trip for both Founder & Co-Founder
Best Social Impact Business Idea: INR 50,000 cash prize + fully sponsored two weeks Boston trip for one member (Founder or Co-Founder)*
Best Woman-led Entrepreneurship Idea: INR 50,000 cash prize + fully sponsored two weeks Boston trip for one woman (Founder or Co-Founder)*
Leben Johnson People’s Choice Award: INR 50,000 cash prize