A University of Texas at Austin economic development initiative in India received high-profile recognition from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to New Delhi last week.
As part of her stop in India, Clinton visited an event that showcased public and private sector innovation partnerships between the United States and India. There, she highlighted a company, Forus Health, and its technology that's supported by the India Innovation Growth Program.
The program is operated by the Global Commercialization Group of the university's IC2 Institute and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). It is sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corp., India's Department of Science and Technology and the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum.
Forus Health has developed a scanner called 3nethra that can detect eye diseases before they cause blindness, a major issue in India and other developing countries. She also cited a company that has developed an infant resuscitator that rose through another program.
"Both these cutting-edge innovations cost a fraction of other medical devices that address these same problems [and] make life-saving health care available to people who might otherwise be unable to afford treatment," Clinton said.
The goal of the India Innovation Growth Program, which the Global Commercialization Group has administered since 2006, is to develop a cadre of Indian entrepreneurs with the skills to develop and deploy products and services that can compete in domestic and global markets.
In working with Indian entrepreneurs, the IC2 Institute draws on its decades of studying entrepreneurs, building businesses and business clusters to help support and accelerate business for people in developing economies. It provides training and assists in developing relationships and business engagements for investments, partnerships and customers.
The program has helped more than about 90 Indian entrepreneurs and small businesses find investors, business partners, collaborators, and even paying customers.
Indian entrepreneurs in the India Innovation Growth Program go through several steps from introductory workshops, to screenings of services and products, to market research and business development. The entrepreneurs and companies with the highest commercialization potential move forward at each step.
Valerie Hase, the institute's program manager for the India project, said that since 2006 more than 3,000 people have attended the workshops in India; more than 2,000 technologies have been screened; and market research reports have been prepared for about 300 technologies.
"The number of people seeking to participate in the program has increased each year," said Sid Burback, director of the Global Commercialization Group. "We are very pleased with the momentum that the program has built and the progress that our program participants have made."