March 4, 2021
Forge, an enterprise of the Sakthi Group, Coimbatore and supported by Kumaraguru Group of Institutions, as the Partner Incubator to Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India, has championed the creation of another national scale platform to promote startups as innovators within public sectors. On the heels of having played a founding role in scaling up iDEX (www.idex.gov.in) in India’s defence sector, Forge in partnership with Smart Cities Mission is building City Innovation Exchange (CiX) – a digital platform to enable startups as the flag bearers of driving transformation of India’s urban ecosystem to achieve the envisioned goals of the National Urban Digital Mission.
In an online launch event held on the 25th Feb, 2021, CiX(http://cityinx.niua.org/) platform was launched by Sh. Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs in the presence of over 500 CEOs/Commissioners from across Indian cities and several hundred startups, innovators and entrepreneurs. Sh. Anil Agrawal, Joint Secretary, DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Sh. Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary and Mission Director, Smart Cities Mission, and other officers of the Central and State Governments were also present as part of the event. At the time of launch CiX was launched with the city profiles of over 100 smart cities, the detailed descriptions of over 150 innovation challenges sourced from city administrators, the innovator profiles of 400+ innovators and detailed solution briefs of around 215 solutions, displaying the platform’s capabilities even while being under development.
This initiative is one of the ongoing efforts of the Government of India to realise the Prime Minister’s vision of New and AtmaNirbhar Bharat, by making cities more self-reliant & enable them to meet the needs of and provide services to their citizens. Designed on the principles of Open Innovation it aims to bring the Users (city administrators, government, citizens, etc.) and the innovators (startups, MSMEs, Academicians, etc.) to foster innovations and adoption of technologically advanced solutions to address the pressing challenges and needs of the cities.
About City Innovation eXchange
The urban sector in India urgently needs the capability to sponsor, source, and scale innovation at an unprecedented scale, and speed to keep up with the escalating scope and complexities of challenges. Identifying and removing systemic bottlenecks, blind spots and inefficiencies are imperatives that cannot be ignored any more, especially because they have proliferated across a vast geography of 4000+ cities, spanning a geographically and culturally diverse nation. India is witnessing the rise of a vibrant startup ecosystem enriched by technology talent and entrepreneurial innovation, having enormous potential for addressing the toughest urban challenges at national scale.
Smart Cities Mission, Min. of Housing and Urban Affairs, Govt. of India, envisions bringing the administrators and users in the 4000+ cities in direct connection with thousands of India’s top innovators to exponentially scale up the innovation capacity of India’s urban sector. In response to Prime Minister’s clarion call to develop and harness India’s startups, and in accordance with the guidelines issued by DPIIT to facilitate procurement pathways for startups to government sectors, the CiX initiative of Smart Cities Mission will immensely catalyse the Startup India movement.
The Platform adopts the Open Innovation Model to build solutions to address cities’ challenges. This model has proven to be highly successful for the Corporate sector to deliver market winning technologies and products. Open Innovation enables multiple stakeholders including Administrators (Cities), Citizens, Innovators (researchers, startups, and MSMEs), and Ecosystem Enablers (Startup India, incubators, academia, associations) collectively called the Quadruple Helix—to effectively collaborate and co-create innovative solutions.
Forge as the Program Management Unit of CiX, has been playing a pivotal role in strategising the process, building the program and the platform, right from understanding the needs of the users viz. cities & innovators. The platform development has been sponsored through CSR funds from AVEVA and Astrikos Consulting.
Forge is catalysing national-scale industrial digital transformation by enabling Government and Industry to collaborate with Innovators. By harnessing entrepreneurial innovation and leveraging its vertically integrated incubation capacity covering industrial innovation labs, knowledge & financial resources, program capabilities, and partner networks.
Forge helps public and private sector partners to drive digital transformation at industrial scale through collaboration with startups as engines of innovation and growth via a managed open innovation framework. Founded with the vision to upscale India’s tech sector to global standards, Forge is focused in catalysing industrial deep-tech startups to solve India’s toughest challenges in areas such as manufacturing, transportation, urban infrastructure, healthcare, agriculture, sustainability, energy and natural resources, massively impeding the economic and social development of the nation.