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BIRAC BIG scheme 19th Call for Agri Startups

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BIRAC BIG scheme 19th Call for Agri Startups

BIRAC announces 19th call for proposals under the biotechnology ignition grant big scheme in the Agri and Agri-Biotech sector. BIRAC BIG scheme 19th Call applications are open for Grant in aid up to Rs.50 lakh from 1st August to 15th September 2021. The scheme enables technology innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue a promising technology idea, and establish and validate proof of concept (POC) for the idea. The startups, entrepreneurs, individuals, and students at the Idea/POC stage can apply for the BIG scheme through a-IDEA, NAARM.

Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) Scheme

The Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) is a flagship scheme of BIRAC which recognizes and invests in innovative ideas in the biotech sector. The ideas should have clear potential to translate into commercial products/technologies. BIG supports individual entrepreneurs/ start-ups from ideation to Proof of Concept (POC). Under the BIG scheme, BIRAC provides a grant-in-aid of up to Rs.50 lakhs for a period of 18 months. The current article briefs the procedure to apply for a biotechnology ignition grant big scheme.

BIRAC BIG scheme 19th Call for Agri Startups
BIRAC BIG scheme 19th Call for Agri Startups

Purpose of the BIG scheme

  • This scheme Supports ideation to Proof of Concept (POC)
  • Nurtures entrepreneurship to enable the translation of ideas into commercially viable products/ technologies to address unmet need
  • Enables Biotech Startup Ecosystem in the country to become globally competitive

Eligibility Criteria

BIRAC invites proposals from Biotech startups and Individual Entrepreneurs with innovative ideas having potential for commercialization. Eligible entities include the following:

  • Startup age allowed for a registered company/ LLP incorporated under BIG with effect from 1st Jan 2019: 5 years
  • Scientists, Faculty, Research Scholars, Graduates in any discipline incubating/ intend to incubate at a BioIncubator
  • Eligibility criteria for startups under BIG has been revised

Projects Supported

The BIG scheme supports innovation under Healthcare, Life sciences, Diagnostics, Medical Devices, Drugs, Vaccines, Drug Formulations, and delivery systems, Industrial Biotechnology, Agriculture, Secondary agriculture, Waste Management, Sanitation, Clean Energy, and related areas.

The project proposals can be submitted in any of the following seven categories:

  • Devices & Diagnostics
  • Drugs including drug delivery
  • Industrial Biotechnology including Secondary Agriculture
  • Agriculture
  • Biosimilars & Stem Cells
  • Vaccines
  • Bioinformatics & facilities

Project Duration

The funding is provided for a period of up to 18 months. The project is implemented in a milestone-based manner

Benefits of the BIG scheme

The benefits of the Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) are discussed below:

Fiscal Incentives Offered

The funding support under BIG is in the form of grant-aid. The scheme offers financial support of up to INR 50 lakhs.

The fund allocation is milestone-based and released in 4 installments:

  • 1st Installment: Signing of Contract: up to 30%
  • 2nd Installment: Completion of 1st Milestone (M1): ~ 30%
  • 3rd Installment: Completion of 2nd Milestone (M2): ~ 30%
  • 4th Installment: Completion of project and submission of the final report (M4):
  • 5th Installment: 10% Last installment is released after submission of the project completion report

 This is typically like reimbursement

Entrepreneurial Support

BIG Partners and BIRAC provide continuous mentoring support to the grantees, including but not limited to the following:

  • Technical Mentoring (Connect with Technical Experts)
  • IP Support
  • Legal Support
  • Networking and Outreach
  • Training
  • Regulatory Advice
  • Business Mentoring
  • Connect with Investors

Focus Areas

BIRAC BIG 19th Call is looking to collaborate and work with startups in any of the following areas:

  • Agriculture
  • AI
  • Green Technology
  • Finance Technology
  • Enterprise Software
  • Food & Beverages
  • Renewable Energy
  • Technology Hardware
  • Healthcare & Lifesciences
  • Internet Of Things
  • Marketing
  • Nanotechnology
  • Non- Renewable Energy
  • Pets & Animals
  • Social Impact
  • Robotics
  • Biotechnology
  • Waste Management

TimeLine of BIRAC BIG scheme 19th Call

The TimeLine of the BIRAC BIG scheme 19th Call is tabulated here.

Application Opens 13th  August 2021
Deadline to Apply 15th September 2021
Application Result Date 15th October 2021

Application Procedure

The Incubation Program Applications will be open from 13th August 2021to 15th September 2021. The applicant is required to access the official webpage of BIRAC.

  • Click on the “Login /Register” button from the official website of BIRAC.
  • Select the “Click here to Register” button to start the registration process and to be re-directed to the page where the registration form has to be filled.
  • Select the Click here for Big Scheme option for proceeding further.  Select the ‘Type of Applicant’ from the given options on the page.
  • Fill in all the mentioned information in the provided spaces and then click on the “Register” button
  • The applicant will receive an email containing the link for resetting the password.
  • After the password has been reset, the applicant has to log in to the BIRAC portal for the Proposal Submission.

In case the company name is not found in the drop-down.

  • The applicant has to register the company by clicking on the link.

After the submission of the ‘Company Registration form’, the Company name will be activated within the following 24 hours.

Selection process

BIG selection is a multi-tier process involving the following steps:

Eligibility Check: BIG Partners screen the applications for eligibility requirements as laid out in the scheme document and appropriateness under the BIG scheme

Examination by Preliminary Selection Committee (PSC): The PSC examines all eligible proposals on following contours: o Scheme fit o Availability of adequate technical details which are minimally required for online review o Plagiarism

Online review by subject matter experts: Proposals recommended by PSC are reviewed online by 3 or more subject matter experts.

Presentation before Thematic Technical Expert Panel (TEP): Based on expert reviews, shortlisted applications are called for a Face to Face presentation before Technical Expert Panel (TEP). The TEPs are conducted in a thematic manner where all proposals of a particular theme are evaluated together by a common committee. All proposals are scored by individual TEP Experts and the Geometric Mean of Individual Scores is used to arrive at the final score for a particular proposal.

  • Proposals with a score ≥60 are considered at the next step (ESC) o Proposals with a score
  • Proposals with a score <60 are not considered further

Scoring Cut-off the decision by the Expert Selection Committee (ESC): ESC takes the final decision concerning the cut-off score for final selection. Proposals above the decided cut-off will be considered for further due diligence. ESC may choose to have either the same or differential scoring cut off across the themes.

ESC recommended applications are then subjected to final financial and technical due diligence by the BIG Partner. This may require a visit by BIG partner representative(s) to the applicant’s site and involves the following steps:

  •  Reconfirming eligibility by verification of original documents
  • Legal, technical, and financial due diligence o Confirming applicant’s claimed resources: Space, equipment, manpower, advisors, incubation services, samples, etc
  • Confirming compliance strategy with regards to safety, ethics, waste disposal, etc.
  •  Confirming for any special guidance by ESC
  •  Justification of budget (usually by verifying quotations); meeting budget caps and other requirements

 Finalization of milestones, budget, and payment schedule; defining clear measurable milestones.

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