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Innovation – Science and Technology based Entrepreneurship Development (i-STED)


Innovation – Science and Technology based Entrepreneurship Development (i-STED)

With a view to promoting technology-intensive and knowledge-driven enterprises in the nation, the Government of India has established the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB). This institution is managed by the Department of Science & Technology. It works with business organizations that focus on scaling up and transforming market-ready technological innovations by fostering innovative entrepreneurship. The Innovation – Science & Technology based Entrepreneurship Development (i-STED) programme is one among the schemes of NSTEDB.

The aim of i-STED is to create inclusive socio-economic progress by addressing challenges related to specific industry domain. This would make it possible to offer value-added services to end customers under affordable pricing. Good market outreach, large-scale employment, new sustainable enterprises, and sustainable wealth creation will be facilitated, thus fostering socio-economic development.

Objectives of NSTEDB

The key objective of the programme is identifying the issues and challenges present in specific industries or areas and their solutions on the basis of innovative strategies and technological interventions. Such solutions have to align with business opportunities for generating socio-economic progress. Projects that fall under this programme focus on demonstrating better avenues to generate jobs associated with the suggested technological solutions and create sustainable enterprises. Creating a sizeable impact within a time frame of 5 years is also an objective of these projects.

The following are the objectives of the project:

  • Identifying and addressing major problems and challenges related to specific industry sector/geographical zone or society/cluster including semi-urban and rural regions. This includes gaps in innovation for the marketing value chain.
  • Utilising validated and fully developed technologies sourced from varied fields such as existing clusters, conventional sectors, technology providers, R&D institutions, etc. that have good market potential.
  • Exploring and fostering entrepreneurial opportunities in a systematic way that facilitates commercially applying different services or products developed using the above technologies.
  • Enhancing the performance of the prevailing enterprises by systematically applying innovative Science & Technology interventions.
  • Facilitating and performing different informational services associated with entrepreneurship promotion.
  • Serving as a policy advisory institution related to entrepreneurship.
  • Networking the agencies of academic institutions, Research & Development organisations, and support system for fostering entrepreneurship as well as self-employment through the use of Science & Technology, focusing on backward areas as well.
  • Promoting and developing high-level entrepreneurship related to Science & Technology manpower and self-employment by making use of Science & Technology.

Eligibility Requirement for Submitting Proposals

Indian institutions or organisations that have ‘not for profit’ status and profit institutions that are promoted by Government organisations or national financial institutions, banks, and technical consultant bodies having high credibility out of extensive work accomplished and proven history of promotion and development of technology-based services may submit the i-STED proposal. It is essential that the organisation that applies meets the following requirements:

  • Regular employees with training, having experience in the specific technology domain.
  • Comprehensive and functional training infrastructure, technology validation, and expertise in the proposed field. Infrastructure comprises of computing facilities, demonstration space, audio-visual hall facility, and training halls.
  • Prior experience working in the field of Science & Technology-oriented enterprise creation.

Organisations that do not have the above-said qualities but still want to participate may partner with other relevant institutions that possess the required facilities and expertise.

Other Eligibility Conditions

  • Domain experience: At least three years of experience in project execution related to popularizing innovation via enterprise and entrepreneurship promotion. The organisation needs to have successfully carried out projects having similar goals and suggested budget estimate.
  • Functional experience: The organisation must be functional for a minimum of three years according to the date of establishment or registration.
  • In-house Skills: It must be equipped with a full-time employee team consisting of qualified personnel with necessary work experience in relevant fields. Experience in market-related processes and entrepreneurship is desirable as well.
  • Financial Status: A minimum of Rs.50 lakhs turnover as per the organisation’s balance sheet with regard to the last financial year.


Educated, skilled, and young potential entrepreneurs who have the drive either to start or scale up an enterprise of their own by making use of technological and innovative interventions are likely to be benefited. So are those entrepreneurs having the potential of impacting the industry and region, and having the potential of scaling up.

Project Proposal Framework and Design

It is possible for an organization or one applicant who partners with other business organisations with relevant facilities and expertise to initiate a project under this programme. The proposing organisation can identify some technologies (with a limit of 5) that have to be taken up in the project with proper analysis, survey, and care.

Project should be formulated in accordance with the programme’s application format. It has to be worked out as per execution model activity, conceptualized framework, and resources needed for meeting the objectives and target of the suggested project. The overall budget estimate has to be realistic; it may vary according to the canvass of project, type of the technology, outcome and targets in the plan put forward.

Mechanism of Implementation

The following steps need to be undertaken by the applicant organisation:

  • A comprehensive plan to execute the project in a quarterly and annual manner
  • Selection and finalisation of the core team and nodal person
  • In-depth sensitisation of the project for targeting industry, domain, or region with sufficient stakeholder evaluation
  • Strategise and carry out the plan for a systematic solution deployment having societal approval
  • Develop and execute a strategy regarding promoting entrepreneurship
  • Connecting solutions and innovations with workable business plans and models
  • Organising human resources for business model implementation through entrepreneurship and enterprise promotion
  • Identifying and choosing potential entrepreneurs
  • Capacity building and training of entrepreneurs
  • Arranging registered enterprises through connecting entrepreneurs regarding financing through banks or proper Government schemes using banking compatible business strategies for the new enterprises
  • Market identification and marketing services to potential entrepreneurs
  • Counselling existing businesses for modernisation and technology upgrades
  • Course correction and internal monitoring processes
  • Monitoring and reporting the impact experienced with the project

Linkages to be Established

It is essential to establish linkages with reputed regional, national, and local level R&D or technical institutions, technology business incubators network, Science & Technology entrepreneurship development agencies, innovations and entrepreneurship development cells, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, and industrial training institutes for effective and successful implementation. This enables upgrading of existing technologies and sourcing new technologies.

The project must operate closely with the local bodies of administration and trade as it is imperative for producing the intended results. Banks and financial institutes, as per necessity, must be involved from the initial stages so that better acceptability and approval of the project proposal among financial organisations is available during sanctioning as well as disbursement of the loan.

Assessment and Observation

The i-STED happens to be a 5-year project that draws NSTEDB’s financial support. Nevertheless, project continuation is linked to specific outcomes and measurable targets. Its performance must be monitored in qualitative as well as quantitative aspects at both local levels and by sponsoring organisation.

Performance is monitored by an expert advisory committee and the progress of sanctioned projects will be evaluated. Site visits, when required, will be conducted by a team formed by NSTEDB secretariat for project monitoring. A significant shortfall in accomplishing target or overall performance may lead to termination of the project prior to completion of its tenure.

Proposed Outcome/impact

The objective is promoting 5 to 10 innovations that have the potential for creating 100 sustainable and scalable enterprises having a turnover of approximately Rs.20 Crores generating around 1000 direct jobs and 2000 indirect jobs within five years. These indicative figures may vary as per the innovation type and location of implementation.

Project Submission

A project proposal has to be submitted in two hard copies sent under speed post and in soft copy in the form of MS Word document to the board. Detailed notifications can also be heard from the portal of National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board.

Applications that are received within the stipulated time would be initially scrutinised by the NSTEDB and taken for consideration by the expert advisory committee. Recommended proposals list that has been approved would be notified for further process.

Technological interventions and innovative solutions in clusters and industries help create Science & Technology-based entrepreneurship development as well as employment generation. These prove to be effective in the overall growth of the nation.