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MoU with ASEAN Economic Forum in Indonesia

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F.I.R.S.T, IIT Kanpur Signs MoU with ASEAN Economic Forum in Indonesia to Bolster Startup Ecosystem in Southeast Asia​





  • The MoU aims to provide ASEAN startups with better access to technology, market opportunities, and business connections


  • The signing took place at the India-ASEAN ScaleHub Programme 2024 in Bali, Indonesia

India/Indonesia, 09 July, 2024: – In a significant move to strengthen the startup landscape across ASEAN nations, the Foundation for Innovation and Research Support (F.I.R.S.T), IIT Kanpur signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Economic Forum. The signing ceremony took place at the India-ASEAN ScaleHub Programme 2024 held in Bali, Indonesia.


Professor Ankush Sharma, Professor In-charge of SIIC (F.I.R.S.T), IIT Kanpur; and Mr. Sachin Gopalan, Director of the ASEAN Economic Forum, signed the MoU during the program. This collaboration aims to enhance access to technology, market opportunities, and valuable business connections for startups in ASEAN countries.


The India-ASEAN ScaleHub Programme, funded by the Government of India through the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund, is a collaborative effort supported by the Department of Science and Technology and Ministry of External Affairs, and organized by F.I.R.S.T, IIT Kanpur. The program aims to promote India-ASEAN partnerships through science, technology, and innovation-driven activities across the ASEAN community. These endeavors aim to strengthen economic ties, encourage innovation, and promote sustainable development between ASEAN member states and India.


The event brought together a delegation of senior stakeholders from the Indian innovation ecosystem and 40 promising startups from diverse sectors like healthcare, agritech, cleantech, defence, aerospace, and AI/ML. This platform provided growth-stage startups with resources, infrastructure, and mentorship to facilitate networking, collaboration, and business expansion across ASEAN markets. Startups presented elevator pitches to distributors and channel partners, and received multiple awards during the closing ceremony. This initiative aligns with ASEAN's vision of fostering entrepreneurship and innovation while enhancing public-private partnerships for broader social and economic impact.


Reflecting on the collaboration, Prof. Ankush Sharma, Professor in Charge at SIIC, IIT Kanpur said, "This collaboration marks a significant milestone in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship across ASEAN nations. By leveraging our collective resources and expertise, we aim to provide startups with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed in a competitive global market."


E. Shri Jayant N. Khobragade, Ambassador of India to ASEAN, participated in the program and commended the organizers for a successful event. Representatives from Indonesia's National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) and the ASEAN Economic Community also actively participated.


Against the backdrop of growing collective economies in ASEAN and India, the program offered a unique platform for government officials, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders to connect and develop strategies that drive economic integration and sustainable growth. The program included panel discussions, roundtable talks, startup pitches, and one-on-one networking sessions with channel partners.


About F.I.R.S.T, IIT Kanpur:


The Foundation for Innovation & Research in Science & Technology (F.I.R.S.T), the technology business incubator of IIT Kanpur, was established to strengthen the institute's culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. F.I.R.S.T, focuses on supporting startups that develop science and engineering-based solutions to address national challenges, particularly those impacting underprivileged communities. They provide resources and guidance to help entrepreneurs transform their ideas into successful businesses.


About ASEAN ScaleHub:


Building on the success of the ASEAN-India Startup Festival 2022, the ASEAN Secretariat, National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), and ASEAN Economic Forum (AEF) organised the “ASEAN ScaleHub” program. Aimed at supporting growth-stage startups (scale-ups) in expanding across ASEAN and beyond, ASEAN ScaleHub provides resources, infrastructure, and mentorship to facilitate networking, collaboration, and business scaling. The initiative aligns with ASEAN’s goals of promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, and enhancing public-private partnerships for social and economic impact.


About IIT Kanpur:


Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur was established in 1959 and declared to be an Institute of National Importance by the Government of India through an Act of Parliament. IIT Kanpur is best known for the highest standard of its education in science and engineering and seminal R&D contributions over the years. The institute has a sprawling lush green campus spread over 1050 acres with large pool of academic and research resources spanning across 19 departments, 25 centers and 3 interdisciplinary programs in engineering, science, design, humanities, and management disciplines with more than 580 full-time faculty members and approximately 9000 students.


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