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Sixth edition of BIRAC’s BIG Conclave held in Kanpur

The theme for this year’s two-day virtual conclave was ‘Resilience Redefined’

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) along with Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC), IIT Kanpur recently organised the 6th edition of its annual flagship event BIG Conclave. The theme for this year’s two-day virtual conclave was ‘Resilience Redefined’ and has brought technical experts, global business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs on a common virtual platform to unveil the innovations supported by BIRAC through its Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) programme.


The inaugural session of the event was graced by Jayant Sinha, Member of Parliament and former Union Minister, Government of India as the chief guest of the BIG Conclave 2020. Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Chairperson, BIRAC along with Dr RA Mashelkar, Former Director General CSIR (Guest of Honour) also welcomed the startups, investors, panellists and other partners of the BIRAC’s innovation ecosystem.

Sinha expressed words of encouragement to the innovation community and suggested to the entrepreneurs and other ecosystem partners that the development model that India needs to follow has to be very different than what the west, China and Japan have followed. In his words, “We have to solve the problems of Jhanda Chauk, not TimesSquare.”

In the FireSide Chat session,  Dr Ajai Chowdhry, Cofounder, HCL shared a piece of advice with entrepreneurs and said, “Doing a rigorous sensitivity analysis on your numbers is important as your next tranches are linked to your milestones. That’s a key for building a trusted partnership with your investors for the long run.”

While sharing a few nuggets of wisdom, Dr Saurabh Shrivastava also asked entrepreneurs to not run away in the fear of complex regulations or clauses but instead try to see logic and reason behind those conditions with an open mind.

The day 1 ended with a special session ‘Voice that Inspires’ by S Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, Axilor Ventures and co-founder Infosys. In his conversation with Dr Manish Diwan, Head, Strategic Partnerships and Entrepreneurship Development, BIRAC, Gopalakrishnan talked about the accelerated development in the field of healthcare and other domains due the COVID-19 pandemic. He expressed a strong need to have an environment of collaboration between academia, corporates, and startups to make such acceleration sustainable.

The day had some interesting stories of resilience by BIRAC supported startups namely Nanosafe solutions, MicroGo and Ayu Devices. The day also saw some very lively panel discussions shedding light on COVID-19 challenges and strategising the way ahead.

“We saw the participation of hundreds of innovators, students and startups from every corner of the country in the BIG Conclave today. The enthusiasm and energy of the every member is contagious and I invite every enthusiastic innovator and entrepreneur to join us for the final day,” says Dr Nikhil Agarwal, CEO, SIIC IIT Kanpur.



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