A Brief Report on the Centre for Innovation and Incubation of Startups, MLCU

Martin Luther Christian University (MLCU) was created by Act No.11 of 2005 of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya and received the assent of the Governor on July 6, 2005. The Government of Meghalaya issued the gazette notification on February 22, 2006. The creation of the University is in accordance with the UGC Act, 1956 under section 2(f) and the University is empowered to grant degrees under section 22 of the Act.

MLCU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the PRIME Startup Hub, Government of Meghalaya which is under the Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBMA), on October 28, 2022, to set up the Entrepreneurship Promotion and Development Programmes (EPDP) and Incubator at MLCU, Umsawli Campus.

The Umsawli campus of MLCU is located in the New Shillong Township at Wahrisham, Mawpat near the Indian Institute of Management, Umsawli, currently houses the Science Technology and Innovation Hub, the Center for Innovation and Incubation of Startups, apart from 6 other departments. Upon Completion of the remaining works of the building, this campus will provide facilities for teaching-learning, with barrier free environment, facilities to support research, ecosystem for innovation, facilities of creation and transfer of knowledge, green campus initiatives and general campus facilities.

Through the Centre for Innovation and Incubation of Startups, the EPDP program that is aligned with the PRIME Program also envisions to make entrepreneurship a preferred career choice for the youth and people of the State through the creation of a dynamic and collaborative ecosystem that enables easy availability of credit, relevant technology, skilling and mentoring support, and access to high leverage markets. 

The Entrepreneurship Promotion and Development Programmes (EPDP) and Incubator implemented by MLCU through its Centre for innovation and Incubation of Startups and partially funded by PRIME Startup Hub, will be provided through a series of planned interventions and activities to facilitate support mechanism for aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups, and early-stage enterprises to translate their innovative ideas into business and sustain them in the long-run by fostering effective networking opportunities. Through this project, the youth is encouraged to explore alternative methods of employment and become job creators rather than mere job seekers.The planned intervention commenced with the establishment of the Centre for Innovation and Incubation of Startups, following which the centre is mainly responsible for managing the EPDP activities.   

The Centre currently houses a 3D Printing Laboratory (Phase 1: Entry Level) to support product and prototype development with the objective of providing 3D printing solution that will impact the future of startups, innovation and industry. The centre looks plans to be able to upscale the 3D printing lab to phase 2 (Advance 3D Printer + Robotic Arm) and 3 (Resin 3D Printer + CNC Machine + Laser Printing Machine) in the subsequent years.

 A Hydroponics Laboratory was also recently setup for research in Plant biology and also providing opportunities for entrepreneurship development in vertical farming and allied technology.  Besides these laboratories, CIIS also provides co-working space having common infrastructure areas and facilities such as an office space equipped with computers, internet and wi-fi facilities, a meeting room, hall, cafeteria, laboratories, classrooms and outdoor break-out space that allows students, aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to work independently on different projects related to entrepreneurship while also sharing resources, knowledge and networking opportunities.

The Science Technology Hub also located at the Umsawli Campus of MLCU, is a project funded by the Science for Equity Empowerment and Development (SEED) Division, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. There are different components of the project but the most important part is focus on the creation of livelihood. There is a fellowship programme of STI Hub which is called “Get Launched”, intends to help the youth especially those from the rural areas, in food production and entrepreneurship. Through this project 10 micro processing units is set up in Ri-Bhoi district. The Food Production Laboratory of the STI hub is a space for enthusiastic entrepreneurs or youths to test and developed novel food products. This lab has created an interest among students to take up research in food product development. This project intends to improves the consumption of nutritious food using local produce among children, while at the same time, it will provide a space for youth to experiment their ideas before launching their enterprises and improve post-harvest management of resources.

This Hub uses green technology such as solar dehydrator and the black and grey water recycling system, a system which recycles lab waste and faecal waste and is also the first of its kind to be used in Meghalaya. The Grey and Black Water Recycling System which was imported from Luxemburg is a simple, economical and use innovative technology to manage and recycle liquid waste from the institute. 

Additionally, a sound proof Media Laboratory has been set up on the basement floor of the building at MLCU, Umsawli for recording purpose and development of e-content. The Media lab room is equipped with sound isolation treatment, cavity walls, rock wool for insulation, double 10 mm sound proof glass, UPVC sound doors (double) fitted with AC system, ample natural and electrical lighting.

Coming to the Impact Week, 7 Student and 3 faculty members from the Center for Innovation and Incubation of Startups that were trained during the Impact Week 2022 conducted by German NGO Help Allianze and German Lufthansa in collaboration with PRIME startup hub, a local partner were able to apply the Design Thinking Process during development and setting up of the Center for Innovation and Incubation of Startups at MLCU Umsawli Campus. It may be noted that there are also 12 new students and 3 faculty (1 faculty from 2022 IW) currently undergoing the 2023 Impact Week training program held at PRIME Startup Hub and NEHU Shillong.

This team of 5 faculty and 19 students from MLCU, that are trained in Design Thinking during the Impact Week held in 2022 and 2023 will be the main drivers for developing and also carrying out all activities of the Incubation Centre.


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