Birla Institute of Technology – Science and Technology Entrepreneurs' Park
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Birla Institute of Technology - Science and Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park (BIT-STEP) (earlier Small Industries Research and Development organization) at Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi is the first Science and Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park approved and established by National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEBD), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The Science and Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park (STEP) programme was initiated to provide a reorientation in approach to innovation and entrepreneurship involving education, training, research, finance, management, and government
The visionary founder of Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra (BIT Mesra), the late Shri B. M. Birla, realized the grievous unemployment scenario for young engineers in the country in the late sixties. BIT is situated in a rural area 16 km from Ranchi, the centre of India’s coal and steel industries and the location of the Heavy Engineering Corporation. Realising the importance of close interplay between technological institutions and industry, BIT took the step of establishing a Department of Industrial Research in 1964.
The Department was to identify areas of research and to develop and commercialise products and processes within the competence of the staff and of direct interest to neighbouring coal, steel and other heavy industries. However, since markets were small, large industries were not interested in producing the products developed; and since the products were somewhat sophisticated they were beyond the capabilities of existing small firms. Hence, BIT decided to develop and promote a new type of small industry run by its own technically competent graduates. Since this scheme was beyond the capacity of the Industrial Research Department, BIT approached its sister organisation, the Birla Institute of Scientific Research (BISR), for assistance and received funds to set up service facilities, equipped and staffed, for the purpose of motivating and helping technical graduates to take up small industries based on BIT’s technological developments. This resulted in establishment of the Small Industries Research and Development organization (SIRDO) in 1970.
Following this, a major commercial bank agreed to finance the small units without the usual constraints regarding collateral. This venture was appreciated by the Government of Bihar, which provided financial assistance and in 1978 it was decided that the scheme should be registered as an independent society known as the Small Industry Research, Training and Development Organisation (SIRTDO). BIT extended all support to entrepreneurs concerning technical know-how, financing through bank, sheds, marketing etc. SIRTDO was recognized as an R & D Centre by the Government of India. It also received support from the British Council and the Intermediate Technology Development Group of the United Kingdom.
The Government of India also appreciated the idea of employment generation through Small Scale Industries involving Technical Institutions. The Science and Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park (STEP) programme was initiated by the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEBD), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, in 1984, to provide a reorientation in approach to innovation and entrepreneurship involving education, training, research, finance, management, and government. The pioneering work initiated and nurtured by the Institute through SIRDO and SIRTDO was the envisioned basis for the NSTEBD concept. BIT-STEP came into existence as a registered society in 1985, as the first STEP in the country. It received financial assistance from the Government of India. A major commercial bank IDBI also collaborated with BIT-STEP to help financing the scheme. During 1985-86, IDBI committed assistance of Rs. 1.43 crore to BIT-STEP.
BIT-STEP’s aims have to be considered within the overall goals of BIT - which themselves were formulated in the context of State industrial development. BIT-STEP aims:
- To forge a close linkage between university, academic and R&D institutions on the one hand and industry on the other
- To promote entrepreneurship among science and technology persons and
- To provide R & D support to small scale industries mostly through interaction with research institutions.
The strategic importance of the scheme is twofold. First, by showing that firms can achieve the quality of production of existing iarge-scale units but can also cope with small orders, offer competitive prices, and still make a profit, BIT-STEP hopes both to increase the rate of industrialisation in the Ranchi area and to support the State effort relating to the growth of small industries. Second, the distinctive training programme (which combines careful product selection, R&D, with appropriate amounts and types of support) should enable young entrepreneurs not only to gain confidence in their own abilities to make sound technoeconomic decisions, but also to see their businesses within the context of the state development effort and to act accordingly.
- BIT Mesra has collaboration with its sister organisation, the Birla Institute of Scientific Research (BISR), Jaipur for technical and research assistance.
- BIT Mesra has set up SIDBI Center for Innovation and Incubation (SCII) by an arrangement with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to provide a limited period of time to new entrepreneurs, start up companies, and technology based organizations, to facilitate Research & Development operations in areas of interest with the faculty of the institute.
A number of industries came up successfully for development and manufacture of import substitutes and other items. Fifteen industries are presently running successfully under BIT-STEP, providing employment to about three hundred (mostly local) people. Some of the Companies started up from this scheme are
- Meditron (an ISO 9001:2000 certified company) was started in 1977 by Mr. N. C. Agrawal, an Electronics & Communications Engineer graduated in 1970 from BIT Mesra. Company deals in designing & manufacturing of a comprehensive range of products & systems for Power Control, Distribution, Protection & Industrial Automation.
- Alcast (an ISO 9001:2000 certified company), manufacturer of pressure & gravity die castings & CNC based precision machined components & assemblies was established in 1978 by Mr. Shashi Kant Agrawal, alumnus of BIT Mesra.
- STech Engineers & Consultants Pvt. Ltd., manufacturer of Electrical Control Panels, Auto Power Factor Correction Panels, PLC Panels, AC DC Drives, Battery Chargers was started by Mr. Susanto Ghosh, an alumnus of BIT Mesra.
- Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra
- Birla Institute of Technology International Centre
- Waljat Colleges of Applied Sciences
- Yadav, K.P. International Encyclopedia of Educational Planning and Development. India: Sarup & Sons. p. 146. ISBN 978-81-7625-068-9.
- Arora, Kaushal Kumar (1992). Development Banking in India. India: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. pp. 126–127. ISBN 978-81-7156-321-0.
- SIDBI. "SIDBI's National Programme on Innovation and Incubation for Small Scale Industries". Archived from the original on 2008-11-10. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- The Telegraph (Kolkata) (2004-06-03). "An entrepreneur who refuses to stop: N.C. Agrawal". Ranchi: Ananda Publishers. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra
- Birla Institute of Scientific Research, Jaipur
- National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB)