13 November 2018

Launch of the Nordic Hub India – U.C. Berkeley Smart Village Program in Mumbai

With the aim of empowering Indian villages by bringing digital solutions and technology to rural areas, Nordic Hub India is collaborating with U.C. Berkeley and certain Indian state governments to find solutions to problems faced by Indian villages. Following the triple helix model of innovation to foster economic and social development, the Smart Village Program will be a three way collaboration between academia (U.C. Berkeley), industry (Nordic Hub India) and governments.

Written by: Shalaka Mainkar

In the past, U.C. Berkeley has worked with the Government of Andhra Pradesh and are currently working with the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. U.C. Berkeley will work on identifying pain points, Nordic Hub India will utilise the skills of Nordic startups and scaleups in finding solutions to these pain points, and the governments will work on ways to implement these solutions.

Arun Sharma from U.C. Berkeley gave a presentation on ideas behind this collaboration at the Nordic Startup Evening on 1st November, 2018 in Mumbai.


Nordic Hub India’s Smart Village Program

Smart villages are communities empowered by digital technologies and open innovation platforms. The program has the following elements:

1) Search for existing solutions in the Nordics

The programme will identify, screen and select existing Nordic solutions that can be applied in the context of Indian villages.The objective of this programme is to highlight, promote and facilitate Nordic creativity and innovation towards the development of smart villages in India. The solutions will be introduced in Indian villages, with U.C. Berkeley pivoting and analyzing the efficacy of the solutions.

2) Open innovation business plan competition

Under this competition, business plans addressing unsolved pain points of villages can be submitted from the Nordic region. The startup ecosystems, academia and Industry in the Nordics will be involved, with a emphasis being laid on marketing the competition to digital technology geared companies.

Teams/individuals will submit their business plans online, and a committee will select business plans from each Nordic country. One day hackathons will be organised in all Nordic capitals, which will be attended by mentors from relevant industries, governments, academia, organisations and investors. A total of five winners, one from each Nordic country will finally be selected.

The winners get a package of consulting, mentoring, design/development, for prototyping and pivoting of the solution in India. The winners also get to participate in a study trip/work stay in India as well as shares in a joint venture company set up in India.

-Our task is to identify Nordic innovations that match with pain points in rural India, identified by our partner U.C. Berkeley.

-We can possibly make a huge difference in Indian villages. India has more than 500,000 of them, so there is quite a scale-up potential for the right startups said Trond Skundberg, co-founder in Nordic Hub India.

The Nordic Startup Evening was part of the four day Nordic Meetup that took place in Mumbai from 30th October to 2nd November. With a whole host of co-working and B2B meetings on the agenda, making it an unparalleled networking opportunity for members of the Nordic and Indian startup ecosystem.