Mission O2 Bharat has been launched by IIT Kanpur’s Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre
The Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC) of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has launched Mission O2 Bharat, a 45-day open manufacturing challenge to increase the production of bedside oxygen concentrators and oxygen plants.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit India last year, SIIC supported its incubated companies to develop indigenous products such as the Swasa N-95 mask and invasive ICU ventilator Noccarc V310.
The manufacturing challenge task force will be led by Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, Professor in-charge, Innovation & Incubation, IIT Kanpur, Srikant Sastri, President, TiE Delhi-NCR and Rahul Patel, Head of Strategic Initiatives, SIIC, IIT Kanpur.
Bandhyopadhyay and Sastri were the co-leads for the task force that developed the acclaimed Noccarc V310 in 2020.
A team of 10 members from SIIC is working on different parts of the project under the trio’s guidance.
Online applications are invited at https://www.bharato2.in/, and any eligible Indian SME manufacturer can apply to participate.
IIT Kanpur director Prof Abhay Karandikar said, “IIT Kanpur carries a legacy of serving the nation in times of urgent need. When the first wave of COVID-19 hit India, SIIC incubated companies stepped up and delivered. As the second wave hits India, IIT Kanpur and SIIC have decided to support more indigenous innovators, this time to address the oxygen crisis in the country. I urge all eligible entrepreneurs to participate in Mission Bharat O2.”
Prof. Bandyopadhyay, speaking on the urgency of the situation, said, “SIIC and IIT Kanpur have a history of bracing themselves and delivering quality in times of country's needs. We did it with the Noccarc ventilator; we will do it again with Mission Bharat O2. We urge the young innovators to show support in large numbers in India's time of need.”
The initiative aims to bridge the availability gap between oxygen concentrators and oxygen plants and hospitals.
All interested MSME manufacturers have been invited to apply to serve the nation in times of dire need and contribute towards building quality healthcare equipment.
Commenting on a business's ability to adapt and evolve in such times, Sastri said, “Entrepreneurs usually get carried away by a big idea without acknowledging whether the problem it solves is as big. With Mission Bharat O2, SIIC IIT Kanpur has taken a step toward solving a major crisis the country is grappling with today. We believe that the team will make a mark through its combined entrepreneurial experience and vision to serve the nation.”
The challenge comes at a time of emergency and will not be limited to a single manufacturer for delivering the product. The oxygen concentrator is an invasive medical device with limited scope for product innovation, and hence SIIC plans to decentralise the manufacturing process by engaging quality SMEs across states. An ideal case scenario would be to work with a set of manufacturers in different regions of India with the target production capacity of 100 units per day.
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