• PRAYAS Program

In the present climate of innovation in India, there is support available for both R&D of ideas and commercialization of products, especially that which is provided by Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Parks (STEPs) and Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) promoted by National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. However, the primary aim of the STEPs and TBIs is to tap innovations and technologies for venture creation by utilizing expertise and infrastructure already available with the host institution, be it an academic, technical, management institution, or a technology and research park. An early stage prototype/ proof of concept (PoC) fund is needed to be effectively able to convert these technology ideas and innovations into products, and eventually to spur entrepreneurship.The emphasis is to foster indigenously developed innovations and product in alignment with the nation's "AtmaNirbharBharat Mission".

DST-NIDHI’s PRomoting and Accelerating Young and ASpiring technology entrepreneurs (PRAYAS) is specifically to support young innovators turn their ideas into PoC. This support shall allow the innovators to try their ideas without fear of failure, hence allowing them to reach a stage where they have a ready product and are willing to approach incubators for commercialization. NIDHI-PRAYAS a pre-incubation initiative that would be implemented through a Program Management Unit (PMU) and the incubators selected for implementing the PRAYAS progam will be the PRAYAS Centres (PCs). The program will also help incubators source the potential incubatee companies.

Please click here for the scheme document.

  • To enable translation of an innovative idea to a prototype.
  • To provide a platform for faster experimentation and modify approaches in the idea to market journey.
  • To indigenously generate innovative solutions relevant to the local and global problems.
  • To attract a large number of youth who demonstrates problem solving zeal and abilities
  • To work on their new technology/knowledge/innovation based startups.
  • To enhance the pipeline in terms of quality and quantity of innovative startups to the incubators.
  • To build a vibrant innovation ecosystem, by establishing a network between innovators, academia, mentors and incubators.  

The PMU of NIDHI-PRAYAS is the central agency in charge of the program and is responsible for the smooth and timely implementation of the program. Society for Innovations and Entrepreneurship (SINE), IIT Bombay has been chosen by the DST as PMU. The PMU will perform the following roles:

  • Managing call for applications from PCs
  • Screening of applications of PCs and placing them before the DST appointed PRAYAS Management Committee (PMC) for selection.
  • Organizing PMC Meetings as per DST’s direction
  • Receiving PRAYAS funds from DST and transfer them to all PCs
  • Monitoring the utilization of funds by PCs
  • Maintaining the online portal for NIDHI-PRAYAS
  • Monitoring of innovators via PCs, progress, utilization of funds awarded to them
  • Documentation of success and failures of PCs and innovators
  • Reporting all above data to PMC on periodical basis
  • Grievance redressal

The PMU chosen by DST for NIDHI-PRAYAS is Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) IIT Bombay. For information about SINE, please log onto www.sineiitb.org


Every year 10 Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Parks or Incubators will selected by DST appointed committee to host PRAYAS Centre (PCs). Each PC shall be supported for 5 years. PCs will support innovative ideas to convert them into prototypes by providing a prototype grant, physical space, Lab infrastructure, technical guidance and business mentorship. The PCs will create a dedicated fab-lab and working space of about 3000 sqft for the innovators. A typical Fab lab will comprise of equipment, tools and machines to facilitate mechanical and digital fabrication. The Prototyping facilities to be supported under NIDHI-PRAYAS will be called as “DST PRAYAS SHALA” which would enable innovators to go through a cycle of imagination, design, prototyping, reflection, and iteration as a part of the process to find solutions to challenges or bring their ideas to reality. The PC would setup a transparent screening mechanism for selecting the innovators based on the potential of the ideas and innovations.

Please click here for application process

A typical PRAYAS SHALA will have a Fab Lab with electronics, metal work, mechanical equipment or BioLab for enabling prototyping activities. The proper capacity utilization of equipment in the PRAYAS SHALA should be ensured by each PC.

Each selected PC shall receive grant upto,
  • INR 1 cr Capital Expenditure for PRAYAS SHALA if facility is not present in the Incubator.
  • INR 1 cr each year for grants to innovators (INR 10 lakh each for 10 innovators)
  • INR 20 lakh each year for annual operations, management of Fab Lab including to hire dedicated team, technical experts etc. furnishing costs, I.P databases, consumables, utilities and administrative costs for management of PRAYAS program.

The innovators can apply to one of the PCs for seeking PRAYAS grant support under the programme.

  • Objective: Grant support to convert a science and technology based idea into a prototype of a physical product.
  • Sector focus: Broad Spectrum of Science and Technology areas
  • Benefits: Grant upto INR 10 lakhs. Access to lab infrastructure, working space, mentorship as per PC policy.
  • Duration:18 months
  • Eligibility: Please Click here for more details.
  • Call for Application: Periodical by various PCs (List of Centres)

The selected innovators will be called "PRAYASEEs", and would get access to the infrastructure, prototype grant and mentorship. Please click here for more information.


  • PRAYAS Management Committee

Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India was established in May 1971, with the objective of promoting new areas of Science & Technology (S&T) and to play the role of a nodal department for organising, coordinating and promoting S&T activities in the country. The Department has major responsibilities for formulation of policies related to S&T and specific projects and programmes related to S&T.

The National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), established in 1982 by the Government of India under the aegis of DST, is an institutional mechanism to help promote knowledge driven and technology intensive enterprises. The Board, having representations from socio-economic and scientific Ministries/Departments, aims to convert "job-seekers" into "job-generators" through Science & Technology (S&T) interventions. The main objectives of the DST are:

  • To promote and develop high-end entrepreneurship for S&T manpower as well as self-employment by utilising S&T infrastructure and by using S&T methods.
  • To facilitate and conduct various informational services relating to promotion of entrepreneurship.
  • To network agencies of the support system, academic institutions and Research & Development (R&D) organisations to foster entrepreneurship and self-employing using S&T with special focus on backward areas as well.
  • To act as a policy advisory body with regard to entrepreneurship.
For more information on DST: https://dst.gov.in/
For more information on NSTEDB: http://www.nstedb.com/


National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) is an umbrella program conceived and developed by the DST-NSTEDB, for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups. The program would work in line with the national priorities and goals and its focus would be to build an innovation driven entrepreneurial ecosystem with an objective of socioeconomic development through wealth and job creation.

NIDHI aims to nurture start-ups through scouting, supporting and scaling of innovations. The key stakeholders of NIDHI includes various departments and ministries of the central government, state governments, academic and R & D institutions, incubators, mentors, financial institutions, angel investors, venture capitalists and private sectors. NIDHI is developed keeping in line the new national aspirations and on the basis of DST’s experience of three decades, in promoting innovative start-ups.

The key components of NIDHI are:
  1. NIDHI-GCC - Grand Challenges and Competitions for scouting innovations
  2. NIDHI-PRomotion and Acceleration of Young and Aspiring technology entrepreneurs (NIDHI-PRAYAS) - Support from Idea to Prototype
  3. NIDHI - Entrepreneur in Residence (NIDHI-EIR) - Support system to reduce risk
  4. NIDHI-Technology Business Incubator (TBI) - Converting Innovations to start-ups
  5. NIDHI-Accelerator - Fast tracking a start-up through focused intervention
  6. NIDHI-Seed Support System (NIDHI-SSS)- Providing early stage investment
  7. NIDHI Centres of Excellence (NIDHI-CoE) - A World class facility to help startups go global

Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), is a not-for-profit organisation at IIT Bombay for fostering entrepreneurship and nurturing S&T based start-ups. It administers a business incubator which facilitates the conversion of research activity into entrepreneurial ventures by providing 'Start to scale' support to innovators and startups. Set up in 2004, it is one of the earliest incubators in academia with a potential to create startups focusing on economic growth, strategic value and social relevance. It offers pre-incubation programs, incubation support to tech startups and also runs accelerator programs in corporate partnership.

SINE has been selected as "Centre of Excellence" by the DST with funding support to scale up its activities. It has also been approved Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) support under the aegis of Department of Bio-Technology (DBT) to set up a Bio incubator 'BioNEST' to support the bio-med-tech startups. SINE is also supported by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).


PRAYAS Management Committee is a DST appointed empowered committee consisting of members from varied technologies and science background. The role of the committee is to evaluate and recommend the funding support to PRAYAS centres. The committee is also responsible for monitoring and providing guidelines for implementation and improvement of the PRAYAS program.

Contact Us


Program Management Unit (PMU)
Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE)
IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai - 400 076, India.