Today, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups are viewed as major engines of job creation and inclusive growth, both in developed and developing countries. In 2010-11, MSMEs represented 45% of manufactured output and 40% of exports*. India is also estimated to have 5,000 regional MSME clusters** compromising of industrial, handicraft and handloom clusters such as gems cluster in Surat, brassware cluster in Moradabad and textile cluster at Tirupur,. Innovation can play a pivotal role in driving growth in MSME clusters by creating new products, services and business models.
However, innovation in MSME clusters in India suffers from lack of access to technology, R&D, financing, skills, mentors and effective collaborative ecosystems, which in turn impacts their growth and productivity. In this context, the National Innovation Council (NInC) aims to create models for transforming regional MSME clusters into innovation ecosystems with collaborative partnerships among stakeholders.
* MSME Annual Report 2010-11, Ministry of MSME, Government of India
Cluster Innovation Centre
To kick-start an innovation ecosystem at the MSME cluster, NInC proposes the creation of a Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC). This centre is envisaged as a small group of people who will manage the innovation ecosystem as an arm of the cluster association or as a virtual group. The CIC will actively seek relationships to address the needs of the cluster and establish frameworks for knowledge and best practice sharing. The CIC will play the role of:
- Connector: A networking and sharing hub for members of the cluster and partners
- Innovator: Catalyze and manage innovation initiatives within the cluster
- Channel: Facilitate inbound and outbound activities
The actions of the CIC could lead to technology transfers, business incubation, R&D, product design, venture financing and training. Such activities of the CIC should encompass a self-sustaining business model to ensure longevity of the CIC.
The Pilot Phase is underway and a press conference was held on Mar 26th to showcase the activities being undertaken. For more information on clusters visit Indian Innovation Portal.