BioNest is a term coined by GOI, Department of Bio Technology for a business incubator recognised by the Department. It refers to a business incubator which is equipped and focused on incubating BioTech startups including, Drug discovery, Bioinformatics, Bio-agriculture and
Starting a BioNest is a project which has many dimensions. On one hand students in the catchment area have to motivated, the day to day operations of the BioNest have to be managed, and startup incubates have to be nurtured to grow and become mature companies.
The Department of Science and Technology has mandated that a BioNest is run and managed by a dedicated Chief Executive who is qualified and also has experienced in founding and running a startup.
The first and foremost aspect is the host institution which is sponsoring the BioNest. Note, the Department of BT, recognises and supports a BioNest which is registered as a Society or as Non Profit Company. To successfully operate a BioNest the host institution has to have a clear policy. The policy should address the following:
Incubate means for those of you who do not know, tenant firms who take up rental space in the BioNest. It is important to mention here that DST does not support profit oriented BioNest.
The host institution has to decide on the rental policy, the thrust areas and the companies it wants to associate with. A rental policy which is favourable to the tenant firms will attract prospective startups.
Thrust areas are also important as this will decide on which startups to select and permit them to become incubates.
Thrust areas also determine the categories and types of companies which the BioNest selects for partnerships. Tie ups can help in identifying areas of startups which the company is interested in and enable a startup to have a joint venture.
Promoting the BioNest is a challenging task. The success and popularity is dependent on the strategy adopted to promote the BioNest. The primary catchment area is the host institution. The secondary catchment area are the colleges in the city. Free lectures on startup India, hackathons, convergence of technologies, why corporate companies are investing in startups, IPR and its relevance to individuals success are a good way to attract super successful startups.
World over, there are broadly two types of mentoring. One is the business mentoring and next one is scientific mentoring. None of the TBI’s or BioNests in India mention in their profiles details of their mentors. Business mentoring refers to registration assistance, product pricing, product launch, product pricing and market penetration and building value in the startup. BioTech startups need funds to research, product development and launching of products. So, it is important that things are done so that the startup attracts funds. This is where a mentor comes in.
Scientific mentoring refers to the inputs given to accelerate the technical progress of the startup. For instance, a timely input could hasten the process of product discovery.
So, running a top class BioNest rests on these three main pillars.