Ministry of Electronics & IT

iCreate, Microsoft and MeitY Join Hands to Transform & Boost Indian Startups in AI


iMPEL-AI program to empower India’s AI Innovators to create solutions for India and for the World

“This partnership with Microsoft & iCreate takes forward the vision set forth by PM Modi ji during his meeting with Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella last year”: MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar

“It is the vision of our PM that we catalyze startups not only in big cities but also in smaller towns”: MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Posted On: 21 FEB 2024 7:03PM by PIB Delhi

International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (iCreate), Microsoft signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) facilitated by the Ministry of Electronics & IT to boost AI startups in India. This MoU is in line with the vision set forth by Prime Minster Shri Narendra Modi during his meeting with Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella last year. 

Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Electronics and Information Technology, and Jal Shakti, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar presided over signing of the MoU and he said that this partnership will support and transform AI startups not just in big cities but also in smaller towns and  villages. 

During his address the Minister said, “The MoU signing for the partnership between Microsoft and iCreate to launch the IMPEL AI program will catalyze AI startups in India. It takes forward the vision set forth by PM Modi ji during his meeting with Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella last year. This partnership is a reflection of our shared vision to build impactful collaborations in AI and emerging technologies, catalyzing startups not only in big cities but also in smaller towns. We believe that partnerships are the way to accelerate the growth of our innovation ecosystem. This partnership will not only be durable but also shape the future of what India and Microsoft aim to achieve with IndiaAI. The Indian innovation ecosystem has reached an inflection point – there has never been a more exciting time than now because growth so far is just the tip of the iceberg. The Next Wave of startups will come from emerging technologies like AI, semiconductors, and HPC, shaping the future of tech. Our government is committed to shaping, nurturing, and catalyzing the future of Safe & Trusted AI.”

Microsoft and iCreate, in the presence of Minister Chandrasekhar launched iMPEL-AI (iCreate-Microsoft programme for Emerging Leaders in Artificial Intelligence) programme. The program will screen 1100 AI innovators across India to become AI Most Valuable Players (MVPs) and focus on priority themes of Healthcare, Financial Inclusion, Sustainability, Education, Agriculture, and Smart Cities. In the second stage, the program will select and scale 100 startups across India to build with Azure OpenAI, and the top 25 will receive go-to- market support from Microsoft’s Global Network to develop advanced, globally competitive products.

Microsoft and iCreate will also provide AI skilling opportunities to 11,000 innovators, startups, and young Indians from across the country through Microsoft’s Learning Management System. On completion, participants will receive globally recognized certifications from Microsoft, providing a significant boost to their employability and career progression.

Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, National Transformation Partnerships, Microsoft said, “India is uniquely positioned to seize the extraordinary AI opportunity. To support this, we need to empower the next generation of innovators to harness AI to solve complex problems and scale positive impact. That’s why we are excited to launch the iMPEL-AI innovation program, which will nurture a dynamic AI ecosystem in India and enable AI innovators and entrepreneurs to help bridge the nation’s AI skill gap and create new possibilities across the country. We are already seeing incredible value from AI innovation in India, from supporting farmers with digital chatbots to transforming economic opportunities for underserved communities through translation tools, and Microsoft is dedicated to being India’s copilot in its AI transformation journey.”

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Avinash Punekar, CEO of iCreate, said, “AI is transforming how we are engaging with products and services globally. India has the world’s largest tech talent pool, and we believe that our leadership in AI can position India as a key stakeholder in every domain. iCreate has been a leader in pioneering new initiatives that fuel innovation and unlock the true potential of startups. Through our partnership with Microsoft, our common vision is to leverage India’s tech strength and put India on a pedestal for driving global innovations in AI. The iMPEL-AI programme is carefully designed to foster AI innovation and product development with access to both mentorship and technology infrastructure that are needed by Indian innovators to build globally successful AI ventures.”

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