After a tough competition, 20 Indian start-ups were selected from a pool of 115 applicants to form the first cohort of the Nexus Incubator Program at the American Center in New Delhi. The first phase for the Nexus program will run for three months this summer.
The Nexus Incubator Program – a collaboration between the American Center of the US Embassy in New Delhi and the IC2 Institute of the University of Texas at Austin – offers Indian start-ups access to a network of industry and government partners as well as training with experts around world. The Incubator Program includes two phases: during the present pre-incubation phase, selected start-ups are participating in hands-on training programs and mentoring with US and Indian experts. In the second phase, Nexus will select three or four companies and provide advanced training for an additional eight months. This phase will also include funding and market access for future operations of the start-ups.
By working with the IC2 Institute, Nexus provides opportunities to partner with entrepreneurial teams in Austin, TX. In early March, students from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin visited the Center and shared their ideas and experiences with young Indian innovators.
The American Center has supported young female Indian entrepreneurs as part of the the WE Can program which launched in February with Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and the Indian company Dhriiti. The IC2 Institute is also currently running another incubator program in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the XLr8 Andhra Pradesh Technology Accelerator, in cooperation with the Andhra Pradesh Innovation society and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
India’s economic relationship with Texas is growing. In terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), India was the 3rd largest partner to Texas: in 2016, India carried out 60 FDI projects in the state, valuing $3.1 billion. During the 2014/2015 academic year, Indian students represented 23.7% of all international students in Texas, and the Indian students’ economic impact was about $451.1 million. Recently, Texan companies have closely cooperated with India in the solar energy field. The Nexus Incubator program is expected to not only make the dreams of young Indian innovators possible but also deepen ties between Texas and India.
Yeo-Ri Kim is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a Master's candidate in Global Policy Studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas.