Lockheed backs Indian entrepreneurs

Sept. 9, 2010 at 7:52 AM
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NEW DELHI, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin said it will continue to support for at least another 2 years the Indian government's Innovation Growth Program that helps advance technological breakthroughs to market.

The aerospace manufacturer has worked with the Indian government's Ministry of Science and Technology since IGP was launched in 2007.

The program boosts the marketing abilities of entrepreneurs. Many have good, proven ideas and products but possess little experience and financial backing to move their inventions out of the laboratories and into the market, either as stand-alone products or as an original equipment manufacturer.

IGP focuses on training the entrepreneurs using world-class commercialization strategies, a statement by Lockheed Martin said.

Participants come not just from aerospace, information technology and defense sectors but also biotechnology, transportation, environmental, petrochemical and others.

"Today's increasingly complex, global challenges require innovative and affordable solutions," said Ray O. Johnson, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Lockheed Martin Corp.

"Innovation is a key driver to solving these global challenges and this program will nurture the new ideas that will become these solutions. We are proud to offer continued support for these talented Indian entrepreneurs, and we are grateful for what we learn from them. They teach us that innovation depends on good ideas as much as on resources."

Lockheed Martin's other partners in the IGP are the Indian government's Department of Science and Technology, the IC2 Institute of the University of Texas at Austin, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum.

Around 240 innovators have received training on commercialization strategies. Another 120 have attended programs on venture formation, finance and marketing.

Participants also receive training on how to analyze the market potential of their products.

"The India Innovation Growth Program is an attempt to identify and fill in the existing gap between technological innovations and their appropriate commercialization," V.K. Topa, adviser to the secretary-general of FICCI.

"There is a strong need to create higher synergies between the world of science and the world of business to ensure that the intellectual capital available with our scientific fraternity gets appropriately translated into commercial products and services for the benefit at large."

Last May, Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan said the government wants the country's private sector to play a more active role and make available more money to support scientific research and development.

"We spend about 1 percent of our (gross domestic product) on scientific research and development," said Chavan. "Of this, three-fourths comes from the public sector. We want private sector's active participation in this. We are running many programs under the public-private-participation model, holding hands of the private sector but we want them to invest aggressively."

Chavan also said it would be difficult for the government to double the spending on the R&D to 2 percent of the GDP by next year. But India has extended higher tax incentives to corporations that spend on in-house R&D and also to private scientists.

A study of global engineering research and development published in July noted that the United States, which accounts for around 40 percent of ER&D spending -- the most in the world -- continues to be a leader in terms of establishing global engineering networks.

But the United States faces a shortage of low-priced talent and India has established itself as the premier location for offshore ER&D services, the study, Global ER&D: Accelerating Innovation with Indian Engineering, said.

India's supply base supports innovations in areas including automotive hybrid technology, avionics and structures, telecoms -- especially next-generation routers and low-cost medical devices.

The study, by management consulting firm Booz & Company with India's National Association of Software and Services Companies, said that India's ER&D providers have the potential to capture a 40 percent share of global offshore revenues in 11 key verticals by 2020.

"India is the only country in the world to offer a large third-party engineering vendor base," Sunil Sachan, principal at Booz & Company, said.

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