09.07.2019

Anil Wali: "Great efforts are being made in the Spanish ecosystem"

Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT)

Dr Anil Wali is the Managing Director at the Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), an organisation created by the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (ITT Delhi) to liaise between the Institute and the industrial sector. For over 25 years, it has come up with innovative ideas to create associations and bonds with companies to allow for knowledge transfer. 

What is FITT’s main goal as a liaison between research and the industry?

The Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) is a global technology transfer centre created in 1992 by the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), one of the leading education institutions in the country.

FITT was designed as a platform to connect the Institute to industry, and through our core activities we try to facilitate this primary goal of reinforcing these industry links.

Technology transfer is one of the top priorities of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities in Spain. Where does the Government of India stand on this issue?

At IIT Delhi we understood the importance of technology transfer very early on. What we are seeing now in India is that the Government, through its agencies, is prioritising technology transfer from academia to industry.

We believe that many technologies, ideas and inventions being created at universities somehow fail to find their place in the real world. Therefore, we feel there is a need for policies oriented to technology transfer.

India’s science and technology students have earned the country an excellent reputation. Is this also true of the field of entrepreneurship?

There was a time when, for a large part of India’s student population, getting a secure, stable job was the main priority, but that is no longer the case. In fact, there have been so many leader role models that for the past decade interest in entrepreneurship has grown considerably.

We are trying to look at entrepreneurship as one more career alternative. This is a healthy sign since, for instance, not all students can get jobs as civil servants. Therefore, we consider it positive that entrepreneurship is seen as a viable option by the student community.

During this Programme, have you noticed many differences between the startup ecosystem in Spain and India?

Not so many, in fact. Some startup ecosystems evolve faster in some countries, but in most developed and developing countries, we have come to realise that enabling a startup ecosystem and reinforcing the existing ones is a good way to strengthen the economy.

We have seen many interesting things in Spain. In India, a relatively large country, it’s all very spread out. What I have seen in Spain is that the Administration, especially working through local councils, is becoming a major player in the startup ecosystem.

In India, on the other hand, there has been a strong political boost from the highest level to reinforce this ecosystem with the Startup India Programme.

Is there any way in which the governments and institutions of the two countries can cooperate to develop the sector further?

Of course. I have noticed that great efforts are being made in the Spanish ecosystem. We could learn a thing or two because there are many best practices to take away,

especially where these involve local and regional governments. I think that is something that our state governments could consider. It is true that some Indian states have started to develop political instruments to reinforce the entrepreneurial ecosystem, but I think that the environment, the ecosystem and the stakeholder approach of Spanish local councils is a model that could easily be replicated in India.

What part of this Programme did you find most interesting?

I have a special interest in the model developed by Barcelona Activa. I was truly impressed, and some of the speakers were outstanding. In this regard, the programme totally met our expectations.

Report: 7th Indian Leaders Programme 2019

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