Commercialisation of Innovations

Micro and small enterprises are typically known to innovate in the course of their business. However, these are hardly incubated, scaled-up and popularized. Such innovators, typically, also lack the awareness about the need for getting their innovations patented. Moreover, chronic financial problems limit the possibility of product development and commercialization.

In addition, small entrepreneurs looking for innovations that they can turn into assembly line products, often find it difficult to access well-prepared technical documentation. Further, there are high search costs involved in identifying and comparing commercially viable innovations.

In India, organizations and networks such as National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Grassroots Innovations Augmentation Network (GIAN) and Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI), along with a few other institutions and individuals constitute the Honeybee Network. These organizations work closely and are involved in various activities related to the commercialization of innovations:

  • Scouting and documentation of commercially viable and socially useful innovations
  • Providing technology, design and management inputs to Innovator
  • Intellectual Property Protection by helping in filing patents, trademarks, copyrights, and or any other protection mechanism
  • Business development and arrangement of finance
  • Dissemination of information and commercialization of innovation


National Innovation Foundation – Making India Innovative

The Ahmedabad-based NIF was established by the Department of Science and Technology in 2000, with the main goal of providing institutional support in scouting, spawning, sustaining and scaling up grassroots green innovations and helping their transition to self supporting activities. NIF along with seven other institutions is part of the global Honeybee Network involved in promoting local innovations and protecting traditional knowledge. Importantly, the NIF facilitates the commercialization of innovations made by grassroot innovators. MSMEs may engage with the NIF to both incubate and scale-up their innovations or even find buyers for their creations.

Read on to learn more on the NIF’s activities and how innovators and entrepreneurs can leverage their services.



I am an Innovator


Can the NIF help me file a patent?

Yes. First, the innovation has to be accepted and registered in the national register of NIF as an unaided green grassroots innovation. Once that is done patent is filed based on the merit of the technology.  As of date NIF has filed 244 patent applications in India, 07 patent applications in US and 01 under PCT.

Click here to learn more about NIFs Intellectual Property Management and list of patents filed.
Also read about GIAN’s Patent Assistance Cell (PAC) and method for filing patents.


How do I prepare the documentation?

Registration at NIF’s national register involves complete documentation of technology, which is the basis of compiling information for patents. Other requirements will be let known by NIF to the concerned innovator on a case to case basis.

Click here to learn about how NIF scouts and documents innovative technologies.


Can NIF help me commercialize / find buyers for my technology? How do you disseminate information?

Yes, NIF mainly finds licensees/buyers for grassroots technologies by way of free exposure in NIF’s website, other sites in the internet and by way of media publicity, exhibitions, workshops etc.

Click here to read about how NIF disseminates information on innovations.


Can NIF help me incubate my innovation? Can I expect value-addition from NIF?

NIF provides technical as well as financial support to the potential innovations for various incubation activities like prototype development, testing the innovation, design optimization and development of concept proof model, etc.

Click here to find out how NIF can help you conduct further R&D and add value.

Incubation Process



Source: GIAN

NIF has a fund of Rs. 4 Crore from SIDBI as Micro Venture Innovation Fund (MVIF) to support innovations which have market potential and repayment is expected. The fund also enables NIF to support entrepreneurs and companies who are interested in investing in these innovations. It generally provides a means of finance for innovation and traditional knowledge-based micro-ventures, which are generally not given any priority by other Venture Capital Funds and Financial Institutions (FIs).

Click here to read about the Micro Venture Innovation Fund (MVIF) established in partnership with SIDBI.


Which organizations does NIF collaborate with?

For the purpose, NIF entered in agreements with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and various other institutions to add value to outstanding innovations and traditional knowledge to generate useful products and share benefits, which results from their possible commercialization. NIF also takes help of private labs and design studios for the purpose of incubation.

Click here to view a list of NIF’s collaborators.


How do I approach you and how long does it take for me start reaping monetary benefits from the innovation?

NIF receives entries of unaided technological innovations and traditional knowledge developed by an individual or group comprising farmers, artisans, fishermen and women, slum dwellers, workshop mechanics, students, local communities etc. The innovations can be in machines, implements, or processes for farm operations, household utility, transportation, energy conservation or generation, reduction in drudgery, development of plant varieties, development of herbal remedies for human/ animal health or any other low cost sustainable green technology. These should be unaided/unsupervised and an outcome of their own creativity, without any technical support from external agencies. Creative ideas for innovative technologies, which may not have been developed into prototypes, can also be sent to NIF. 

Innovators can contact NIF at the following address:

National Innovation Foundation – India
Satellite Complex, Opp. Mansi Tower
Satellite Area, Ahmedabad – 380015
Ph. 079-26732095/2456
Fax 079-26731903

 The reaping of benefit will depend on the merit of the technology and the length of the incubation cycle, which is also dependent on the type of technology.


Can I become an entrepreneur? Will you help me find a loan?

Venture assistance to innovator-entrepreneurs is given from the Micro Venture Innovation Fund (MVIF) of NIF. NIF’s efforts for setting up a high risk fund dedicated to support grassroots innovation and traditional knowledge bore fruit when MVIF was setup with the help of SIDBI in October 2003. Since its inception, a total of 168 projects have been sanctioned under MVIF, which are at different stages of incubation.



I am an Entrepreneur


Can NIF facilitate a license to commercialize an innovation?

Yes. NIF facilitates licensing of innovations to interested parties. NIF has licensed over 50 technologies to start up entrepreneurs, tiny to micro to small and medium level companies in India and received large numbers of requests from around the world for various products, either for technology transferring providing exclusive/non-exclusive marketing/ manufacturing rights or for simple purchase of innovative products.

Click here to view a list of licenses that NIF facilitated.


Give me a checklist of documents I need to furnish?

Provided that the interested entrepreneur or business entity is not involved in any illegal activities there is no fast and fixed rule for documents to be furnished at the time of initial contact. Any document that NIF deems necessary in the later part of the negotiation for license will be intimated to the concerned party.


What is the fee I need to pay? Please enumerate the terms and conditions I need to comply with?

Usually compensation to the innovator is made on a down payment basis at the time of agreement and royalty on sales which is subjected to factors like exclusivity/non-exclusivity, etc. Once licensing of technology is agreed on by concerned parties viz. licensee and innovator/s mediated by NIF a binding license agreement is drawn up signed by all parties which outlines the terms and conditions of the licensing


Can I access the product catalogue? Can I view a video demonstration of a technology innovation?

Product catalogues can be viewed here. Requests can also be made specifically to NIF for any technology catalogue or video that is not put up on the website. Some videos of grassroots technologies have also been put up on you tube.


How do I compensate the innovator? How will the funds be channeled to him?

This is facilitated by NIF. Once the agreement for licensing is made, compensation to innovator can be made directly or indirectly through NIF.  However, periodic status reports will be made available to NIF and the innovator.