NDBI Celebrates 20 Years of Fostering Design-Driven Innovation in India


Ahmedabad, April 6: The National Design Business Incubator (NDBI), India’s pioneering design incubator hosted at the National Institute of Design (NID), celebrates its 20th anniversary today. The event commemorating NDBI’s remarkable journey in empowering designpreneurs and fostering a vibrant design-led startup ecosystem in India.

A Legacy of Empowering Design Businesses

Established in the early 2000s, NDBI was born from a vision to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit within young design minds. With unwavering support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), NDBI has carved a niche for itself. It focuses on design, design consultancy, and design promotion, with a core mission: to create successful “designpreneurs” and equip industries with the power of design.

NDBI’s Achievements: A Story of Impact

Over the past two decades, NDBI has served as a launchpad for countless design-led ventures. Here’s a glimpse of its achievements:

  • Supporting Startups: NDBI has provided essential resources and fostered collaborations between startups and NID’s students/graduates, fulfilling their design needs.
  • Promoting Government Initiatives: Acting as a nodal institute, NDBI has championed the Government of Gujarat’s startup policies.
  • Empowering Student Projects: Through initiatives like the Student Startup Innovation Policy (SSIP), NDBI has empowered student projects, nurturing future design-oriented entrepreneurs.
  • Spreading Design Expertise: The launch of “Startup Design Support Services” and the annual “Designpreneurship Symposium” has underscored the importance of design in the startup landscape.
  • Financial Assistance: The implementation of the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) has provided crucial financial aid to startups at critical stages.
  • Expansion Plans: Recognizing the growing need for design support, NDBI has initiated plans to expand and empower startups across other cities.

The Flourishing Indian Startup Ecosystem and Design’s Role

India’s startup ecosystem is experiencing phenomenal growth. As per Invest India, over 1,12,718 DPIIT-recognized startups thrive across the country, propelling India to the position of the 3rd largest startup ecosystem globally. Funding for these ventures has also witnessed a significant rise, with a 15X increase between 2015 and 2022 (Invest India). This robust investment environment has fostered the creation of unicorns – privately held companies valued at over $1 billion. As of October 3rd, 2023, India boasts a remarkable 111 unicorns with a total valuation of $349.67 Bn.

In this dynamic scenario, design has emerged as a powerful differentiator.  “In today’s competitive startup landscape, design thinking is the secret weapon,” remarked Praveen Nahar, Director of NID and Chairman of NDBI. “

NDBI Fostering Design Innovation: Equipping the Next Generation, Launch of Design Thinking Manual

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, NDBI also unveiling the National Design Business Incubator’s Design Thinking Manual, developed for the Student Startup Innovation Policy (SSIP). This SSIP-developed manual, made possible with the support of the Government of Gujarat, SSIP Scheme, and IHUB, equips student startups with crucial design thinking methodologies. By fostering a user-centric approach, it revolutionizes product development and empowers students to cultivate groundbreaking innovations and a creative organizational culture within their startups.

The Road Ahead: A Collaborative Future for Designpreneurship

Looking forward, NDBI envisions a future where designpreneurship thrives through:

  • Collaboration with Complementary Ecosystems: Partnering with various incubators to offer comprehensive support, encompassing design expertise alongside other crucial resources.
  • Expanded Design Services: Catering to a wider range of startups with a growing appreciation for design.
  • Building Design Capability: Equipping existing incubators with design expertise through workshops and knowledge-sharing initiatives.
  • Fostering Design-Technology Collaborations: Supporting cohorts like Design + Bio-Medical incubations, fostering innovation at the intersection of design and technology.

A Call to Action for Budding Designers

As NDBI celebrates this milestone, it extends a warm invitation to aspiring design entrepreneurs.  “The future of designpreneurship is bright,” remarked Praveen Nahar, Director of NID and Chairman of NDBI. “He continued, ‘We encourage young designers to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit. Take the first step on your design-driven journey by registering for the Student Startup Innovation Policy (SSIP) and explore the possibilities of incubation at NDBI. Remember, even the most groundbreaking ideas begin with a spark. NDBI is here to help you nurture that spark and turn it into a thriving design business.'”

NDBI’s 20 Year celebration event

The anniversary celebration promises to be a captivating experience, featuring:

  • Inspiring Talks: Hear from industry leaders and NDBI alumni who have successfully leveraged design thinking to build thriving businesses.
  • Showcasing Success Stories: Explore the impact of NDBI’s initiatives through presentations and interactive exhibits highlighting the achievements of supported startups.
  • A Glimpse into the Future: Gain insights into NDBI’s vision for the future of designpreneurship in India, with a focus on collaboration and fostering the next generation of design-driven entrepreneurs.
  • Design Tinking Manual Launch: Design Thinking Manual, developed for the Student Startup Innovation Policy (SSIP) will be launched.