IIT Mandi Catalyst invites applications for HST Startup Grand Challenge 2023, link to apply here

IIT Mandi technology business incubator, Catalyst is inviting applications for its annual flagship event ‘Himalayan Startup Trek (HST). This event will take place from 29 September to 1 October 2023.

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The event of IIT Mandi features a Grand Challenge for startups, innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs that has Rs. 6 lakh cash prizes.

IIT MandiTop startups will also have the opportunity to raise up to Rs.50 lakhs. The last date to apply is 20 August 2023. In its seventh edition, ‘HST Startup Grand Challenge’ – startup pitch competition will have three thematic areas including:

1. The New Age Alliance – Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

Problem areas in this thematic area are devised in consultation with iHub and HCI foundation at IIT Mandi (iHub), and the Indian HCI foundation. iHub has sponsored the prize money for this thematic area.

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Problem Statements in Human Computer Interaction

● Assistive technologies to aid and enhance human functioning and decision making

● Use of advanced technologies to enhance the cognitive abilities of humans

● Use of computer intelligence to aid human decision-making, prediction, communication, and processing

● Brain-computer interaction based solutions for economic and social betterment

● Robotics and AI based solutions for high business and computing performance

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● Cost-effective diagnostic tools/equipment/services as an alternative to costly tests such as MRI

● Electric vehicle and hydrogen based technology solutions for mobility

● Application of deep tech and high tech solutions that cut across industries including health, agriculture, clean energy, sustainable economy, etc.

● Autonomous and remote computer interaction based systems that enhance humans’ interaction with computers

● Augmented and virtual reality based solutions for sectors including education, health, and skilling

2. The Foothill Innovators Challenge – Build for the Himalayas

The problem statements in these areas are devised in close communication with the state’s Industries Department, HP Center for Entrepreneurship Development, Department of IT, and Labor Commissioner Office-HP.

Problem Statements in Build for Himalayas

○ Hill road safety, disaster prevention, and management

○ Demand and supply-side challenges to Himalayan agriculture

○ Vocal for local – interventions to scale local products and services

○ Rural development – education, skill training, and employment

○ Patient oriented Hospital Management Information System, Digitization of patient health records and prescription, and data based analytics for decision making

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○ Route Tracking of popular high elevation trekking routes

○ Location tracking of trekkers in areas with and without internet networks

○ SoS system for trekkers to call for help in areas without internet networks

○ Integration of intra-departmental and interdepartmental data to make data-based decisions

○ Low cost technology solutions for displaying, managing, and monitoring vehicle inflow, time-keeping and payment at parking areas

○ Solutions for managing the state’s blue colored human resource including factory commissioning, labor law compliance, labor hiring and training.

The link to apply for IIT Mandi’s HST Startup Grand Challenge 2023 is here

○ Solutions for efficient record keeping and employment matchmaking for human resources

○ Technology on drones for use cases in Himalayas – essentials delivery, difficult terrain mapping and discovery, use cases in high altitude agriculture (sprays, irrigation, etc)

○ Drone based solutions for monitoring, mapping, and reporting of deforestation, and solutions for reforestation

○ Solutions to promote vernacular housing, sustainable living, and green practices at individual and organizational levels

IIT Mandi3. The Habitable World Challenge – Environment and Sustainability

The problem statements for this area have been developed in partnership with Peak ventures, Alsisar Impact, Pollution control board-HP, and National Health Mission-HP.

Problem Statements in Theme 3: Environment and Sustainability

● Technology-based solution for handling/processing/disposing single-use plastic waste

● Technology solutions for solid waste management

● Management and recycling of industrial and household waste

● Technology solutions for sustainable livelihood and economic/social practices

● Solutions based on clean technologies including electric vehicles, solar, hydrogen

● Energy efficiency monitoring and management systems

● Community based entrepreneurship solutions that use technology to create social impact

● Resource management and conservation

● Water purification solutions based on novel technologies that preserve essential nutritional/mineral values

● Climate-resilient agriculture (CRA) for a sustainable future

Each thematic area has prize money of up to Rs 2 Lakhs to be distributed between the top 3 start-ups in the given theme. Top start-ups will be provided incubation support and access to funding schemes for prototyping as well product development up to Rs 50 lakh.

These startups will also get piloting opportunities in the state.


Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director IIT Mandi, urged entrepreneurs and innovators from the Himachal region to participate in this edition of the HST Startup Grand Challenge 2023 and showcase their innovations and ideas.

IIT Mandi Catalyst

Dr. Puran Singh, Faculty Incharge and Director Incubation, IIT Mandi Catalyst said, “I am thrilled to witness the incredible growth and success of HST.

HST unites us as a community, offering unwavering support to startups tackling pressing challenges with ingenious tech-based solutions, said Dr Puran Sigh.

The boundless enthusiasm and dedication of our stakeholders for this year’s HST will solidify its position as one of the nation’s most influential startup events, said Dr Puran Singh.

Let’s unite and celebrate the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, said Dr Puran Sigh.

IIT MandiDirector of Industries

Rakesh Kumar Prajapati, Director of Industries, Himachal Pradesh, said, “I am delighted to witness the remarkable growth of Himalayan Startup Trek, which has now emerged as the biggest startup event in the Himalayas.

It truly symbolizes the thriving startup ecosystem in our state, and the Himachal Government takes immense pride in being a partner in this journey, he said.

As we eagerly look forward to the 7th edition of HST, I am excited about the prospect of attracting startups that are passionately committed to solving the pressing challenges of the Himalayan region, he said.

We would be happy to provide the necessary support for the successful materialization and deployment of these innovative solutions wherever feasible, he said.

Plethora of events

Every year, the event brings together the stakeholders of the Indian Startup ecosystem including entrepreneurs, industrialists, investors, experts, government, and budding start-ups.

This year’s event will be bigger and better than previous year’s iterations, with a plethora of events for the startup community as well as the aspiring student entrepreneurs from IIT Mandi as well as from other neighboring colleges.

The event has been planned on a large scale and is expecting a footfall of about 1000 including 800 startups founders and aspiring entrepreneurs from across the country, over 200 speakers, investors and senior government officials including bureaucrats.


Through its support programs, IIT Mandi Catalyst guides early-stage entrepreneurial initiatives by providing support in infrastructure, finances, mentoring, and industry connections, thereby making itself an attractive destination for startups across the country.

In the last five editions, IIT Mandi Catalyst received participation from over 1800 startups and over 150 mentors/speakers/investors.

Himalayan Startup Trek (HST) has proven to be a fruitful event for startups and mentors alike. HST brings a much-anticipated opportunity for startup ecosystem stakeholders to interact and network in person.

IIT Mandi is primarily supported by the Department of Science and Technology, GoI, and HP State government.

Several government ministries including the Ministry of Electronics and Startup India have also backed IIT Mandi Catalyst.

The sponsors of HST 2023 include the Department of Industries, Government of Himachal Pradesh, Fresenius Kabi Oncology Limited, Peak Venture, and IIT Mandi iHub and HCI Foundation.

Catalyst welcomes other organizations looking forward to support the Himalayan Startup ecosystem.

IIT MandiAbout IIT Mandi Catalyst

IIT Mandi Catalyst was launched in 2016 by IIT Mandi as the first Technology Business Incubator (TBI) in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

In its short journey, Catalyst has supported over 340 startups in a range of sectors including clean energy, healthcare, enterprise management, agriculture, manufacturing, biotech, education, and consumer internet.

Catalyst has hosted over 140 such programs to date. Further, the funding needs of startups in the early stages are also met through the funding schemes hosted at Catalyst.

IIT Mandi Catalyst, to date, has disbursed 10 Cr and committed over Rs 17 Cr for prototyping and commercialization purposes to the startups.

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