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Innolabs: Aditya Birla Group to give employees time off for pursuing entrepreneurial ambitions

Source | The Economic Times : By TV Mahalingam

MUMBAI: In an attempt to tap into the entrepreneurial ideas of its employees, Aditya Birla Group plans to kick off an intrapreneurship programme soon. Under the programme, called Innolabs, the company will allow its staff to take time off from work and pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions.

In August 2015, the conglomerate had flagged off Aditya Birla Bizlabs, a programme to collaborate with start-ups in the retail, financial services and telecom businesses, where the group has a dominant presence. Over 1,200 startups applied for the programme, out of which 20 were eventually chosen to “scale up” with the conglomerate.

“When we were doing all of this (Bizlabs) for startups outside, our employees joining us from IITs and IIMs started asking: what is there in it for us? So, we have started working on something for our employees called Aditya Birla Innolabs,” said Umesh Adhikary, president, corporate strategy and business development, Aditya Birla Group at a ETNasscom roundtable, last week.

“If your idea is great and we see conviction and passion in you, we are going to help you create a company of your own. At the same time, we are going to give you a six-month or one-year sabbatical where you are going to go, develop the product, create your own team… and in case you fail, you can come and join back,” added Adhikary, who also added the programme was still in a nascent stage and the fine print is still a work in progress.

Adhikary also revealed that the company is looking beyond Indian shores for partnerships in the startups space. “We visited Silicon Valley and last week, we were in Israel,” he said, adding that there was a lot of exciting health technology related work happening in Israel.

The group is also partnering with startup incubators to identify startups it can collaborate with. “We are forging partnerships with Nasscom 10,000 startups, Microsoft Ventures, Techstars, 500 startups,” said Adhikary, who says the group would prefer to work with slightly older startups which are looking at geographic expansion. “One of the value propositions we can put forth to these markets is the access we can provide.

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