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India: Digital Initiatives for Innovation and Sustainability

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The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of NITI Aayog has launched two significant initiatives aimed at promoting innovation and sustainability in India: the ‘AIM – ICDK Water Challenge 4.0’ and the fifth edition of the ‘Innovations for You’ handbook, which highlights Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) entrepreneurs in India.

AIM, in partnership with the Innovation Centre Denmark (ICDK), has launched the fourth edition of the open innovation water challenge. Applications for the AIM – ICDK Water Challenge 4.0 open on 10 June 2024, and will close on 20 June 2024.

This initiative, part of the Indo-Danish green strategic partnership, aims to tackle water-related challenges with innovative solutions. Selected teams will join the global Next Generation Digital Action program, engaging with young talents from nine countries: India, Denmark, Ghana, Kenya, Korea, Tanzania, South Africa, Colombia, and Mexico.

Participants can expect a hybrid innovation journey that includes group work, boot camp sessions, keynotes, and personalised mentoring. The program promotes the exploration of sustainability, digital solutions, inclusion, and universal design principles, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among peers. Participants will also have the opportunity to showcase their innovations at the Digital Tech Summit in Copenhagen from October 30th to 31st, 2024, funded by the Government of Denmark.

The challenge invites entries in two tracks: one for students and another for young entrepreneurs under the age of 35. Early-stage startups, researchers, and young innovators dedicated to driving environmental change are encouraged to apply. The student journey focuses on Digital Action for Societal Impact, presented by external partners through sustainability challenges with an emphasis on digitisation. The Young Entrepreneurs track offers Indian technology start-ups in the early stages an opportunity to accelerate their ideas and form global partnerships.

Dr Chintan Vaishnav, Mission Director of AIM, NITI Aayog, expressed excitement about the launch of the AIM – ICDK Water Challenge 4.0 and the fifth edition of Innovations For You – SDG Entrepreneurs of India, highlighting their role in promoting innovation and sustainability and empowering young innovators to drive positive change in India and Denmark through collaborative efforts with partners like ICDK and the Royal Danish Embassy in India.

Soren Norrelund Kannik-Marquardsen, Minister Counsellor and Head of the Trade Council at the Royal Danish Embassy in New Delhi, underlined the significance of the Water Challenge by highlighting its alignment with the 5 S’s in the Green Strategic Partnership (GSP) between India and Denmark – Skills, Scale, Scope, Sustainability, and Speed.

He expressed his happiness in witnessing this collaborative effort, emphasising how it amalgamates the expertise of Danish and Indian entrepreneurs to address not only local but also global challenges. Kannik-Marquardsen expressed pride in the enduring success of this partnership, now in its fourth year, attributing it to the unwavering dedication of young innovators committed to tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues.

He eagerly anticipated the launch of the website, encouraging aspiring innovators to seize this opportunity to contribute towards solving significant global problems. Finally, he expressed hopes for the continued success of this initiative and the perpetuation of partnerships with all stakeholders involved.

In addition to the water challenge, AIM has released the fifth edition of ‘Innovations For You’, a coffee table book series showcasing the efforts of SDG Entrepreneurs in India. This edition features 60 entrepreneurs from diverse regions of India, each contributing to societal betterment through sustainable innovations. These startups focus on recyclable and renewable materials, green energy, inclusive education, and advocacy for underrepresented communities and local artisans. The book can be accessed at


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