<strong>Apply Now for HST Startup Grand Challenge 2023 by IIT Mandi Catalyst and Startups will get Rs. 6 lakh worth of cash prizes</strong>

Manisha Sharma
New Update

IIT Mandi's Technology Business Incubator, Catalyst, is organizing the seventh addition of its popular annual event, Himalayan Startup Trek (HST), from September 29 to October 1, 2023.


The event featured a Grand Challenge designed for startups, innovators, and emerging entrepreneurs, offering cash prizes worth Rs. 6 lakhs. Outstanding startups may also be eligible to get funding up to Rs. 50 thousand. The application deadline is August 20, 2022.

In the upcoming seventh edition of the 'HST Startup Grand Challenge', a startup pitch competition, there are three different thematic areas, namely:

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

Issues within this particular theme are identified in collaboration with IIT Mandi's iHub and HCI Foundation (as iHub) as well as the HCI Foundation of India. iHub has funded the prize money associated with this theme.

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.

●          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.

  • The Foothill Innovators Challenge - Build for the Himalayas

The challenges presented in these domains have been prepared through extensive communication with the Department of Public Industries, the HP Entrepreneurship Development Center, the Informatics Department, and the HP-Work Commission.

Problem Statements in Build for the Himalayas

  • Hill road safety, disaster prevention, and management
  • Demand and supply-side Challenges to Himalayan Agriculture
  • Rural development - education, skill training, and employment
  • Patient-oriented Hospital Management Information System, Digitization of patient health records and prescriptions, and data-based analytics for decision making.
  • Route Tracking of popular high-elevation trekking routes.
  • Location tracking of trekkers in areas with and without an internet network.
  • SoS system for trekkers to call 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 resources including factory commissioning, labor law compliance, labor hiring, and training.
  • Solutions for efficient record keeping and employment matchmaking for human resources.
  • Technology on drones for use cases in the 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.
  • The Habitable World Challenge - Environment and Sustainability

The problem statements in this area have been developed in collaboration 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 of 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 INR 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 INR 50 lakhs. These startups will also get piloting opportunities in the state.

Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director of 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.

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. 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. Let's unite and celebrate the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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

Shri Anil Joshi, Member Secretary of the HP State Pollution Control Board, expresses his support for the Himalayan Startup Trek, organized by IIT Mandi Catalyst. The Trek has grown remarkably, showcasing the spirit of innovation in our Himalayan region. Addressing environmental concerns and sustainability is a priority, and I eagerly anticipate meeting startups committed to finding solutions. Together, we can foster a vibrant startup ecosystem that drives positive change and preserves the natural beauty of our beloved Himalayas. Let's envision a greener and more sustainable future through this remarkable event. 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 startup 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, IIT Mandi iHub, and HCI Foundation. Catalyst welcomes other organizations looking forward to supporting the Himalayan Startup ecosystem.


Innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs will get Rs. 6 lakh cash prizes. Top startups will also have the opportunity to raise up to Rs.50 lakhs.

Deadline to apply:

The last date to apply is 20th August 2023.

You can directly apply here,

For more information: