iDEX DIO Scheme


An ecosystem to foster innovation & technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging innovators & entrepreneurs to deliver technologically advanced solutions for modernizing Indian Military.

iDEX will engage Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D development which has good potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.

Defence India Startup Challenges (DISC)

Taking the iDEX initiative further, Defence India Startup Challenge has been launched by Ministry in partnership with Atal Incubation Mission, aimed at supporting Startups / MSMEs / Innovators to create prototypes and/or commercialize products/solutions in the area of National Defence and Security.


  • Facilitate rapid development of new, indigenized, and innovative technologies for the Indian defence and aerospace sector, to meet needs for these sectors in shorter timelines
  • Create a culture of engagement with innovative startups, to encourage co-creation for defence and aerospace sectors
  • Empower a culture of technology co-creation and co-innovation within the defence and aerospace sectors.


The SPARK grants - offered to startups selected through the DISC initiatives launched under the iDEX banner, are aimed at catalysing open innovation enabling Indian innovators and entrepreneurs to deliver technologically advanced solutions to the Indian military. The primary goal, therefore, is delivering defence-grade products to address the needs of the military identified through the challenges. In order to achieve this, the following open innovation steps are taken up by the iDEX Program Management Unit:

  • Organising various challenges/hackathons to shortlist potential technologies for defense and aerospace applications.
  • Outreach and sourcing of innovations
  • Evaluate technologies and products in terms of their utility and impact on the Indian defense and aerospace setup.
  • Enable and fund pilots, using innovation funds dedicated to the purpose.
  • Interface with the military (Army/Navy/Airforce) top brass about key innovative technologies & encourage their adoption with suitable assistance.
  • Facilitate scale-up indigenization and integration in manufacturing facilities for successful piloted technologies.

Who can apply

  • Start-ups, as defined and recognized by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India
  • MSME - Any Indian company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956/2013, primarily a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) as defined in the MSME Act, 2006.
  • Individual innovators are also encouraged to apply (research & academic institutions can use this category to apply)


The applications will be screened by a duly constituted high-powered committee of defence and technology experts for the purpose of screening and selection of applications for the iDEX Challenge.


The selected applications will be funded up to ₹1.5 crores in the form of equity/other relevant structures. The funds will be disbursed in tranches based on the milestones decided by a high-powered selection committee.

Apart from the fund, selected applicants may also be given entry to accelerator programs run by iDEX partners, where they will be supported in technology and business development through mentorship under innovation and entrepreneurship experts. The selected applicants may also be supported in terms of access to defence testing facilities and experts for their product/technology development.

Use of Grant

The Grant may be used for –

  • Research & Development
  • Prototyping
  • Pilot Implementation
  • Market Assessment
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