The high powered committee constituted to set up of an SME Centre at NIPER, Mohali has mooted the idea of developing the proposed SME Centre as an Autonomous Business Centre (ABC) in five years.

The committee, which met under the chairmanship of Dr S S Sivaram, director, NCL Pune, emphasized the need of establishing the SME Centre as an Autonomous Business Unit with the goal of making it self-sustaining within five years. Thereafter it could become an ABC. "It is necessary to build a new culture based on corporate models where incentives are linked with performance for the personnel responsible in running such an establishment. Major reason for this change is the mandate for which the present faculty is hired was mainly education and research which is different from providing services to Industry," the committee noted.

Suggesting a revenue model to make the centre self-sustaining, the committee noted that an in-charge should be hired who shall take overall responsibility of running the centre. The centre should have separate accounting system so as to give freedom to the in-charge to make purchases so as to provide timely service to the industry. A supervisory committee should be created in order to have checks and controls in financial matters.

In order to motivate staff to provide services, a model of profit sharing system needs to be created. This can be done by way of making two-component salary system. One should be fixed component, and the second should be a part from the earnings generated by the centre. The in-charge may take outside services to complete the projects on schedule. Consultancy services may be taken from other NIPER faculty or outside institutes for cost management of running the projects. A five-year plan detailing the budget required and revenue to be generated should be prepared. No services to be provided free of cost, the committee suggested.

Another option discussed in the meeting was an annual subscription from the industry so as to generate funds for running the centre or service fees may be fixed after consultation with industry. The activities of the centre should be in broad service area and not confined to specific topics such as green chemistry, nanotechnology etc. These specific topics may become research driven in the long term and may defeat the idea of providing service to industry, the committee noted.

The SME Centre is being set up at the NIPER to provide assistance to the small and medium pharma entrepreneurs to help up their units. Apart from providing comprehensive education and training on setting of a GMP-compliant unit, the SME Centre will give assistance to small and medium pharma entrepreneurs in preparing stability study, drug master files, solving issues related to formulations, manpower training and training on manufacturing. A GMP- compliant pilot sample formulation plant is also scheduled to be established at the SME Centre at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore.