Govt Plans First Startup District with In­cu­ba­tors

20 tin­ker­ing labs for schools also planned; govt to pro­vide fund­ing and in­fras­truc­ture

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Ruchika.Chi­tra­van­shi @times­group.com

New Delhi: In­dia will soon have its first startup district with in­cu­ba­tion cen­tres and about 20 tin­ker­ing labs for schools aimed at en­cour­ag­ing the cre­ation of in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions in agri­cul­ture, health and ed­u­ca­tion. Com­merce & in­dus­try min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man, who is a Ra­jya Sabha MP from Kar­nataka, is keen for the en­tire clus­ter to be de­vel­oped in Man­ga­lore. The gov­ern­ment will fund the ef­fort and en­sure that roads, elec­tric­ity and dig­i­tal net­works are pro­vided for the one of the largest up­com­ing in­cu­ba­tion fa­cil­i­ties in the coun­try.

While the cost has not been as­sessed, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the de­vel­op­ment said, “Gov­ern­ment will put all its weight be­hind it in terms of mak­ing re­sources avail­able. The idea is also to ex­pand the startup drive in cities other than Ben­galuru and Hy­der­abad.”

The in­cu­ba­tion cen­tres will pro­vide spe­cialised ser­vices for sec­tors in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture, medicine and pharma, along with in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.

The De­part­ment of In­dus­trial Pol­icy and Pro­mo­tion and the

NITI Aayog will throw open a grand chal­lenge in March to se­lect the in­sti­tu­tion that will op­er­ate the in­cu­ba­tion cen­tres and the school-level tin­ker­ing labs.

“Innovation has to be en­cour­aged right from the school level…It is a good bud­ding ground for fu­ture en­trepreneurs, hence there will be a sig­nif­i­cant thrust on schools,” a se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said.

In­cu­ba­tors pro­vide star­tups space to op­er­ate and be mento- red so that they can scale up their busi­ness.

There is a paucity of in­cu­ba­tors in the coun­try and the gov­ern­ment is try­ing to fill this gap by rop­ing in pri­vate or­gan­i­sa­tions to pro­vide men­tor­ship fa­cil­i­ties to en­trepreneurs. The gov­ern­ment wants to en­cour­age star­tups to pro­vide in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions for chal­lenges unique to In­dia, es­pe­cially in ed­u­ca­tion, health, man­u­fac­tur­ing, agri­cul­ture and in­frast- ruc­ture, and not just be skewed to­wards de­vel­op­ing apps. Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments have been asked to sug­gest ar­eas where star­tups can pitch in with ideas.

The multi-level in­cu­ba­tion cen­tres and the tin­ker­ing labs are pro­posed to have best prac­tices ex­change with In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy Madras.

“Ven­ture capital fund­ing for star­tups is dry­ing up and qual­ity needs to be built… Any such sup­port from gov­ern­ment will be great for bud­ding en­trepreneurs,” said Ra­jat Tan­don, pres­i­dent of In­dian Pri­vate Eq­uity and Ven­ture Capital As­so­ci­a­tion. The gov­ern­ment plans to cre­ate sec­tor-spe­cific in­cu­ba­tors un­der the Atal Innovation Mis­sion along with 500 tin­ker­ing labs to pro­mote en­trepreneur­ship, pro­vide pre-in­cu­ba­tion train­ing and a seed fund for high-growth star­tups as part of the Startup In­dia ac­tion plan an­nounced by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in Jan­uary 2016.

Get­ting cre­den­tials from a cer­ti­fied in­cu­ba­tion cen­tre is one of the re­quire­ments for star­tups to get tax ex­emp­tion.

Govt wants to ex­pand the startup drive be­yond Ben­galuru, Hy­der­abad

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