Among a slew of promises made to boost the IT sector and usage of technology in general, is one that will bring cheer to the hundreds of start-ups that Bangalore plays host to.
The government, in the Budget, has proposed to set up incubation centres for the Information and Communication Technology sector in collaboration with engineering colleges to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in select district headquarters.
Government sources confirmed that these centres are actually modelled after entrepreneurship cells that exist in the elite Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Managements. These cells allow young start-ups to set up on the campus, and offer mentorship and training. The idea is to create an enabling environment of first-generation entrepreneurs.
The other proposal that supplements this one is the allocation of Rs. 15 crore to encourage new projects through angel funds and investors. Though no details have been given on what sector the emphasis will be on, given that a majority of entrepreneurship in Karnataka revolves around the ICT sector, this could help strengthen the incubation plan.
The government appears to be moving away from simply looking at lobbying with, and inviting large ICT investments — this change is reflected in the announcement that the State proposes to request the Union government to “restart the Software Technology Park of India Scheme to promote competitiveness and capacity of small IT companies to face global competition.” Only Kerala has a similar outlook, and hosts India’s first telecom business incubator, ‘Startup Village’, focussed on start-ups emerging from campuses.
Industry leaders, entrepreneurs and investors alike have welcomed the move. Says Sanjay Naik, founder of Tejas Networks, “The idea is good, particularly because Bangalore is the start-up capital. Despite hosting many entrepreneurs, the fact is we need a lot more start-ups as they are the funnel through which a lot of jobs are created.” Bangalore, he said, could create a model for start-ups that the rest of the country can emulate.
Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education, who is part of the Karnataka ICT group that had proposed that the government help facilitate angel funding, welcomed the move. “It is an excellent idea and can help promote Bangalore, and Karnataka, as the start-ups hub of the country.”
Balaji Kutty, co-founder of Mobisir Technologies, says it is good that engineering colleges in districts will be the headquarters. He suggests, that polytechnics should also be roped in because a lot of raw talent lies untapped there. “The IITs and the IIMs have done it, and it has helped a lot of companies translate their ideas into businesses. For a start-up, such ventures can be very helpful.”