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What Is Gujarat Government's Plan To Build Its Own Startup Ecosystem The policy aims to facilitate at least 2000 start-ups in the field of electronics, information technology (IT) and nanotechnology and establish at least 100 incubators in Gujarat

By Ritu Kochar

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I believe that the days when just Bengaluru was the startup hub of India are soon going to be over with the advent of 'Start up India, Stand Up India' intiative. Each state is joining in to be a part of it and promote it. Taking the initiatice by its former Chief Minister to heart, Gujarat state government has come up with a separate policy for technology driven start-ups, making it the first state to do so. The new policy, to be unveiled in the next 15 days, aims to develop a startup ecosystem in the state with private incubators and accelerators playing a great role.

With this unique policy, the Gujarat government is looking to facilitate at least 2000 start-ups in the field of electronics, information technology (IT) and nanotechnology that have availed a minimum one round of VC (Venture Capital) funding, to establish at least 100 incubators in Gujarat, develop 2 million sq.ft of "incubation space' and facilitate investment (VC funding) of USD 1 billion to start-ups in the next 5 years, said Gujarat's IT, science and technology secretary Dhanajay Dwivedi, talking about the plans.

Commenting on the need of such a policy, Dwivedi said, "Globally if you look at the incubation space, most of the large corporations also have incubators and accelerator programmes. We would want to be able to give that opportunity as we don't want to be limited in considering only universities. That's the only way you can bring in the corporations into the start-up ecosystem. We are also clubbing students of third and final year who have do their project as part of academic curriculum as potential start-up promoters, so we can give them an opportunity under the academic environment with the guidance and mentorship of the institution to work on their dream projects."

A similar policy was announced by the state government to in January 2015 for start-ups with an emphasis on manufacturing and services sector."The 2015 policy was launched by industries department and is focused on manufacturing sector. This will be a different policy with a specific focus on technology-based start-ups and it will be announced soon," Dwivedi explained. This policy was mentored more than 100 startups under the start-up assistance scheme, who had registered through incubators.

According to a report in Indian Express, among incentives for incubators in the new policy include assistance for capital, mentoring, sustenance, for procurement of software, stamp duty & registration fee reimbursement and incentives for power tariff and electricity duty. A few features that mark the new start-up policy would be lease rental subsidy, interest subsidy, patent assistance, bandwidth subsidy, assistance for marketing & product development among others. In terms of equity support, start-ups may also be able to avail additional 25% of raised capital from Gujarat Venture Finance Limited (GVFL) on the same terms within 6 months.

Under the aegis of Vibrant Gujarat 2017, the state government is also planning 2 national level technology summits including one in August that will see 4000 start ups, accelerators, incubators, VC's and mentors converge at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. A national conference on technology where IT, electronics and BT will be focus areas will be held on 30th September-1st October.

Ritu Kochar

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

Ritu used to work as a Feature writer for Entrepreneur India.
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