Has Maharashtra Government Been Doing Enough to Foster Startups in the State?

The initiatives taken by the state government to push the startup culture in Mumbai Until a few years ago, entrepreneurship and starting up were considered a taboo

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By Aastha Singal

Startup India

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The students fresh out of college rather preferred to take up low-paying jobs at high-named corporates instead of investing their time and energy to shape their groundbreaking ideas into reality. The penetration of technology and acceptance of startup culture has empowered skilled individuals to start up.

Mumbai, today, houses the third largest population of startups in India. Often regarded as the financial capital of the country, the region has made monumental progress in the lending, payments, investments, insurance and personal finance management space, contributing immensely to India becoming world's second largest FinTech hub.

Being the home to corporate giants like Tata Group, Reliance Industries, Aditya Birla Group and Godrej Group, leading financial institutions and regulatory bodies like the Reserve Bank of India, National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange and world-class educational institutions, Mumbai has so much to offer to India's startup ecosystem.

Mumbai FinTech Hub

Every state's entrepreneurial progress is reflected by the efforts the respective government is making to foster the startup culture. While Telangana government has found the scope the incubation and acceleration, Maharashtra government envisions Mumbai has a FinTech hub and has been taking various efforts to empower the startups with the potential to scale financially and technically.

To further foster next-generation innovation, the Government of Maharashtra recently introduced Mumbai FinTech Hub to enable financial empowerment and technological advancement across the entire financial services ecosystem to nurture globally competent FinTech firms. The aim is to bridge the gap between start-ups, financial Institutions, technology vendors, incubators, accelerators and investors.

The vision first took shape in February 2018 when the state first launched its fintech policy, followed by the official launch of Mumbai FinTech Accelerator programme, a unique public-private partnership that is bringing together FinTech startups, Industry experts, Financial Institutions, VC/PE firms and the Government of Maharashtra.

Through the initiative, Maharashtra government plans incubate at least 300 start-ups and facilitate venture capital funding of at least INR 200 crore for FinTech start-ups as a part of the hub in the next three years. According to SVR Srinivas, the Principal Secretary at Maharashtra's Directorate of Information Technology, Mumbai Fintech Hub has made immense progress in the last one year in catalyzing the growth of fintech startups.

Maharashtra State Innovation Society

Established under Departments of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, the society aims to foster innovative approaches and solutions to contribute towards minimization of the economic divides in the State. Registered under Society Registration Act, 1860, the society would act as a nodal agency to boost innovation-driven performance and efficiency in every sector.

With the main objective to provide Innovation Promotion Platform to academics, entrepreneurs, researchers and Government, Maharashtra State Innovation Society will provide a platform to all stakeholders of the ecosystem to participate in fostering a culture of innovation across Maharashtra. This encourages the entrepreneurs and startup community as a whole.

Commenting on the initiative, Shubh Bansal, the Co-Founder of Truebil, an omni channel used car marketplace said, "The Policy aims to drive economic growth and job creation in the coming years by encouraging entrepreneurs to design novel solutions in new age sectors such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence, internet of things, clean energy etc. as well as revamping traditional sectors."

"A holistic approach would be adopted including establishing a network of incubators, cultivating entrepreneurial mind-sets among students, connecting relevant stakeholders, simplifying the regulatory environment and making strategic investments to foster entrepreneurship across the state," he further added, commending the smart move to collaborate with multiple industries and academia to create a conducive environment for startups to excel and contribute to robust economic growth.

Maharashtra Startup Policy

With the aim to help Maharashtra "leapfrog" into a premier startup destination, the state government introduced Maharashtra Startup Policy in 2018. The Policy acknowledged the need to facilitate startups by making the regulatory environment more conducive, providing suitable assistance and enabling access to industry practitioners and mentors for a vibrant ecosystem.

One of the biggest bottlenecks for a startup to succeed is the availability of adequate infrastructure. To ensure that original ideas are developed and pursued till completion, the State strives to work together with industries, industry associations and academic institutions towards creating world-class infrastructure facilities for the start-ups to excel while acknowledging that it is imperative to nurture innovation and lateral thinking at both school and college level.

With the digital mantra buzzing across the globe, the Government will develop an online portal and a mobile app for easy access to all the relevant information related to the start-up ecosystem including a list of investors, mentors and various other facilities. Notably, Mumbai has the highest FDI inflow in India with a staggering $114 billion received between 2000-2018. With financial assistance, the inadequacy of mentorship could be solved.

"The support of government machinery has been seen to be very relevant from the perspective of getting assured business and bringing credibility to Startup," stated Anand Kumar Bajaj, the founder & CEO of PayNearby, a Mumbai-based HyperLocal FinTech startup working towards digitizing India.

Aastha Singal

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Features Writer

A business journalist looking to find happiness in the world of startups, investments, MSMEs and more. Officially started her career as a news reporter for News World India, Aastha had short stints with NDTV and NewsX. A true optimist seeking to make a difference, she is a comic junkie who'd rather watch a typical Bollywood masala than a Hollywood blockbuster. 

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