Nothing Works Better Than Just Improving Your Product, Mr. Priyank Kharge, Minister It, Govt Of Karnataka 

Date of Publish - Monday, 26th February 2018

What's your vision for Bengaluru as the startup destination and a “World Innovation Hub”?

While Bengaluru has been an important startup destination for India, our vision is to make Karnataka the top innovative hub of the world. We are working towards providing an environment that is conducive for ideation, innovation and invention through policy intervention. More than 7000 startups are registered in Karnataka.

Our aim is to identify startups from smaller cities and towns and support them by way of mentorship and funding. We want to provide a platform for startups to succeed by partnering with the ecosystem.

Our endeavor is to make Karnataka the hot bed for innovation. As a pioneer in the area of IT funding, Karnataka has always embraced innovative initiatives to support startups in all sectors.

"More than 7000 startups are registered in Karnataka"

The plan is to concentrate on skilling and providing a knowledge base for emerging technologies and startups. We need to ensure that an ideal environment is incorporated at the bottom of the pyramid.
Global research firm 2thinknow has placed Bengaluru at the 19th spot amidst 25 most hi-tech cities in the world.

This has been possible only because of the government’s policies and vision. We are the the only Indian city to figure in the list and this is a vindication of the government’s initiatives. Our policies work to ensure that the ecosystem and innovation starts from down below and matures towards an innovation hub.

We also intend to have cross- border entrepreneurship and knowledge collaboration with other cities. Bengaluru-Boston corridor, Bengaluru-Hague corridor and Bengaluru-Finland corridor are early examples for such innovative partnerships.

"We also intend to have cross-border entrepreneurship and knowledge collaboration with other cities"

Worldwide tech startups play key a role in solving major problems like transport. Is there any specific initiative by Karnataka Government on this front?

‘Grand Challenges— Karnataka’ is an initiative under the Start-up Policy that allows startups to contribute to effective, localised, and measurable change to the challenges facing Karnataka. This gives ‘Startups’ a golden opportunity to channelise innovations for social impact, and also grow their business in the process.

We recently announced ‘Grand Challenge Call 5 and Call 6’, to unearth innovative solutions to reduce traffic congestion in Bengaluru City as well as tackle the perennial water shortage.

The future of commute is unlikely to lie in any one big invention. Instead it will grow out of many new innovations which can be used alongside existing technologies. They will work within the context of increasingly smart transport networks that are able to respond quickly and efficiently to our ever-changing needs. ‘Grand Challenge Call 5’ is an attempt to create a big picture from small solutions.

"The short-listed startups have access to Karnataka Government’s INR 400 crore startup

How is the Government supporting startups working on rural & social problems?

The Government of Karnataka’s endeavour has always been to encourage innovators and thinkers from all parts of the state. We recently identified Karnataka’s100 most innovative start-ups in Karnataka at Elevate100.

This is something that is not done by any government in any part of the world. We have reached all corners of Karnataka and the bottom of the pyramid with Elevate100.

After a rigorous selection process, 250 startups across Karnataka, including Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Kalaburgi, Mysuru and Hubballi, were identified to compete at the Elevate100 Finale.

The short-listed startups have access to Karnataka Government’s INR 400 crore start-up fund besides access to Government VC funds, pilots, private VC funds, world class accelerators and mentors.

"Women entrepreneurs form an integral part of the small and medium businesses in Karnataka"

Have you taken any special initiatives to encourage women entrepreneurship?

Women entrepreneurs form an integral part of the small and medium businesses in Karnataka. Our government has rolled out a red carpet for women entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities in Karnataka and make it their base. Companies led by women employ almost five lakh people in the state. We are extremely proud of our women entrepreneurs who have raised companies from scratch and achieved tremendous success today. Our Policies give a special thrust to women entrepreneurship and facilitate creation of more women enterprises in the state.

Under Karnataka Startup policy, women entrepreneurs have access to 10 crores of government funding through the Start Up Cell.

We are also trying to evolve a policy where a part of the Government’s procurement of products and services can be given to start ups.In order to support women tech entrepreneurs with access to mentoring and funding, at the grand finale of ‘Elevate 100’, we also organised a ‘Women Entrepreneur Innovation Summit’. More than 350 women entrepreneurs registered for Elevate100. Of these, 19 emerged as winners.

"The short-listed startups have access to Karnataka Government’s INR 400 crore start-up fund"

Karnataka is also the only state in India to house an all-women industrial park, spread across 300 acres. Over 100 women entrepreneurs have expressed their willingness to set up their industries at this park.

Please share the success of Elevate 100 and its impact. How is it going to be taken forward in the future?

‘Elevate 100’ is a one-of-its-kind initiative, whereby top 100 startups will be fostered by us to take them to the next level. Besides access to Government’s Rs 400 crore start-up fund, the initiative will give startups access mentoring from industry experts, idea validation, advisory, legal support and the Startup booster kit. The impact has been tremendous.

We are happy to see private players are joining hands with the government to ensure that fewer startups fail.The efforts of the Karnataka government won’t stop at elevating the chosen 100.

We see ELEVATE 100 as a continuing process where the best ideas from the state gets the support and guidance it deserves.

Karunakara M Reddy


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