Karnataka Government to Identify 100 Most Innovative Startups

The day two of CII’s flagship event the India Innovation Summit 2017 kicked off with a power-packed inaugural session with speakers stressing on the importance of Ideation, Innovation and skill development. The two-day summit focused on key topics of innovation that will transform the way we do business. Themed ‘The New Wealth of Nations – Innovation and Intellectual capital’ the summit strove to strengthen the spirit of India to build an ecosystem that fosters and celebrates Innovation as the main pillar of national wealth.

Stating that government of Karnataka has always been at the forefront of Innovation, Mr. Priyank Kharge, Hon’ble Minister for IT, BT, Science & Technology and Tourism, Government of Karnataka said that Ideation is the most important aspect of innovation, as it leads to invention and innovation. The Government of Karnataka innovation centres are more like ideation centres and the state is focused on fostering innovation at the bottom of the pyramid. The Government of Karnataka is constantly introducing policies and schemes to build the startup ecosystem of the state. The 'Idea to POC' scheme is one such step where a grant of up to 50 lakhs will be given for startups with proof of concepts.

Emphasising the role of Government of Karnataka in building the startup ecosystem, he said that out of 7000 startups in Bengaluru 3000 are registered with the government and the government’s startup cell provides them with relationship managers, mentors, legal help, IP reimbursement and networking opportunities. The Government of Karnataka is also collaborating with startup centres around the world through cross-border entrepreneurship projects and partnership with cities around the world. This has resulted in a vast pool of shared learning. The government is also assisting startups in idea validation which according to him is the most important aspect for startups.

To aid innovation in the state, the government has setup a Rs. 400 crore fund for startups, he encouraged entrepreneurs to make full use of this opportunity. Mr. Kharge said that the state will be announcing 100 most innovative startups in August this year under Elevate 100 Program, to make innovation marketable and scalable. He invited the industry to partner with the government in not only identifying the 100 startups, but in working with the government to ensure that these startups scale up.

He said that the government cannot keep asking for investment without providing infrastructure. The government needs to create an environment of ideation that will lead to innovation which in turn leads to investment. He stated that we need to break the shackles of being termed as the Back Office of the World or the Silicon Valley of Asia and differentiate ourselves as Bengaluru – the city of Ideation and Innovation and a thought leader in emerging technologies.

Speaking on Skill development Mr. Kharge said automation is the way forward and for this, it is important to upskill our workforce. He said that in recognition of this the Government of Karnataka through its centres of excellence in Aerospace, Big Data, Digital Media, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security and several other verticals will ensure that the state has the requisite skillsets for emerging technologies. He said that while the government can facilitate these centres the industry needs to be the driving force.   

Ms. Rama Bijapurkar, Thought Leader on Market Strategy, said that in a country where we see so many ideas and innovations there is very little impact on the people. We see many ideas that are really good and many of these are from the grassroots. The problem is that we have several missing pieces in the plan i.e. commercialization and scaling. This is where we need solutions. Normally the market will do this but in India, this is not happening. The only body in the country that is capable of scaling is the government, and market needs motivation and triggers from the government.

According to her, the reason why the big ideas do not reach the market is because of dismal demographics in India, while India is high on the innovation index it is at a poor 142nd place in terms of per capita earnings. The country suffers from problems of poor infrastructure and failure of public goods. Among the 280 million households in the country, only 20% i.e. 266 million people account for 45% of India’s income. While the households’ disposable income is 100 trillion rupees which is roughly Rs. 3.5 lakhs a year per household that is Rs. 30000 rupees a month. Out of this 10% earns more than a Rs. 100000 a month, 20% earns around Rs. 50000, another 20% earns around Rs. 30000 and the remaining 50% earns below Rs. 20000.

A large population in India are self-employed and what Indian consumers generally look for is productivity tools and affordable intelligence. The consumer in India is willing, waiting and completely ready for innovation, all they need is supply to catch up.

According to Dr. Gopichand Katragadda, CTO, Tata & Sons, the difference between startups in India and abroad is scale. Startups in India are generally built to exit and not to endure. When we build a startup we should plan for it to last at least a 100 years and if exit happens along the way it should be purely coincidental. Companies cannot afford to be stagnant, they need to constantly improve, innovate and scale up. Innovation and disruption is the new norm.

He also said that we live in a dynamic world where we need to constantly adapt, research and collaborate. The industry needs to work with the government to ensure that regulations are in tune with times, it needs to leverage technology to keep abreast and we need to look at trends in the world and translate it into needs. India has all the right ingredients and we can make this a century of Indian innovation.  

Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, Past President CII & Chairman India Innovation Summit during his opening remarks stressed on why innovation and intellectual property is the new wealth of nations. He said that Bengaluru today is one of the leading city for startups because of its ecosystem and enterprising people. For this, the state government has played a large role as an enabler.

The two-day summit deliberated on various topics including Teens as Innovators to disrupt the existing businesses, Rise of Machines and Future of Human Labour, India’s digital transformation into a cashless economy, the great expectations on the e-commerce industry – scaling the consumption economy, the role of society and culture on innovation, the rise of personalized/ precision medicine, the role of technology in continuing education, and intellectual property rights and the scope of innovation as a new state diplomacy.