Priyank Kharge bats for startups, Bengaluru Tech Summit puts the focus on new tech
The three-day Bengaluru Tech Summit was attended by more than 11,000 visitors, 3173 delegates, 267 speakers, and 250 and saw the signing of 10 MoUs.
“You will be delighted to hear that since last year we have granted funds to close to 150 startups and helped over 200 of them by other means. Can you imagine that? That is almost one startup every two days,” said Priyank Kharge, Karnataka minister for IT-BT and Tourism, on the closing day of the mega three-day event that was Bengaluru Tech Summit.
Giving his closing speech, Kharge welcomed the support of the IT and startup stakeholders to help the state government formulate policies to foster and strengthen the ecosystem.
“We as a state are ready to harmonise, share, network, collaborate and support the stakeholders, and I believe this is what makes us the leader. Being a leader to one of the most vibrant and young economies of the world is not an easy job. As a leader, we are expected to know the way, show the way, and go the way. As leaders, we are expected to turn vision into executable plans that reach people and that is what we have been trying to do relentlessly,” he added.
Karnataka is ranked at number four in R&D and number two in providing the best ecosystems for startups. The World Economic Forum recently rated Bengaluru over Silicon Valley and London as the most dynamic city in the world. “And the reason I believe for this success is that we have some of the best policies that have been crafted in the country for industries across verticals,” Kharge said.
The three-day summit was attended by more than 11,000 visitors, 3173 delegates, 267 speakers, and 250 exhibitors on leading-edge technologies that are changing the world. The summit also saw the signing of 10 MoUs that would have a significant impact on technology sector in the state.
There were conferences and seminars where thought leaders discussed issues on path-breaking topics like Internet of Things, GIS, Cybersecurity, Cloud, Big Data, and AR and VR. The summit also focussed on the biotech sector and its state-of-the-art technologies that are changing the world: personalised medicine, rare diseases, and orphan drugs, biotherapeutics, agro-biotech, and new technology.
Talking about the government’s support to startups, the minister said, “Last year, we understood the need to foster startups. A policy was needed to help entrepreneurs succeed. We devised and successfully ran the Elevate 100 program which aimed to identify 100 of the most innovative startups in the state and many of you are here today to receive your grants. We are giving away close to Rs 22 crore today and close to Rs 40 crore this year and I hope this will help startups elevate to the next level.”
The state is poised to create 20,000 startups by 2020 and will mobilise Rs 20,00-crore fund for startups and foster industry partnerships.
Creating a startup culture
The government announced biotech skill enhancement program allocating Rs 32 crore and Rs 288 crore in Centre of Excellence (CoE) for aerospace and space, Rs 40 crore in AI, Big data, and Machine Learning, and in the next couple of months, it will announce CoEs in Cybersecurity, animation & gaming as well.
“We have come up with a scheme called Yuva Yuga which is an industry-led training program that aims to make our people more employable. We aim to train 1.1 lakh people by the financial year end,” he added.
The tech summit had a separate event for women entrepreneurs that highlighted women and their achievements in leading innovation in the IT and BT sectors and also how women returning to work can be a game changer for the sectors.
There was a B2B summit for animation, visual effects gaming and comics sector, hosted at the summit. Called the ‘Bengaluru AVGC Summit’, the event was a partnership between the Government of Karnataka and ABAI, the trade association for animation, visual effects, gaming, and comics sector.
Kharge was emphatic that the goal is to make the state the creative capital of India and this could be possible through summits like this where small developers were given free entry so they could interact with global majors like Turner/Cartoon Network, BBC, Disney, Hotstar and many others who were present at the event.
Centres of excellence
The summit explored the future of path-breaking tech developments like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. It also witnessed the release of a AR/VR report on the concluding day.
The summit also hosted the Bengaluru Maker Faire, an event for all those who believe in the “do-it-yourself” spirit for sharing their accomplishments and showcasing their work with an appreciative audience.
The event saw some of the leading technologists, hobbyists, tinkerers, artisans, and entrepreneurs interacting with one another to celebrate, inspire, and get inspired.
Kharge said that the government wants to “create a stimulating atmosphere and this kind of events would change the way the youth would impact a global change.”
One of the highlights of the Tech Summit was the Rural IT Quiz, which is a pioneering effort by the Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services since 2000. The programme has enhanced IT awareness among students at the grassroots level, and helped them keep abreast of the latest developments in the state.
In a move to strengthen tech inclusion in rural areas, the state government launched a unique project providing free wi-fi to 500 grama panchayats in the state. The project will roll out the benefit to all 2650 grama panchayats in the future.
The summit rewarded those who have made a significant contribution in the sectors with the presentation of the STPI IT Export Awards and Bio Excellence Award.