Startup India Yatra aims to empower budding entrepreneurs in smaller towns


Currently in Odisha, Startup India Yatra is trying to build an ecosystem to nurture innovation and startups in Tier II and III cities across the country.

The Odisha leg of the government’s Startup India Yatra was launched on Tuesday. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the Yatra would travel to 60 institutes across over 15 cities in 20 days. The Startup India Yatra van is equipped with facilities for individuals and startups to pitch their ideas. Boot camps with ideation workshops and idea-pitching sessions will also be organised at 10 premier institutes in Odisha during this Yatra.

Said to be one of the largest Tier II and III initiatives undertaken by the government, Startup India Yatra has helped 10,000-plus aspiring entrepreneurs in two states.

An initiative of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Startup Yatra aims to promote entrepreneurship at a remote level by reaching every state. The Yatra aims to work hand-in-hand with the Centre’s ambitious Startup India scheme.

Culture of innovation

Launched in 2016, Startup India intends to build a solid ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large-scale employment opportunities.

As per the ASSOCHAM India 2017 report, approximately 50 percent of total incubators are set up in non-metro cities, outside NCR, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and provide vast opportunities for the non-metro entrepreneurs.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik flagging off Startup Yatra in the state

Startup India, in collaboration with Startup Odisha and KIIT, is organising Startup India Yatra in Odisha, with an aim to scout for grass-root level entrepreneurs in the smaller towns. This yatra will provide a platform to handhold budding entrepreneurs so they realise their startup dream, get incubated at a facility, and take their idea to the next stage.

The Startup India Yatra Odisha aims to spread the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the state of Odisha. It is looking to equip budding entrepreneurs with relevant resources, including government incentives and ecosystem support, to pursue their ideas. The best ideas will be selected for the grand finale of Startup India Yatra to be held in Bhubaneswar; the top startups will get incubated at top facilities in Odisha.

Entrepreneurship at grassroot level

In every state, the Startup Yatra will follow a five-step procedure to support the startup ecosystem in Tier II and III cities.

Train the trainer: Initiative to train colleges/universities for establishing e-cells and spreading the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Launch: Launch of Startup Yatra in respective states

Boot camps: 10 to 12 boot camps to be organised in various districts in every state. Each one-day boot camp will have ideation workshops and idea pitching sessions.

Acceleration programme: Ideas shortlisted from boot camps will receive three days of intensive mentoring from Startup India and its partners.

Grand Finale: For the Grand Finale, shortlisted ideas will pitch to the state incubators. Winners of the Yatra will receive incubation offers, cash prizes, and other benefits.

The impact so far

So far, the Yatra has travelled to Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

A Startup Yatra van

In Gujarat, the initiative reached five cities, Anand, Vasad, Mehsana, Jetalpur, and Ahmedabad, witnessing the presence of more than 5,000 participants. Around 1,000 startups pitched their ideas and 22 incubation offers from IIM Ahmedabad and MICA were made.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Yatra travelled to seven cities, including Agra, Bareilly, Kanpur, Lucknow, Sultanpur, Varanasi, and Noida. Selected startups received incubation offers from IIT BHU, IIT Kanpur, iB Hubs, BIMTECH, IIM Lucknow, and others. The event witnessed a participation of over 6,000 people; around 1,000 startups pitched and 100 startups were selected for incubation.

What’s next?

Startup Yatra’s next stop is in Guwahati, Assam, where it is planning to organise seven boot camps and cover over 20 districts. The initiative hopes to create a significant buzz in Northeast India’s major city and is expecting at least 6,000 participants, partnering with IIT Guwahati and others for incubating selected startups.