Goa is all set to script a new role as vibrant startup destinationRohan Khaunte
Few would deny that Goa is the pride of India - in the bylanes of Berlin or the hustle and bustle of New York or Singapore, people’s eyes light up when you mention Goa. For so many, it is their first and only connection to India because it’s where the world comes to unwind. As a travel destination, Goa remains unrivaled. And tourism itself is rapidly evolving, creating new ways to generate both revenue and employment through never-before-seen innovation.
These efforts and fundamental shifts need to get the attention they deserve. And we – the Government of Goa – want it to mean so much more to the world by sharing Goa’s new story with the world. Our goal is clear: we want to make Goa one of Asia’s top 25 startup destinations by 2025.
Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of any economy. Globally and historically, startups have been the fountainheads of technological innovation to solve unique problems or change the way things have been done traditionally so that society can benefit from technology. Facilitating entrepreneurship also leads to value creation and job creation – something that the Government of Goa is fully committed to.
The genesis of Goa’s new ambitions
Our commitment to the cause of entrepreneurship is not new. We were among the first four states in India to formulate a startup policy with a focus on developing futuristic technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), data science (including big data analytics), robotics, and 3D printing. With the new startup policy in place, we want to see at least 100 early-stage ventures succeed over the next five years through the benefits that it offers.
What we want to create is a startup culture where the youth of the state become job creators and not job seekers. To achieve this, we are putting in place the right enablers and providing the right financial support.
Incentives and initiatives to drive innovation, boost employment
Our Startup Promotion Cell, driven by the Department of Information Technology & Communication (IT&C), is undertaking several initiatives to incentivise entrepreneurship in Goa. The following plans are currently in the works:
- Developing a dedicated 2 lakh sq. ft. hub for technological innovation and incubation.
- Incentivising startups with promising and viable products through a one-time grant of Rs 10 lakh.
- Providing startups with a one-time loan of Rs 10 lakh from the state.
- Reimbursing 25 percent of the salary of the local workforce employed by a startup if 60 percent of its staff is local
- Allowing startups registered in the state to operate 24×7.
The Startup Promotion Cell will also serve as the nodal agency looking after the certification process for startups.
World-class institutions with a great industry-academia connect
Goa already has the building blocks required to make it a top startup destination. A progressive government, excellent educational and industrial infrastructure, a great millennial vibe, a cosmopolitan outlook and comprehensive range of state-provided incentives and subsidies.
The campuses of our various technical and engineering colleges are abuzz with students thinking of ideas that can turn into products and services; entrepreneurship is being considered as a viable career. Goa’s colleges have already churned out successful entrepreneurs and professionals working within the startup and corporate ecosystem.
The way I see it, the slew of fresh initiatives is now fostering not just a startup ecosystem but also a digitally savvy local consumer base where adoption of tech-based solutions even in the B2C space will be faster. It will also give young companies the momentum they need to succeed. All of which makes me optimistic that Goa will achieve its goal of becoming a vibrant and thriving startup ecosystem to reckon with.
Strong digital infrastructure across cities and villages
Not only is Goa one of the fastest growing states in the country, it is also one of the handful of states to have achieved 100 percent rural electrification. Goa also boasts one of the best models of broadband penetration in in the country – all 189 village panchayats are connected; district and taluka level headquarters enjoy 10GB fibre connectivity. Startups with a base in Goa will have access to similar, world-class infrastructure.
Further, the Department of IT&C has also implemented a host of e-governance services. We are looking at using digital tools for different government services, their delivery, and creating a centralised, single point-of-contact for all tasks. The state capital of Panaji has been selected for the Smart City project, and we have big plans to leverage IoT for this.
Giving entrepreneurs what they actually want
What we want to do is bring IT everywhere that it can make a difference. And a critical part of this is to create a community of entrepreneurs backed by industry-friendly policies that have been formulated by talking to people in the industry. At the heart of our startup policy is enablement, and we welcome entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas and a fondness for everything that Goa has to offer. We are ready to show the world that we are as passionate about startups as we are about the sun, sand and sea.
Join us on April 27 and 28 for the first ever Goa Startup and Innovation Summit as the state embarks on a historical journey that will change the way that the world thinks of us.