Industrial powerhouse Maharashtra is one of the latest to announce an ambitious plan to encourage the growth of startups and innovation in the state. Since announcing the policy in January 2018, the state has organized several events to foster innovation in technology, including Blockchain. There is also a fintech policy in place, along with several other initiatives that will provide an impetus to the ecosystem.
While formulating and implementing startup-friendly policies are one way to open up channels for ease of doing business, the other is creating a platform to deploy innovation. This is where the Maharashtra Startup Week will play a key role.
The event, organised by the Maharashtra State Innovation Society (MSInS) and scheduled for the week of June 25, 2018, aims at catalysing the startup ecosystem in the state by bringing together young entrepreneurs, investors, industry experts and mentors. It will provide 100 startups with a platform to showcase their innovative solutions to the Government of Maharashtra.
The MSInS was established in 2017 and falls under the purview of the Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of Maharashtra.
Startups in seven key domains that align with the development mandate of the Government, along with an eighth miscellaneous category can apply for the competition. The seven key focus areas are agriculture, healthcare, governance, human capital (education and skills), smart cities (infrastructure and mobility), sustainability (clean energy, water conservation, and waste management), and fintech and cybersecurity.
During the week-long event, 100 startups across the eight domains will make their pitch to a panel of government officials, investors, incubators, and experts from industry and academia. Three best ideas from each of the eight different domains will receive work orders of up to Rs 15 lakh from the Maharashtra State Innovation Society to pilot their solutions within the state.
The Government of Maharashtra will also assist the startups in piloting their solution for a period of six to 12 months, during which they will receive access to government machinery and mentoring from its institutional partners such as Tata Trusts’ Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (FISE). Investor bodies such as Mumbai Angels and Indian Angel Network are key partners in the programme and will consider the top 100 finalists for funding and mentorship. Similarly, incubators including NASSCOM 10000Startups and Digital Impact Square (DISQ) will also consider the finalists for their incubation programs. Treelife Consulting will extend legal, financial and compliance advisory services to the 24 winners. Upon completion of a successful pilot, the startup also has the opportunity to scale their enterprise with the aid of the Government. The state government could also help select startups in overseas market expansion.You could win incentives, mentorship and funding from the Maharashtra state government. Apply for the Startup Week 2018.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reiterated the state government’s commitment to make Maharashtra a hub for startups while inviting participation in the programme. “We understand that running a startup is an immensely satisfying job. But at the same time, it is also a humungous responsibility, and that is why we are going all out to provide entrepreneurs with a supportive environment to flourish. As part of this mission, we recently introduced a dynamic Maharashtra State Innovative Startup policy. And now, taking that mission ahead, we are opening business to government (B2G) market opportunities through the Maharashtra Startup Week. We believe that this initiative is the first of the many successful initiatives to come.”
The parameters under which startups will be evaluated include unique value proposition, leadership team, social impact of the solution, its sustainability and scalability, and technology advantage.
The last date for applying is June 5, 2018. All applicants will be notified of the results on or before June 18, 2018. The 100 finalists will be expected to attend a two-day bootcamp on June 23 and 24. If your startup has the potential to create impact, tell MSInS more about it. Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org today. Or you could reach out to Tanmay Pai (+91-9819991091) or Umesh Balwani (+91-9403057888) for further details.
Government initiatives like the Maharashtra State Innovation and Startup Policy 2018 formulated by the Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Department (SDED) are helping steer the state in its role as a startup enabler and holistic development driver.
The policy envisions catalysing the growth of an innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystem to achieve wholesome and inclusive socio-economic development. It aims to facilitate the emergence of around 10,000 startups over the next five years through the mobilization of angel and seed investments over Rs 5,000 crore. With the goal of creating 500,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state by 2023, the Startup Policy also includes a roadmap for setting up at least 15 incubation centres in collaboration with industry, academia, and R&D institutions.
It is also designed to create a well-connected ecosystem that assists startups – right from the incorporation stage to the scaling up of business. Special emphasis is given to innovation in new age sectors such as biotechnology, blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, clean energy etc. as well as the revamping of traditional sectors.
The policy takes on a holistic approach to fuel the startup culture in the state by establishing a network of incubators, cultivating entrepreneurial mindsets among students through tinkering labs, connecting relevant stakeholders, simplifying the regulatory environment and making strategic investments. For instance, a key feature is that it seeks to relax incumbent policies and enable a fair chance for startups. It has provisions to exempt startups in the manufacturing sector with respect to the criteria on prior experience or annual turnover, without relaxation in quality or technical parameters while calling for government tenders. This is in addition to scope for availing of waiver on stamp and registration fees, provisions for government paying 80 percent of quality testing costs at BIS accredited facilities, and patent filing assistance.
The policy seeks to start LeapFrog Maharashtra, a single-window clearance system for startups on the lines of Startup India Hub and also introduce a mobile app for easy access to relevant information related to the startup ecosystem, including a list of investors, mentors and various other facilities. As an added push, the Maharashtra Startup Policy has made provisions for funding support, incentives, and access to world-class infrastructure facilities.
In January itself, the Maharashtra government’s Directorate of Information Technology announced its fintech policy to tap growing opportunities in the banking, financial services and industries sector. As part of this policy, the state government has committed to create a fintech corpus fund of Rs 250 crore over the next three years. The policy guidelines also stipulate that fintech startups in the state can avail a number of tax benefits and financial assistance in the form of fees and waivers, and access investment funds created through joint venture with banks, industry players and key stakeholders.
Maharashtra’s strong credentials as an industrial powerhouse and an educational hub with a rich agrarian economy and business-friendly policies is increasingly making it a fertile ground for the new wave of startups emerging and driving the country’s growth story.
Cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nasik and Aurangabad are brimming with startup activity. While proximity and access to financial institutions like banks, NBFCs, brokerages, insurance agencies, and mutual funds has led to Mumbai’s establishment as a fintech hub, the rest of the state is also an attractive proposition for startups. This is due to factors like an active startup community, the presence of headquarters for a number of industry-led incubators and accelerators, strong industrial production infrastructure, the right mix of fresh talent pool and skilled resources and a diverse set of audience for a range of products and services.
Mumbai is already the hub for B2B startups in India and achievements like this would be well complemented with the state’s startup-centric initiatives. Today, Maharashtra is home to growing startups across sectors – from healthtech to enterprise tech. Some of the popular startups headquartered in the state include FabBag, Ketto, Purplle, CreditVidya, and HolaChef, among thousands of others.