Andhra Pradesh working to become a key hub for startups - Winny Patro, CEO, state innovation cell
Andhra Pradesh positioned itself as the startup capital at the ninth edition of TechSparks. Winny Patro, CEO of Andhra Pradesh State Innovation Cell, took to the stage and urged all startup founders to look towards the new state of Andhra Pradesh.
The state of Andhra Pradesh (not to be mistaken with Telangana, said Winny Patro) already has a Fintech Valley at Visakhapatnam, uses blockchain technology for e-governance, and has a visionary Chief Minister in Chandrababu Naidu, who is aggressively encouraging startups to look at the state.
Speaking to a packed hall, Patro said:
“When the state bifurcated in 2014, we got all the Tier II and Tier III cities and no large cities. But we do have the second-longest coastline. We have rivers, beaches, virgin hills, and India’s Grand Canyon (Gandikota), which is just four hours from Bengaluru, and Visakhapatnan is the ninth largest city in terms of GDP.”
With no capital and infrastructure, innovation and tech in socio-economic development became a driver for the government. Patro said they believe in an invisible government with visible governance.
“There is an entrepreneurial spirit. We have drones for crowd management and before Jio, there was an AP fibre grid providing internet at low cost. But having said that, we know that startups drive the global economy and so we are working to become relevant to startups,” he says.
In addition to providing market access, the government is hand-holding society to reach out to larger masses. The sensitisation needs to happen at the ground level and to achieve that, the state is working with the student community, he added.
“The idea is that parents also open up to the idea of startups and don’t stop their children from joining startups or even starting one. For parents to see what is happening globally, we shortlisted 300 young people and entrepreneurs for a discussion on trending stuff and entrepreneurship on television,” says Patro.
The government is also creating hackathons to encourage students to think beyond their limits -- an alternative way to add value to their education, Patro says. Instead of focusing on too many vocational classes, the idea of the hackathons is to provide students with competitive challenges to solve problems.
“Today, it is important to have an entrepreneurial mindset, and even corporate houses look for employees with an entrepreneurial spirit and drive,”says Patro.
YourStory's annual extravaganza TechSparks brings together the best and the brightest from the startup ecosystem, corporate world, policy makers, and of course, the investor community. Over the years, it has grown to become India's most loved tech and startup platform for knowledge sharing and networking. The ninth edition of TechSparks also marks YourStory's 10th anniversary. A big thank you for all your support over the years and keep reading and watching YourStory.