In September 2018, when the rest of country was dealing with the huge amount of waste generated during the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, a Mumbai-based startup quietly worked with the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and collected 1.72 tons of floating waste. The startup, Sagar Defence Engineering, had deployed its surface water drone in three water bodies in the jurisdiction of the municipal corporation, accessing extremely unhygienic places where human intervention was not possible.
Elsewhere, the Zilla Parishad of Aurangabad was working with a startup on something that has been a national concern for decades – how to empower farmers to earn sustainable income. In this process, S4S Technologies, a food preservation startup , is working with the local government body to provide farmers in Aurangabad 25 solar-powered electricity free food dehydrators developed by them. This is to enable the farmers to augment their income by creating value-added farm products.
Another startup, Urvi Agrotech, is working with the Women and Child Development Department of Maharashtra on a pilot project to provide hand tractors to Self-Help Groups of women so that they can further rent it to out to farmers at subsidised rates ,and achieve the twin objective of empowering women and farmers.
In addition to the social impact and the potential to bring positive change, another common factor between these three startups is that they were among the 24 winning startups that were part of the Maharashtra Startup Week 2018 in June. The inaugural edition of the startup initiative was a resounding success with participation from over 900 startups.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had reiterated his state government’s commitment to make Maharashtra a hub for startups with more initiatives such as the Maharashtra Startup Week. In keeping with this commitment, they have brought back Maharashtra Startup Week within a span of six months.
The second edition of Maharashtra Startup Week is being held from January 28 to February 1, 2019.
Organised by the Maharashtra State Innovation Society, (MSInS) the weeklong initiative aims to encourage, engage and enable the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Maharashtra Startup Week provides startups with a platform to showcase their innovative solutions to the Government of Maharashtra, directly engage with the government to tap B2G opportunities and to scale up their ventures in the overseas market.
The second edition aims to recognise startups from seven key sectors – education & skilling, healthcare, agriculture, sustainability, (clean energy, environment, water & waste water management) smart infrastructure & mobility, governance and financial inclusion/fintech. Additionally, to enable startups from other sectors to leverage the opportunities that an initiative of this kind opens up, the Maharashtra State Innovation Society has also created an additional category that allows startups that do not fit into any of the above categories to participate.
The top 100 startups participating in the Maharashtra Startup Week will be selected to showcase their solutions to a panel of judges comprising representatives from the Government, industry, academia and investors. During the five-day event startups from each sector will make their pitch to the panel, and the best 24 will receive work orders of upto Rs 15 lakh from the Maharashtra State Innovation Society to pilot their solutions and demonstrate the proof of concept. Subsequently, the startups will also receive handholding support in terms of access to government machinery and mentoring from institutional partners for a period of up to 12 months to deploy their solutions on ground.
24 Startups from top 100 will stand a chance to receive support up to Rs 15 lakh for market development programme. The Maharashtra State Innovation Society is partnering with multiple investors and incubators for the initiative. These partner organisations will consider the top 100 finalists for funding and mentorship. Apart from the 24 winners, select startups will also avail benefits like access to exhibition space and networking with VCs/ ecosystem partners, access to specific ecosystem events, free credits, international linkages and other benefits. Ecosystem partners include of the likes of the Indian Angel Network, Omidyar Network, CII, Acumen, 91 Springboard, among others
The last date for applying for the Maharashtra Startup Week is January 12, 2019. The startups will be evaluated based on Unique Value Proposition, Leadership Team, Social Impact, Sustainability & Scalability, Relevance for government and Technology Advantage (if any).
The results will be out on January 21, 2019 and applicants will be notified about their status. The selected 100 startups will get to participate in the week-long event during which they will pitch to a panel of government officials, investors, incubators, and experts from industry and academia. 24 winning startups will receive support from the Maharashtra Government in deploying their solutions and demonstrating proof-of-concept.
In its quest to reimagine development in the state, the state government of Maharashtra has taken a proactive step to partner with the private sector, especially startups. It has not only drafted and implemented a strong policy which keeps ease of doing business at its core, it has also made it easier for young and innovative companies which may be fairly new to partner with the government. In addition, the government consciously helps startups tap growth opportunities faster by connecting them to potential customers and related ecosystem players.
The Maharashtra Startup Week has been an amalgamation of these efforts and showcases the immense potential of B2G opportunities. After a stupendous first edition, the next edition of Maharashtra Startup Week 2019 promises to be nothing less.
It’s not just the prospect of getting access to funding, mentoring and business that makes the Maharashtra Startup Week 2019 exciting for startups. What makes it even more worthwhile is seeing your solution have a positive impact on development in the country.