Schools, skills, startups: how Bengaluru Tech Summit 2019 stimulates the innovation pipeline

The 22nd edition of this annual summit features a Startup Innovation Zone, RoboRecharge Robotic Premier League, Rural IT Quiz, and a Posters Session. The inaugural Bengaluru Skill Summit was launched as well.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 405 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

The three-day Bengaluru Tech Summit, now in its 22nd edition, has international participation from 22 countries. There are special Startup Impact sessions for entrepreneurs as well, and the Bengaluru Impact Awards are being given to nine unicorns: Flipkart, BigBasket, Ola Cabs, InMobi, Swiggy, Mu Sigma, Quikr, Byju’s, and Udaan.

The organisers estimate that the event will attract over 3,000 delegates, 200 speakers, 250 exhibitors, and 200 startups and SMEs. Awards were also given to tech firms with high growth in women employment, such as L&T Technology Services, Mashreq Global Services, and Temenos India.

Topics addressed at the conference range from cybersecurity and space-tech to electric vehicles and smart therapeutics. For example, an expert panel debated how AI and data can help India’s agriculture and healthcare.

The state government is targeting its technology business to reach $150 billion in the next five years, up from the current $50 billion. However, many speakers urged Indian tech firms to ramp up activity in filing patents. Cited data showed that in 2018, the US had 56,000 patents, China had 60,000 patents, and India had only 2,100 patents.

Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Aarin Capital, estimates that by 2025, India will have 100,000 startups and 100 unicorns. A combination of risk-taking entrepreneurs and high-level strategy is needed to take the country to a leading position in the global tech race. This applies to new products as well as workforce productivity.

The state is learning from best practices of other countries as well, such as Singapore and New Zealand. There are plans to set up the Karnataka Technology Development Board (KTDB), Karnataka Innovation Authority (KIA), and digital workflows for improving the ease of doing business. The state also plans to incentivise tech investments and growth in Tier II and Tier III cities, which can help decongest Bengaluru.

The government launched the Global Innovation Alliances Market Access Program (GIA MAP) to help startups enter new markets. A cohort of German startups from the Berlin Senate-backed initiative Startup Asia Berlin (SUAB) will explore the India market later this year, and startups from Karnataka will visit Berlin next year. Similar exchanges are planned with the Netherlands and Australia.

As India’s startup capital, this initiative will pave the way for international startups to access the Indian market via Bengaluru, according to Dr. EV Ramana Reddy, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of IT, BT and S&T.

“Startups play a crucial role in the development of new technologies. In order to tackle the challenges of the 21st century, we need innovators who think outside the box,” said Ramona Pop, Berlin Senator for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises. Finding solutions across borders is expected to help both regions to thrive.

The event featured the inaugural Bengaluru Skill Summit as well. The state must provide more support for technicians graduating from its ITIs, and not just IITs, urged Prof. Sadagopan, Director of IIIT-Bangalore.

World Skill Champions cash awards were presented at the summit. The government also launched SkillTube, a web platform for hosting high-quality learning content for different skills.

“We not only face the difficult task of skilling the youth but also have to manage the challenge thrown by the constantly changing nature of work and workplace. To leverage the potential of our youth, it is essential to enhance their employability through skilling,” said Nagesh H, Minister, Department of Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood.

“We need to encourage youngsters to ideate and create startups. It is important to collaborate at the highest skill stage in order to achieve greater heights,” urged Dr. EV Ramana Reddy.

A number of activities at the summit were targeted particularly at students. For example, the RoboRecharge Robotic Premier League involved two races: a robot race (with 120 students) and a quadcopter race (with 50 students). The winning schools included Sishya School, Cambridge School, BRS Global School, SJR Public School, Bhashyam Blooms, Jubilee Hills Public School, and Diya Academy of Learning.

The 20th edition of the Rural IT Quiz had participation from students of schools in smaller towns. Top scorers received a TCS educational scholarship of Rs 1 lakh, while others won prize money of Rs 50,000 and Rs 10,000. Leading participants were from Government Excellence School, Dewas and Forbes Academy, Gokak.

A Poster Session was held for young researchers, scientists and technocrats to share innovative ideas through posters. The winners were from Padmashree Institute of Management and Sciences, Maharani Lakshmi Ammanni College for Women, Oxford College of Science, Biocon Academy, Mount Carmel College, Guru Ghasidas Central University, and Siddaganga Institute of Technology.

In addition to conference deliberations and quiz competitions, the exhibition area was buzzing with entrepreneurs as well. See Part I of our startup showcase from BTS 2019 here, as well as this year’s photo essays on entrepreneurs exhibiting at YourStory’s TechSparks and NASSCOM Product Conclave.

In this photo showcase, we feature teams from startups and ecosystem enablers in the Startup Innovation Zone, including SHLR TechnoSoft, Naavic, TalentRecruit, KLOH, Euphotic, Satyukt, Dhiyo, SOI Design, SchoolChain, GK TechnoGroup, PrimeSophic, AuriGraph, EduBioSkills, Vegam, QTLomics, CabDost, NetNext, ArtBandhu, Kibo, IoTracx, IESA, Bangalore Bio-Innovation Centre, and Manipal Bio-Incubator.

Now, what have you done today to stop in your busy schedule, and find ways to ride the powerful waves of tech transformation?

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See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.


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