Karnataka launches the ‘Beyond Bengaluru’ initiative to build innovation and technology ecosystem beyond the capital city
In the run up to the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020 — the flagship technology summit organised by the Department of Electronics, Information Technology, Biotechnology and Science & Technology, Government of Karnataka — the launch of the Beyond Bengaluru initiative was announced. Beyond Bengaluru, which will be an integral part of the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020, is focused towards building an innovation and technology ecosystem in the state of Karnataka.
The programme takes root in the new IT policy 2020 - 2025, which aims to boost IT penetration and innovation in the state holistically. The programme aims at enhancing growth in the IT /ITES, Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO), Electronic System Design Manufacturing (ESDM), and Telecom sector industries located at the upcoming cities of Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubbali - Dharwad and Shivamogga.
The state’s efforts in building economic and industry clusters
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan, who is also the Minister for Higher Education, Electronics, Information Technology, Biotechnology and Science & Technology, Skill Development, Entrepreneurship & Livelihood Department, Govt of Karnataka,said, “Beyond Bengaluru is a unique initiative by the Government of Karnataka in its efforts to boost IT penetration across the State and will be supported by strategic policy interventions and holistic economic development. The cities of Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubbali-Dharwad and Shivamogga are foreseeing great investment opportunities and employment potential.”
Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan further noted that IT, Bt and ITeS sectors are the lifeline of the state and said that the state is working to enable better connectivity penetration to actualise the Beyond Bengaluru goal. He also added the National Education Policy 2020 has been a force multiplier. “When implemented, students passing out of educational institutions will be industry ready. The internship opportunities will also enable better industry-academic connection. All of this will cumulatively and positively impact the state’s efforts in building economic and industry clusters in the different parts of the state.”
In his speech, the Deputy Chief Minister also announced that a Taskforce has been established comprising industry, academia and other stakeholders to prepare a White Paper to enable the Beyond Bengaluru mandate. The White Paper would cover potential action points for promoting cities beyond Bengaluru, by proposing incentives and initiatives that may be undertaken for technology ecosystem development in cities Beyond Bengaluru.
Speaking on the announcement, Dr. E.V. Ramana Reddy, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary to Chief Minister, ,Department of Electronics, IT, Bt and S&T, Government of Karnataka said, “Government of Karnataka has a clear vision on building the innovation and technology ecosystem in cities Beyond Bengaluru. For enhanced ecosystem growth, it is important that we look at infrastructure development, market access, ecosystem engagement and talent development of these cities. Furthermore, it is increasingly important, that we, as Government of Karnataka implement necessary steps to support and promote innovation, growth and development in these cities.”
In her address, Meena Nagaraj C.N, IAS, Director, Dept. of Electronics, IT & Bt and Managing Director, KITS, Government of Karnataka spoke about the many initiatives rolled out by the government to enhance the ecosystem in these cities. These include the New Age Innovation Network (NAIN), which is a network of incubation centres in 30 engineering colleges in cities Beyond Bengaluru. More than 470 projects have been funded, 181 prototypes built, and 13 patents filed so far, she said. The Government of Karnataka has also established Common Instrumentation Facilities (CIFs), Technology Business Incubators in academic institutions as well as R&D infrastructure in different cities across Karnataka to catapult innovation and R&D.
Industry leaders highlight the potential of Beyond Bengaluru
The launch also saw the presence of Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman - Karnataka Vision Group for IT, B.V. Naidu, Founder, CEO - StartupXeed, Shailendra Kumar Tyagi, Director - STPI Bengaluru, Speaking about the initiative Kris said, “I believe this is the right time to be future focused.” He lauded the government for making regulatory changes that have enabled the IT & ITes sector to enable remote working for an extended period of time. “The IT sector did not see any disruption with regard to business continuity and that has translated into happy customers. This experience is also going to strengthen the possibilities for the IT sector to tap more business.” Citing the Infosys experience of setting up offices in Mangaluru, Mysuru, and Hubbali, he urged the IT sector to look beyond the Silicon Valley of India.
B V Naidu in his address highlighted the scale of opportunity that a programme like Beyond Bengaluru can tap into, “Through the effective implementation of the Beyond Bengaluru programme we have the ability to generate employment for 5 lakh people in these regions by 2025. The IT industry in these regions can become a $5billion industry.” Shailendra Kumar Tyagi in his address shared, “STPI has been at the forefront of setting up and strengthening the tech and innovation ecosystem beyond the state capital. He shared that they would soon be launching a STPI centre in Davangere.
The inauguration of the Beyond Bengaluru programme also saw the industry leaders coming together to share their experience of working at the grassroots and tapping the local entrepreneurial and IT Talent as well as the need to drive growth opportunities beyond the metros. This included leaders like CM Patil, Deshpande Foundation; Shridhar Vembu, Founder, CEO, Zoho; KS Vishwanathan, Sr Director, NASSCOM; Harshvendra Soin, Global CPO, Tech Mahindra; Lalit Ahuja, Founder, CEO, ANSR; Ram Subramanium, Serial Entrepreneur; Prashath Prakash, Chairperson, Vision Group for Startups, Mythili Ramesh, Co-Founder and CEO, Next Wealth, Manjunath Gopi, Startup Evangelist, Deshpande Foundation and Smita Malipatil, CEO, Indivillage
The event also saw a showcase of 25 startups from the different parts of Karnataka. These startups were the winners of the Elevate programme - the Government of Karnataka’s flagship programme for startups to highlight the entrepreneurial talent across the state is working on innovative solutions in agritech, cleantech, IT, Bt, aerospace, robotics and other areas. The entrepreneurs also highlighted how a programme like Elevate has enabled them in product development acceleration, industry connections, and has been instrumental in helping them grow.
To sum up, the startup showcase, as well as the insights from the speakers pointed to the potential in the state’s hinterland and urban towns, giving the Beyond Bengaluru initiative an impetus to contribute to the Government of Karnataka’s existing efforts in moving the technology and innovation activity to the cities Beyond Bengaluru.