[TechSparks 2020] From India for the world: how Telangana is embracing tech startup ecosystem
Telangana is the eighth-largest state economy in India with Rs 9.7 lakh crore ($140 billion) in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of Rs 228,000 ($3,200).
After its formation in June 2014, the Telangana state administration envisioned to make Telangana a tech-enabled state that would embrace startups and entrepreneurs.
In a fireside chat during Yourstory’s TechSparks 2020 at the UK-India Tech Hub, Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, I&C, IT Dept, Government of Telangana, apprised the audience of the tech initiatives taken by the state and how it is creating a robust startup ecosystem, enabling technological solutions from India to the world.
Highlights from the fireside chat:
How Telangana became a startup hub
When the state government was drafting its new business policies, one of the primary feedbacks it received was easing regulatory policies for businesses to let the ideas flow freely.
“The IT industry in the country grew because it was free from regulations, and while drafting our new policies, the common feedback we received from people was to let the government stay away from micro-managing. Hence, we drafted an action-oriented policy to address the pain point of the ecosystem,” Jayesh said.
Telangana has created seven institutions over a few years to let the ideas transform into actions by letting institutions take ownership of those ideas. To run these institutions, the state brought a pool of talent from the open market, making the optimum utilisation of resources, thereby embracing the startup ecosystem.
Addressing the grievance call
The prime concern of any startup founder is to acquire the first customer to use its product. During the conversation, Anubhav Jain, Country Director, UK Government, UK-India Tech Hub, addressed the audience on how their programme is helping startup entrepreneurs from the concept stage till the product is introduced in the market. He also touched upon how collaboration with various Indian states can help the nation emerge stronger in the startup space.
Many Indian entrepreneurs struggle to find their first customer. To that, Jayesh said the state understands this pain point, and for ease of operations, it guarantees to procure the products first from the entrepreneurs that are problem-solving for the government.
Hot sectors ready to serve the world
Hyderabad holds a strong legacy in major industries, including Lifesciences and Biotechnology, capturing the major market share in India. Jayesh claimed that almost 40 percent of the pharmaceutical industry products and about one-third of the world's vaccines are manufactured in Hyderabad.
“In these tough COVID-19 times, where the whole world is racing for the vaccine, out of six Indian companies, four have a base out of Hyderabad,” he added.
During the initial years after bifurcation, Telangana had two incubator platforms. At present, it has 78 incubators, accelerators, and coworking spaces, of which nine focusses on Lifesciences.
Besides Lifesciences and Biotechnology, Telangana is also emerging as one of the tech startup hubs. In fact, it is also growing phenomenally in the fintech, cybersecurity, digital entertainment technology, prototyping, and agritech space.
Jayesh said that the Telangana government has urged — in a proposal to the UK government — to make Hyderabad as its third hub for the aerospace sector, for its already striving aerospace and defence sectors. The UK-India Tech Partnership has made Bengaluru and Pune as its hub.
The state has also managed to address the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of technology by launching T COVID’19 app to provide citizens with preventive care information. It also came up with home-based COVID-19 management solutions, ventilators, testing solutions, and more.
Telangana government also partnered with NASSCOM to help MSMEs that are hit hard in these unprecedented times. It is also creating a platform for women entrepreneurs in rural areas on the back of technology.
TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.