Bengaluru Tech Summit 2021: How Karnataka fostered the growth of technology and innovation in the state

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Starting from November 17, the three-day event will see participation from 30 different nations and 300 leading IT professionals, technocrats, policymakers, researchers and academics.

“BTS 2021 will drive the next wave of business transformation by bringing together global leaders, Indian corporates, and start-ups. Compelling panel discussions, thought-provoking conversations, presentations from tech-experts, and networking opportunities with innovators; the event will have something for everyone. We are excited to welcome everyone to join the summit virtually as we deep-dive into driving the next level of innovation,” said Ms. Meena Nagaraj C N, IAS, Director, Department of Electronics, IT, Bt, Government of Karnataka and MD, KITS.

As a run up to the much anticipated event, let’s glance through some of Karnataka’s most promising policies and initiatives that have accelerated the growth of the technology industry in the state.

Information Technology Policy

Karnataka Innovation and Technology Society (KITS) plays a critical role in the growth and development of IT and allied knowledge-based industries in Karnataka. KITS has undertaken multiple initiatives to support the state's IT and biotech industries.

Spanning across 58 institutions in 24 districts across the state, Karnataka is home to 47 innovation hubs, six centres of excellence and five technology business incubators.

Working in areas such as artificial intelligence, data science, machine learning, robotics, IoT, cybersecurity, aerospace and defence, and more, the centres of excellence established by the state’s IT department are actively promoting emerging technologies by engaging with several industry players.

The department’s technology business incubators are working in collaboration with leading academic institutions, and are aimed at fostering innovation.

Solidifying its focus on high quality education, new-age research and encouraging the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, GoK has set up Indian Institutes of Information Technology in Dharwad and Raichur, in collaboration with GoI. Additionally, GoK has also set up the International Institute of Information Technology in Bengaluru.

Karnataka Startup Policy

The state is looking to set up an ignition fund on the lines of the government’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) to encourage innovators who might need early stage funding. The funding will be in form of grant-in-aid, limited to a one time grant of upto Rs 50 lakh.

The state is also planning to invite private incubators and accelerators, both Indian and international, to set up world-class incubation centres and accelerators and expand the existing facilities.

GoK and GoI have established labs and common instrumentation facilities like IMTI across the state.

The state will also set up a fund of funds for investing in venture funds that invest in startups across sectors. The fund of funds will be in addition to any pre-existing sector-specific venture funds.

Channelising innovation for social impact, the state also intends to use its startup environment to solve larger social challenges.

A corpus fund will be created to conduct workshops and organise visits to the startup innovation hubs for the students, teachers and incubatees. Additionally, events such as ideathons and startup festivals will be organised to enable and inspire innovation.

Biotechnology Policy

As per a government study, about 40 percent of the state’s biotech industry players have called out the need for further improvement in the ease of doing business. In the light of this, the state is looking to improve the regulatory process for business, bring in transparency, and integrate the process of seeking approvals from various departments through Karnataka Udyog Mitra (KUM).

Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS) will develop a central web portal for facilitation and dissemination of information related to the state’s biotech activities.

With focus on meeting the evolving industry needs, Biotechnology Skill Enhancement Programme (BiSEP) will align its curriculum with the National Vocational Educational Quality Framework (NVEQF) of the NSDC (National Skill Development Council). The aim is to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and its application in the industry and encourage entrepreneurship among students.

Training and development programmes will also be developed for the faculty to keep them abreast of the latest trends and challenges.

To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state’s funding, a mechanism would be introduced that promotes a more effective utilisation of funds to address societal needs, and a share of funding would be earmarked to pursue strategic research projects that help in solving challenges for society at large.

The state will also initiate strategic partnerships with leading global biotech clusters to attract investments and R&D collaboration.

Besides, it will also set up a centralised biological and animal testing facility to support preclinical trials of biopharma and bioservices companies.

KBITS will set up a mentorship cell, consisting of a pool of expert consultants, in association with the Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises (ABLE) to help scientists and startup founders sharpen their skills.

Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) Policy

Karnataka boasts of the highest number of chip design companies in the country. Home to major R&D and innovation centres of many multinational companies, the state attracts talent from across the globe.

GoK in association with NASSCOM initiated a Centre of Excellence (CoE) on IoT in 2016, which is currently operational with 15 companies incubated within the CoE, harnessing the potential of IoT technologies and products.

The government is also setting up a VLSI (very large scale integration) Incubation Centre to provide an incubation facility to VLSI and design startups. The centre will also promote skill development in the VLSI and design space.

The ESDM policy of 2017-22 is looking to develop Karnataka into a global ESDM hub and will focus on areas such as skill development, quality infrastructure, ecosystem support, encouraging startups and MSMEs, and enhancing ease of doing business in the state.

Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Policy

With an aim to develop Karnataka into a leading global AVGC hub, GoK will develop at least one Tier-II city in Karnataka as a hub and a preferred destination after Bengaluru for the AVGC industry.

Additionally, there would be a renewed focus on skill development to create a pool of world-class designers, illustrators, animators, CG artists, technical directors, game developers.

A centre of excellence for animation, gaming and visual effects, an AVGC finishing school, and a digital post production AVGC lab, and incubators will be established to encourage AVGC startups.


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