Incubate startups to foster a budding entrepreneurial culture
Just as a newborn needs proper care and nutrition for it to bloom as it should, a startup is a business baby that needs to be taken care of while it takes its initial steps.
Incubation centres help a great deal in providing the startups with a much-needed push—strategy, financial, marketing, operation and business. According to a PwC India report, in the third quarter of the year, Indian startups have received funding of $10.9 billion across 347 deals.
The staggering sum goes on to prove that the startup world is the in-thing and investors, venture capitalists, FIIs are pumping in their money in innovative and scale-able ideas to churn more money, and create a burgeoning startup ecosystem that generates more employment.
This is not just a practice or a coincidence; this means that the incubation centres and startups are fostering the budding entrepreneurial culture in India.
Pickup for startups In the 21st century, startups have been the most important change for India. With expertise at their behest, a startup surely is more productive and is bold in its choices and often comes out with unexpectedly good results. Basically, such centres promote innovation and give them the freedom to fall and rise and ultimately succeed.
One such small example of an Indian incubated startup, Aloe E-cell, that recently received an MeitY grant, solves the problem of hazardous batteries by creating the world's first non-hazardous and eco-friendly 1.5V AA size batteries made from aloe vera. Startups such as these not only innovate but also solve world problems and offer a better solution and a worthy substitute.
Vocal for local
It has now been well-established that technological entrepreneurship is a big lever to accelerate economic growth. As per an MoMSME (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) report, India is ranked third in the biggest startup hubs in the world.
One of the primary means to accelerate entrepreneurship is by supporting collaborative programs such as incubators. During the past three decades, over 140 publicly-funded incubators (business and academic) have been established, and more than a hundred are in the pipeline under the Startup India Programme initiative. While most of the startups are concentrated in metro and Tier 1 cities, there is a need (and growing demand) for such incubators in Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities.
The focus and spotlight should be on universities and colleges, for them to build academic incubators in their campuses, and leverage the regional talent, by providing them with the all the necessary technological, financial and other support systems.
The Indian government has also taken cognizance of the role academic incubators play in the current scenario and owing to which through its plethora of schemes and policies they are supporting academic incubators.
Schemes such as MoMSME, DST (Department of Science and Technology), MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), NITI Aayog, Idex Bionest are some of the departments and ministries which are working actively for the academic and other incubators.
Catch them young and bright
The role of educational institutes is no more limited to providing quality education, placements, sports facilities and smart infrastructure. Their roles (colleges and universities) have increased exponentially amidst the wave of innovation and entrepreneurship.
There is a huge potential in the college-going students, their curiosity and drive push them to go beyond classrooms and flex their brain muscles towards innovative thinking.
The idea is to catch these kids young and bright and provide them with all the infrastructure, mentoring, handholding, guidance and investment support so that these students can transform their idea into reality at an early stage.
Academic incubators, besides catering to students and entrepreneurs, have to ensure that they have a proper process in place. Process and policies such as the startup policy of an academic incubator serve as an SOP for the incubation centre, and the growth can be tracked with other key performance indicators.
If we look at the unicorns in India, there are over 66 unicorns, and in the current year, we have added over 33 unicorns. Now, these numbers are really encouraging to the extent that students have an inclination towards becoming an entrepreneur.
Culture of helping
These days, students are more inclined towards starting businesses of their own, rather than joining an established organisation. This is due to their oozing creativity properly channelised by concepts such as an incubation centre.
The startup boom in India is not just a testament to a growing entrepreneurial culture, but vehicles such as incubation centres also foster a helping culture, a thought of growing together.
Incubation centres and their way of functioning is a gentle reminder of a relationship of assistance over one-upmanship, of camaraderie over competition, and of all-inclusive growth over exclusive growth.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)