Karnataka to follow five-point framework to boost startups, SMEs: State IT minister Priyank Kharge

Priyank Kharge, the IT and Panchayati Raj minister of Karnataka, said the state will work diligently towards bolstering upskilling, fostering global alliances, and expanding centres of excellence.

Karnataka to follow five-point framework to boost startups, SMEs: State IT minister Priyank Kharge

Saturday September 23, 2023,

4 min Read

Karnataka's Information Technology Minister Priyank M Kharge said the state will help startups and small and medium businesses (SMBs) thrive by focussing on five key areas that drive progress within the ecosystem.

"If Karnataka progresses, the nation progresses. We need to ensure the state is more resilient and that it is ready for the future," Kharge said during a keynote address at the 14th edition of TechSparks 2023 in Bengaluru.

First, the Government of Karnataka has formed a skill advisory committee for emerging technologies, the first such attempt by any state in the country, he claimed. The State IT Minister would head the committee with the Minister of Skill Development as the co-chair, Kharge said.

He said he will be currently leading the committee as it is the first time the state would be talking to the industry and academia directly to understand what skillsets they need.

"If the world needs the most employable human resource, it should come from Karnataka," Kharge noted, adding that the aim is to create the world's biggest skilled talent pool for emerging technologies.

Second, the state will create centres of excellence (CoE), which will act as incubators of innovation. The Government of Karnataka currently runs CoE in the fields of deeptech, Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity, agri-innovation, data sciences, semiconductors, and robotics, among others.

"The centres of excellence has succeeded in churning out many startups, which have broken the boundaries of technology," Kharge said.

By the end of FY24, the Government of Karnataka aims to expand its centres of excellence to greater number of emerging technologies such as health sciences, medical products, manufacturing, automobile technology, biotechnology, and gaming, Kharge said.

"The idea of setting up so many centres is to give enough space for startups to be incubated by the government and to ensure they are market-ready," Kharge emphasised.

Third, the state government will create a global innovation alliance with the participation of 33 countries in America, Europe, and other continents. The strategic partnerships with global nations with enable the Government of Karnataka to facilitate knowledge exchange and understand how global markets function.

"The global innovation alliance will help startups gain market access to partner countries. For example, a cybersecurity startup can secure access to the European Union through the alliance's strategic partnership with Germany," Kharge said, noting that startups require validation, mentorship, and market access as much as they need funding.

Next, the state has coined a concept called 'Beyond Bengaluru' which will enable startups emerging from Bengaluru to flourish beyond the capital. The state will focus on developing information technology (IT) services and manufacturing capabilities outside Bengaluru.

"Startups, SMEs, and large corporations will receive incentives and subsidies to encourage them to set up shop outside Bengaluru," the state IT minister said.

"The next semiconductor revolution in Asia will take place in Karnataka, not just Bengaluru. We have already invested close to Rs 8,000 crore to aid manufacturing. We will ensure that the state grows evenly and sustainably," Kharge added.

Lastly, the Karnataka government will reach out to corporations, MSMEs, and startups to understand what the government can do to ensure the business can thrive and ensure higher ease of doing business.

"We want to know if any rule, regulation, policy or law is detrimental to the progress of businesses," Kharge said, adding that the initiative will ensure all obstacles will be eliminated and allow businesses to operate in a sandbox until regulations can catch up.

"We will ensure that Karnataka will be the pioneer to lead India on the global stage. This will need us to break all boundaries to establish ourselves as leaders," Kharge said.

Edited by Megha Reddy