The Government of Assam has joined hands with Invest India, the parent organisation of the Startup India initiative, to launch its first startup policy. With this partnership, the state government aims to foster a vibrant support ecosystem for startups in Assam and establish the state as an entrepreneurial hub of Northeast India.
The effort is being led by Ravi Capoor (Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam Industries and Commerce Department) and K K Dwivedi (Commissioner of Industries and Commerce, Government of Assam).
Invest India works under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It recently played a major role during the launch of Startup India Virtual Hub. The Invest India team has helped Assam’s government in drafting the state’s first startup policy under the Department of Industries and Commerce, Assam.
Assam State Startup Policy: The Four Pillars
The Assam startup policy focusses on creating various initiatives and incentives to push employment generation, nurture pre-incubation stage startups and stimulate startup culture in the state.
Digital Support System: Startup Assam Portal
This is envisioned to create a digital startup ecosystem for the state, including a startup portal, and recognition of Assamese startups with a unique ID (MSAI – My Startup Assam Id). The startups registered on this platform will have access to a facility booking system, which will enable them to book and utilise assorted government infrastructure. Also, they will have smooth access to the state-wide infrastructure network and benefits under the Startup policy.
Development Of Infrastructure: Establishing A State-Owned Marquee Incubator
The startup policy aims to set up a state-owned marquee incubator and accelerator in Guwahati. This will act as the hub for all startup related activities in the Northeast. This incubator will provide state-of-the art-facilities such as coworking space, meeting rooms, collaborative hubs, fab labs, investor lounge etc. Not only will it cater to startups needs through physical and virtual incubation facilities, but it will also be home to the Startup Assam Cell, which will act as the policy implementation unit for all the startup-related policies in the state.
Fiscal Incentives And Benefits To Registered Startups
The envisioned startup policy of Assam also projects a roadmap for providing funding options to the registered startups. This includes setting up of an Assam angel network, loan schemes with interest subsidy, among other reimbursement and subsidy incentives. Registered startups will also receive incentives for filing patents and other non-fiscal incentives.
Human Capital Development
The policy also focusses on building academic intervention to catch the interest of the youth and their talent early-on to create a shift in mindset. The state government also aims to launch an online learning and development programme in Assamese. In addition to this, the Government has also agreed to organise various startup centric events to build startup culture among various stakeholders and providing a platform for innovators to showcase their ideas.
The draft is now out for public opinion and feedback and is due to be notified soon.
Recent Startup Initiatives By Other Indian States
To date, 15 Indian states have already announced their startup policies. This includes Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Of these, Goa is the most recent one to launch a Startup Policy in June 2017. The aim of the policy is to create 5,000 new jobs in the IT sector, over the next five years. It will also work towards putting Goa on the global startup ecosystem map by 2025. Earlier, the Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had allocated a fund of about $25 Mn for the state’s IT sector, which included $2.29 Mn for startups, with an aim of creating 4,000 jobs per year.
The Haryana government allocated a fund of $150 Mn for small and medium scale industries. Following this, the Bihar government launched the state’s startup policy, with a venture capital fund of $750 Mn. In the same month, the Chhattisgarh government started the ‘Startup Chhattisgarh’ initiative. The Karnataka State Government also launched a fund of $1.2Mn for the Karnataka Startup Cell. Later the Tamil Nadu Government also expressed it’s intentions to provide maximum support to the startups in the state.
In May 2017, Karnataka State Government launched the elevate programme to aid around 1,000 startups in small towns and cities. The state government has so far funded 26 biotech startups and allocated funds of $1.5 Mn for agritech startups. A fund of $1.4 Mn had also been allocated for the women entrepreneurs of the state.
Invest India team has truly given wings to PM Narendra Modi’s Startup India vision. Now, in partnership with Assam state government it is working to help the state to position its startup policy on the map of India.