The largest city in Gujarat, the “Land of the Legends”, Ahmedabad is blessed with spectacular Indo-Persian architecture, mesmerising gardens and numerous lakes (natural and artificial). Renowned as the birthplace of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, Ahmedabad has also emerged as an important economic and industrial hub in India. As of 2014, it was identified as one of the top ten richest cities in the country, with a gross domestic product of $64 Bn. Today, the city also boasts a fast-growing group of startups that are developing innovative solutions to some of the common problems faced by people in the state and India at large.
To bolster the fledgeling startup ecosystem that is emerging in the former capital of Gujarat, Inc42 in partnership with Amazon India recently hosted the fifth instalment of its localised startup meetup series – BIGShift on November 25 in Ahmedabad. The event brought prominent startup founders, influencers, investors, and ecosystem enablers together for an engaging discussion about the challenges of starting up and team building and the much-dreaded fear of failure.
So, Why BIGShift In Ahmedabad?
Gujarat is inhabited by an industrious, business savvy populace. In fact, as per the 14th edition of Dun & Bradstreet India’s, ‘India’s Top 500 Companies’ report, Gujarat is home to 29 of the top 500 Indian corporates, including the likes of Adani Enterprises Ltd., Adani Power, Gujarat Petronet, Cadila Healthcare and Torrent Pharma, among others. In the last few years, the state has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of tech startups, so much so that an entire ecosystem complete with investors, incubators, accelerators and influencers have cropped up around it.
The Government of Gujarat formulated its “Startup Policy” in June 2016, with the goal of bolstering the ecosystem that was taking root in the state. The policy revolved around three main pillars: innovator (one who gets the incentives for his/her ideas and venture); institutions that mentor startups in the initial phase (such as incubators, accelerators, universities, R&D institutions etc.) and government committee, whose role is to approve and finance the projects.
According to former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, the state’s IT and Electronics startup policy was finalised with the aim to promote 2,000 new ventures over the course of five years. Under this policy, the state also announced plans to create 50 incubators to mentor and guide these startups. The state intends to attract a total of $1 Bn (INR 7,000 Cr) of investment through its startup policy.
In January of this year, the state’s current CM Vijaybhai Rupani unveiled India’s first Student Startup and Innovation Policy. As part of the initiative, a State Innovation Fund with a corpus of $29.3 Mn (INR 200 Cr) was also launched, of which around $14.6 Mn (INR 100 Cr) was to be allocated by the state government and the remaining amount by internal sources and departments.