Nagpur, or the orange city as we like to call it, tops the chart as one of the best cities in the country in terms of livability, greenery, public transport and access to healthcare. As per Swachh Sarvekshan 2016, the third largest city of Maharashtra also ranks high in the ‘clean city’ list. In September last year, Nagpur was awarded the Smart City status and has since emerged as the foremost smart city in India. And very recently, the city also became India’s first city to have an electric vehicle charging station. With a rich history that has seen the rise and fall of several mighty dynasties, Nagpur today is home to an industrious, cricket-loving population. Hailed as a major commercial hub in central India, the city has witnessed massive economic development and urbanisation in the last few decades. Riding on this growth, a large number of startups have also emerged in Nagpur in the recent times.
To bolster the fledgeling startup ecosystem that is taking root in this city, Inc42 in partnership with Amazon India recently hosted the fourth instalment of its localised meetup series – BIGShift on November 11 in Nagpur at Chaos Theory, a coworking space. The event brought prominent startup founders, influencers, investors, and ecosystem enablers together for a stimulating discourse about the importance of proper market research and the challenges of fundraising and team building.
BIGShift, for the uninitiated, is a one-of-a-kind series of localised startup events spread across eight cities. Inc42 and Amazon India have already successfully concluded BIGShift in Chandigarh, Kolkata and Indore. Through BIGShift, Amazon India and Inc42 are looking to support the startup ecosystem that is building up in cities beyond Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The aim is to help bridge the gap that currently exists between the ecosystems in tier I and tier II cities by making the essential resources available to fledgeling startups in these geographies. In the next leg, BIGShift will be hosted in Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Vizag and Kanpur.
So, Why BIGShift In Nagpur?
Boasting a GDP of $209 Bn, Maharashtra is hailed as the country’s wealthiest city. Its booming startup ecosystem rivals that of Bengaluru and Delhi. As per Inc42 DataLabs, between January 2017 and September 2017, Maharashtra-based startups raised more than $868 Mn across 135 deals. While Mumbai is seen by many as the Mecca for startups, other cities in the state that are slowly emerging as startup hubs include Pune and Nagpur.
To bolster the still-nascent startup ecosystem in these cities, the Maharashtra government has launched a number of startup-centric initiatives in the last few months. In an attempt to make buying/renting spaces for startups easy, for instance, the state’s government proposed to issue a 100% waiver to startups or incubators on stamp duty and registration charges on their first transaction and 50% waiver on their second transaction in April 2017. In its draft Innovation and Startup Policy, the Maharashtra state government also announced plans to introduce a range of funding concessions for budding entrepreneurs and SMBs.
According to the state’s Startup Policy, the government is aiming to attract more than $779 Mn (INR 5,000 Cr) investment for the growth of startups, developing at least 2,000 startups over the next five years and at least 1 Mn sq ft incubation space.