The first day of Rajasthan DigiFest 2022 featured a large-scale startup exhibition to help startups across industries showcase their offerings
The two-day event will feature startup exhibitions, live pitching sessions and on-the-spot funding deals
Through the fest, the Rajasthan government aims to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship among the youth and bring them employment opportunities
The Rajasthan government’s initiative to boost startup innovation in the state — Rajasthan DigiFest 2022 kicked off on Friday (August 19). The two-day event, which aims to bring entrepreneurs, students and enablers of the startup world together under a single roof, commenced at Birla Auditorium in Jaipur. More than 15K participants attended the first day of the event.
The fest featured a large-scale startup exhibition to help startups across industries showcase their offerings and give them an opportunity to interact with VCs, founders and government officials. Several startups recognised by iStart Rajasthan put up their stalls to showcase and sell their products to a wide range of audience, including students, investors and SHGs (self help groups).
For instance, Kartikey Gupta, founder of Jaipur-based foldable EV startup UPXO, told the Inc42 team that his startup received an overwhelmingly positive response from the attendees at the event, especially VC firms.
The fest is also facilitating an online marketplace or eBazaar to help the startups enhance their visibility online.
“More than 150 startups will be attending the two-day event. We’ll be facilitating live pitching sessions and are expecting on-the-spot funding by several investors who will be joining us for the event,” said Ashish Gupta, commissioner and joint secretary, Department of Information Technology & Communication, Rajasthan.
He added that the attending startups can also register for the Rajasthan government’s tech employability platform R-CAT (Rajiv Gandhi Centre of Advance Technology) to help them upgrade their tech knowledge. “We have partnered with six big companies, including Oracle and Cisco, on R-CAT to help startups grow,” he said.
R-CAT is an initiative of the Rajasthan government to enhance employability opportunities for tech graduates in the state and to offer them training and certification programmes in the field of IT.
The first day of the event also featured panel discussions, fireside chats and knowledge sessions on themes such as building the next sportstech unicorn, India’s fintech ecosystem and designing products for the Metaverse.
Encouraging Entrepreneurship Among Youth
Through DigiFest, the government aims to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship among the youth of Rajasthan and bring them employment opportunities, Gupta said.
For this, the fest hosted an ‘IT for Youth’ section, targeting students, working professionals and job seekers. It offered them a place for collaboration with several IT firms and enabled them to register for R-CAT. Students can apply for several short-term and long-term certificate courses through R-CAT to become industry-ready, said Gupta.
The state government is also looking to build co-working spaces across Rajasthan for startups, professionals and students to collaborate and nurture ideas, Gupta said.
In addition, the Rajasthan government is also planning to develop a fintech university in the state to foster innovation, he added.
Building A Global Startup Hub
Government initiatives, combined with technology adoption and individual efforts, are helping Rajasthan rise among the ranks of India’s top startup hubs.
Speaking to Inc42, several startups at the event said that they are now not only selling their products in India but have also expanded to the international market.
A representative from Barmer Bazaar, a startup that sells handmade artisan products, said that it has sold its products to many international customers and aspires to become a local brand for a global audience. Agritech startup EF Polymer’s representative at the event revealed that while its offerings primarily help India’s farmers in Uttar Pradesh, it has also expanded its presence in Japan.
“There is no dearth of ideas here, people just need the right guidance from the government and private players to help them grow,” said Gupta.
The government will also be signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with many investors attending the event to ensure that startups in Rajasthan receive the monetary support they need to help them achieve success, Gupta added.