Maharashtra has an annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over INR 28 Tn ($ 390 Bn) and contributes around 15% towards India’s GDP. It is one of the most entrepreneurial states in India and has a dynamic startup ecosystem with close to 3K startups. In 2018, Maharashtra saw the registration of around 2,787 startups out of 14,565 across the county, helping it score the status of an emerging state in the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade’s (DPIIT) Startup ranking for 2018. Much of this was credited to Mumbai, which has the third largest startup base in India, after Bengaluru and Delhi NCR in terms of number of startups funded and the number of deals, according to Inc42 Datalabs.
The Maharashtra Startup Week
There are many government schemes in place for driving an innovation-driven startup ecosystem in the state. The launch of Maharashtra Startup Week, in January 2018, is one of the major steps towards that goal.
The annual flagship event, Maharashtra Startup Week, accepts applications from startups across different sectors, such as Healthcare, Agriculture, Sustainability, etc. The event’s main focus lies on long term Business-to-Government (B2G) collaborations with the startups. It addresses socio-economic challenges through identifying startups, from all over India, developing promising solutions and deploying them through the government machinery. In the year of its inception, the event received applications from 900 startups, which rose to over 1,500 this year.
Startups From Maharashtra Week 2018 Aiding Government Projects
Owing to the work of The Maharashtra Startup Week, startups from different sectors are working on pilots with the government of Maharashtra. Providing cutting edge innovations to the implementation of the government schemes are startups who were part of the Maharashtra Startup Week 2018, namely:
Founded in 2017 and located in Pune, the startup helps organisations achieve resource optimisation through their technologically advanced solutions. Their solutions help consume less energy, improve system utilisation, increase reliability, offer predictive analysis, assure equipment efficiency, and generate insights that would help identify where and how to optimise resources and achieve sustainability.
The startup is currently working with MSEDCL (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited) for implementation of Energy Monitoring System at multiple substations in Pune, for real-time data acquisition over Modbus/TCP IP Network, removing manual error and monitoring and determining wastage in energy consumption with identification of specific energy wastage area.
Founded in 2017, Ecosattva aims to use its solutions to eliminate waste completely, by treating waste water using natural Root Zone technology. The Aurangabad-based startup make water reusable and increase biodiversity and green cover through Ecoscaping and Dense Forestry.
The startup is currently running a pilot in the native dense forest plantation on 5000 sq.ft. area in Aurangabad using Miyawaki technology. The key aim of the project is to bring about a biodiversity-friendly plantation design for fast growth of plants.
The Mumbai based startup aims to provide Unmanned Marine Vehicles solutions for commercial, defence and scientific purposes in the maritime sector. Founded in 2015, Sagar Defence Engineering has built an unmanned ocean robot for the Indian Armed Forces, which can collect ocean data in real time and unpredictable conditions. Apart from this it can also clean water bodies through water drones.
Taking cognisance of the innovation by Sagar Defence Engineering, the government of Maharashtra is currently running a pilot with the startup and is working on the onerous task of cleaning the water bodies in Maharashtra. This became particularly helpful during the Ganeshotsav festival in the state in 2018. During Ganeshotsav a lot of floating matter ends up in water bodies. PCMC was looking for solutions to clean these and found an answer in Sagar Defence Engineering’s Unmanned Marine Vehicle. These vehicles clean surface matter using advanced technology.
During the pilot project with the PCMC over 1.7 tonnes of floating matter was collected in Ganeshotsav 2018 and seeing the magnanimous results, the pilot was extended to Nagpur and Mumbai.
With a country as large and diverse as India, equal literacy often becomes a problem. State governments have been challenging this peril through various initiatives. One of the challenges with a large number of students is conducting the common exams, both offline, due to logistical issues and online due to poor internet connection in many parts of the state. Thus, a mechanism facilitating an easy solution is always welcome. One startup solving this is Offee.
Founded in 2017 and located in Mumbai, Orage Digital’s Offee offers a hyperlocal content distribution platform, which does not rely on internet or data connectivity. It is a personalised blended learning solution to engage students and teachers anytime, anywhere on any device in any classroom without using internet or data connection. One simply needs to own an Offee device which has the content, the device then sounds out a WiFi signal creating a media stream, once connected a user can browse or download the content of his choice.
Maharashtra’s Common Entrance cell found the solution to be very useful considering the current challenge which they were facing for catering to interior areas of the state. MH CET cell had announced Practice Test using offee devices , especially for the benefit of the Rural Candidates with the help of the Unaided Engineering Colleges in the State of Maharashtra.
Around 25000 students appeared in this test, which impact was higher that online paid practice test conducted by big players in the eco system..The Maharashtra government found the product very useful for students who wanted to appear for exams from areas where internet connectivity is poor or non-existent. Approximately 50,000 students from universities in Aurangabad, Nanded and Pune took the April 2019 MH-CET (Maharashtra’s Common Entrance Test) mock test through Offee.
Government As A Platform For Startups
The Maharashtra Government is working towards improving citizen services and nurturing a thriving ecosystem with opportunities for growth and collaboration. From startups like Offee, Sagar Defence, S4S etc. Maharashtra is obtaining solutions for a lot of its environmental and developmental concerns. From Sagar Defence’s water drones helping in cleaning the water bodies during Ganeshotsav, to Offee enabling students, from poorly connected areas, to take MH-CET, to S4S leveraging solar technologies to farmers in Aurangabad, the government has made it abundantly clear that these startups are the answers they needed.
“Getting ‘Government as a Platform’ right means thinking beyond the technology. This new dynamic changes all aspects of government, including operating models, processes, skills and culture, and stakeholder relationships. Public services do not always have to be produced by government agencies anymore. In the digital era, the private sector, NGOs and citizens can help power public services through technology-often faster, more organically and with better user experiences,” Aseem Kumar Gupta, Principal Secretary, Department of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Govt. of Maharashtra.
By pushing Indian Entrepreneurs to be more innovative and solve domestic problems, the government paves way for more employment, and in turn, overall socio-economic development of the state. The government of Maharashtra is working hard and fast towards trying to be the largest startup ecosystem in Asia.
How The Maharashtra Govt Is Propelling The State’s Startup Ecosystem
There are many initiatives undertaken by the Maharashtra Government towards their aim of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and, in turn, boosting the startup ecosystem of the state. The state’s policies around providing easy funding, infrastructure and fiscal incentives have helped startups build up their business ideas to a great extent. The Maharashtra State Innovative Startup Policy, the Fintech Policy 2018, and the Maharashtra State Innovation Society (MSInS), all encourage Indian entrepreneurs for business ideas in new age sectors.