In synchronisation with various central efforts like the Make In India, Startup India, Atal Innovation Mission, National Innovation Council etc., the Government of Gujarat has taken some concrete steps to support creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
POLICY INTERVENTIONS UNDERTAKEN BY GUJARAT FOR INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
In 2013, the State Innovation Council was constituted under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary and the ambit of the Department of Science and Technology to set an agenda of innovation for the state at macro level.
Subsequently, as a part of the 2015 Industrial Policy, an ‘Assistance Scheme for Startups and Innovations’ was launched by the Department of Industries and Mines to provide seed funding support to early stage startups.
In June 2016, the Department of Science and Technology of the state released the Electronics & IT/ITeS Startup Policy for supporting incubation infrastructure and allied support links, for ICT startups.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are not only confined to formal sectors and initiatives like the Gujarat Grassroots Innovation and Augmentation Network (GIAN) have created support systems to help the innovations in the informal sector in the state.
More than 10 incubators supported by Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, exist in the state and a few more are supported by central agencies such as DeiTy, DBT and MSME department.
Furthermore, iCreate is a public funded incubator established by the state Government.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF UNIVERSITIES AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTES IN GUJARAT’S STARTUP ECOSYSTEM
Ahmedabad has the highest number of DST (Govt. of India) approved Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) - 10 - in any city. 8 out of these 10 are a part of academic institutions.
Out of the 20 Nodal Institutions (NIs) under the Startup Assistance Scheme of Gujarat Industrial Policy 2015, 18 are academic institutions.
The supply side of the innovation and startup value chain of Gujarat ecosystem is deeply rooted around research, project, and innovation activities across universities in Gujarat.
Gujarat took the first ever student startup initiative in the country at Gujarat Technological University which was later on scaled across universities in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
Nearly 200 student startups initiate across universities in Gujarat every year.
AICTE, under the ambit of the HRD Ministry, Government of India, is launching its own Startup Policy catering to technical institutes across the country including the institutes in Gujarat.
The existing massive pool of faculty members, researchers and research ecosystem, and common facilities are avenues for new ideas to get nourished in university system itself before young innovators have to approach external support in order to become a full-fledged startup.
The national Startup India action plan aims to create support for three layers: a) student startups / university innovation-based enterprises, b) existing startups in the country that exist at the post-incubation stage, and c) top, growth-stage startups that need regulatory and allied supports.
The Innovation and Preincubation Ecosystem Support (IPIES) Policy of Gujarat shall cater to the first layer of student startups and innovation ecosystem, and create base-level interventions to support the Gujarat startup ecosystem at all the layers.
NEED FOR CREATING END-TO-END SUPPORT FOR INNOVATIONS VIA EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTES
A progressive innovation and startup ecosystem comprises of several key components, mainly a vibrant academia led innovation, preincubation, incubation, acceleration, access to seed, angel and venture capital funding, market access, practical regulatory support, ease of doing business and growth and upscaling environment with government’s ownership to drive the agenda.
Interventions like the state’s assistance scheme for startups and innovations shall attain its optimum efficiency when a quality pool of innovations and early stage startups emerge from the ecosystem of Gujarat every year.
Gujarat has systematically built systems such as Gujarat Venture Fund Limited (GVFL), assistance scheme for startups, state-funded incubation facilities, such as iCreate, annual platform to showcase and discourse, etc.
While the existing support links are well positioned to help startups with funding, there is a wide-gap in the innovation development and preincubation phase.