Startups are the places where tomorrow is invented, where emerging technologies like AI and machine learning thrive. All forward-looking countries count on startups to turbocharge their economies and create jobs.
That said, most startups are fighting teething problems in terms of finances, product development, or industry connections and are in dire need of manure. Both central and state governments acknowledge the importance of startups in the economic narrative and have, in turn, come up with projects to throw their weight behind these companies.
In this article, we list the top startup missions across various states in India.
The Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) was founded in 2006 and has played a pivotal role in developing a vibrant startup ecosystem in Kerala. The mission supports startups with incubation centres, labs, tech innovation zones, fundings and infrastructure facilities. KSUM provides a 3-month accelerator program to provide industry exposure to promising startups. The Future Technologies Lab is a KSUM initiative to provide the necessary tools, equipment, and infrastructure for the R&D of emerging technologies, including AI, robotics and brain-computer interface. The startups have access to dedicated supercomputers for AI and other equipment like controller boards, motors, etc.
Telangana declared 2020 as the year of AI with a vision to become leaders in emerging technologies. The government undertook several projects with mobility, healthcare and agriculture as major focus areas. The government helps with funds for startups working in ‘AI for social good’, make necessary infrastructure available, and collaborate with incubators or accelerators to run AI startup internship programs. The government also plans to establish AI research hubs to help AI startups participate in R&D projects. As part of this initiative, the government recently launched the T-AIM mission, in collaboration with NASSCOM, to encourage startups and institutions to develop innovative AI use cases specific to agriculture.
Tamil Nadu set up Startup TN in 2019 as part of the Startup & Innovation Policy 2018-2023, with a vision to turn Tamil Nadu into a startup destination. The government aims to make the state a ‘global Innovation hub for startups’ by 2023. The mission is to create 5,000 technology startups with at least ten high-growth firms in the social impact sector. The government will provide infrastructure support in areas like AI, ML, IoT, SaaS. It also aims to maximise industry engagement, provide adequate incentives, and ease regulations. Under the policy, AI/ML firms are treated as startups until ten years since their inception, while other startups get seven years.
Gujarat was the best performer in the State Start-up ranking of 2019. The Startup Gujarat policy was created to assist individuals or groups with innovative ideas. As part of this scheme, the government has run various acceleration programmes through organisations such as iCreate. Ahmedabad-based iCreate is an autonomous technology business incubation centre that works with entrepreneurs, technology enthusiasts, and innovators in the AI, ML, and IoT sectors and provides support such as office space, mentors, market access and funding. Tech companies like Cisco have collaborated with iCreate to set up labs and R&D centres. iCreate runs an iELT Accelerator Program, spanning over four weeks, to help with product/market fit for startups.
The Maharashtra State Innovation Society is a nodal government agency to boost the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Maharashtra. Maharashtra State Innovative Startup Policy aims to develop a robust startup ecosystem by encouraging entrepreneurs to design novel solutions in new-age sectors such as AI, IoT, biotechnology, etc. With a focus on FinTech, the government aims to empower the state’s incubation and a seed funding mechanism. The society has several incubation centres spread across the state, including universities and research institutes focusing on technology.
The Rajasthan government has started a single-window resource for startups, investors, incubators, accelerators, and mentors. The initiative is focused on helping startups at different stages and cutting the red tape. Called iStart, the initiative has a dedicated technology fund to back emerging startups. The state also has set up technology hubs offering free space, connectivity, mentorship and exposure to the startups. iStart has awarded more than 30 work orders to startups focusing on IT, AI, FinTech, EdTech, etc.