Bengaluru, which has one of the the world's youngest start-up ecosystems, with 37 per cent of the population in the age group of 15-35 years, has been witness to the launch of over 11,000 start-ups, attracting venture capital inflow worth $28 billion in the recent past, claims Meena Nagaraj, Director, Dept. of Electronics, IT & BT, Karnataka.

Speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Govt Funding, Grants and Schemes for Entrepreneurs’ at the ‘Bengaluru Tech Summit 2021’ on Thursday, she highlighted various policy interventions and incentives rolled out by the state government that have helped Bengaluru emerge as one of the best avenues for entrepreneurs. “The city was ranked 23rd this year in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report published by Startup Genome, making it the only city in the country to be in the Top 100”, she said.

Recently, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade ranked Karnataka as the top performer in the start-up sector in the country. This is a result of the institutional support and incubation networks, as well as awareness and outreach, she added. Initiatives are also being undertaken towards seed funding and venture fund support, along with certain tax exemptions and grant-in-aid, she noted.

“So far 470 projects have been funded, with 181 prototypes being built and 13 patents filed” through the ELEVATE programme to support early start-ups, she said. Idea validation and mentoring are provided by a dedicated portal. Meena pointed out that the AMRUT start-up initiative and UNNATI to cater to the weaker sections, along with Grand Challenges-Karnataka, add to the list of initiatives by the state.

Gunjan Krishna, Commissioner for Industrial Development and Director, Department. of Industries and Commerce, said: “Our (Karnataka’s) financial incentives are the best in India and we have ready-made infrastructure available for setting up industry, with lands available throughout the length and breadth of the State”.

She highlighted the availability of highly-skilled labour, comprising well-connected demand centers that provide world-class social infrastructure for industrial houses. Gunjan said, “Karnataka’s New Industrial Policy 2020-2025 envisions it to become a global leader, creating an ecosystem for inclusive, balanced and sustainable development of the state”

Focusing on the development and promotion of the MSME sector, she said Karnataka gives subsidies based on the value of assets and upon the zones it falls under, and more incentives are given in Tier 1 and II cities, especially in the Kalyana Karnataka region, to foster growth, she added.