India File

Bhubaneswar plays it smart

Abhishek Law | Updated on January 19, 2018

Young spirit: Entrepreneurs often meet in Bhubaneswar for brainstorming

Popular with start-ups, Odisha's capital benefits from state policy

Move over Kolkata, Bhubaneswar is now the start-up darling in India’s east. The Odisha capital, which recently won the Smart City challenge, is home to a clutch of innovative start-ups such as Milk Mantra, Aabyss, CSM Technologies and Sak Robotix.

Odisha has a lot going for it. Apart from the presence of IT majors like Infosys, TCS and Wipro, there is some proactive action from the government. The Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha government is in the final stages of implementing its start-up policy. Suggested by the Bhubaneswar chapter of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), the draft policy aims to develop a robust ecosystem in five cities of Odisha by 2020. It also looks to attract ₹1,000 crore in investments into the incubation and start-up ecosystem; and ensure venture capital funding to the tune of ₹1,000 crore.

“A three-member steering committee has been formed. With the members of TiE Silicon Valley, this committee is expected to meet regularly and interact with the government to finalise the start-up policy,” says Debasis Patnaik, vice-president, TiE Bhubaneswar.

Industry associations have played a part in nurturing start ups here. “CII has a dedicated team called Young Indians who have brought inventors and start-ups from across the state to showcase their innovations,” says Saugat Mukherjee, Regional Director, CII Eastern Region.

Talent crunch

But the common refrain amongst many start-ups is that Bhubaneswar does not have an institution which encourages and mentors young entrepreneurs. And the absence of facilities to test ideas or prototype products is a challenge. “Yes, there are many B-Schools and engineering colleges but they fail to help the start-ups due to lack of manpower that are tuned to industry’s requirement,” says Sakyasingha Mahapatra, co-founder of SakRobotix Lab. Perhaps it is this refrain that has forced Mahapatra to take to social media to connect with young entrepreneurs. Adds Manoj Kar, founder of the two-month-old start-up, “The business culture of start-ups is not there and failures are frowned upon.”

An eight-hour drive from Bhubaneswar lies the mineral-rich Jharkhand. As per a recent policy adopted by the its government, Jharkhand will be recognised as a “Start-up Village” and will provide financial assistance and create new markets in sectors such as engineering, medical, IT, agriculture, bio-medicine and water harvesting. According to Tarun Daga, Chairman, CII Jharkhand, a research centre will be part of the ‘Start-Up Village’, where the emphasis is on ease of doing business, single-window clearances, rationalisation of procedures and easy access to information.

An incubator, promoted by Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) is coming up in Ranchi and includes a 4.5-acre campus coupled with high-speed internet connectivity and 24-hour power backup. Two more STPIs are coming up in Jamshepdur and Dhanbad. Meanwhile, Bihar has started two incubation centres in Patna.

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Published on February 01, 2016
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