If the government of Karnataka has its way, there will be 20,000 startups in the state by 2020. That will be thanks to its Startup Booster Kit, which provides aspiring entrepreneurs who register with the government’s startup cell with software tools, cloud credits, access to mentors, legal and accounting consultants, access to government funding and incubators.
However, while this is very exciting for potential entrepreneurs, infrastructure in Karnataka’s IT city Bangalore remains dreadful. As Firstpost reported, while Bangalore gives talented young professionals the ease to initiate new ventures, enjoy venture capitalists’ support, and learn business from the roots up, the same talented people are devastated by the battles they must fight every day with terrible traffic and badly potholed roads, simply to get to the office.
Bangalore’s talent battles terrible traffic and potholes every day
This is something the state is taking very seriously. Pavithra Ratnakar, a digital strategy consultant for the government of Karnataka, says: “Infra was a major focus during the recently held Global Investors Meet – Invest Karnataka 2016, and the state has received good response from investors for infra projects. The shelf of projects were identified and displayed on the department website prior to the event so that investors could select projects of their interest.”
Bangalore’s woes cannot be blamed on a single government, says Ratnakar. “There is no doubt the basic infra leaves much to be desired, especially since we have world class startups here that deserve better. But the population growth and influx of migrants has been explosive and exponential for more than two decades now. If every government that has ruled during this 20-year period had been visionary, our woes would not have aggravated to this level.”
Startups can help the state with innovative solutions to infra problems
The Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report 2015 rated Bengaluru as the second fastest growing startup ecosystem in the world. Bangalore is also the only Indian city to be ranked among the best 15 startup ecosystems across the world. This, if nothing else, could be the state government’s biggest motivation to ease Bangalore’s infrastructure woes, and Ratnakar believes it is equal to the task.
“As the official digital strategist and branding consultant to the industries department, I have observed at close quarters the functioning and the commitment of the ministers and the bureaucrats,” she says. “We have one of the best teams now, working hard to resolve the infra issues of the city.”
She points out how, after the investors’ meet, industries minister RV Deshpande revealed that the focus of the government would be on developing air, road and train facilities in Bangalore, as well as building an international convention centre and a business park.
But the government should not be the only entity responsible for Bangalore’s issues, says Ratnakar. “Startups also should come up with innovative ideas to resolve the issues of the city,” she says. “As Dr Kalam said, scientists should work on resolving problems.”
With this hopefully under control, the government’s vision of 20,000 startups by 2020 may well materialise. As of now, the government has proposed to rope in a professional fund manager to take charge of the Rs 200 crore it has set aside for this project, hoping to double the amount. And in the immediate future, there will be a monthly open house for startups, the first of which is scheduled for 17 August at the GoK-Nasscom 10,000 startups warehouse.
What’s your take? Tell us in the comment section below.