Even as the Centre is incubating a start-ups policy for the nation, Karnataka on Tuesday announced it would facilitate the birth of 20,000 start-ups in the state by 2020. These ventures, the government believes, will help create 18 lakh jobs — 6 lakh direct and 12 lakh indirect. Karnataka, according to Nasscom data, is already the largest hub for technology start-ups in the country and houses most of the 4,400 ventures. The state proposes to offer entrepreneurs financial incentives to get them going.
The Rajasthan government recently announced a Rs 500-crore fund to support start-ups. The northern state promised it would create 50 incubators and that 500 innovative start-ups would be supported with additional space.
Similarly, the Andhra Pradesh government too is incentivising entrepreneurs by offering them the sops given to micro, small and medium enterprises in the state’s IT policy. In addition, incubators will be allocated space and special dispensation for start-ups backed by private equity/venture capital funding would be created.
V Manjula, principal secretary, department of IT & BT, Karnataka, said the state would provide resources for setting up the technology incubation centres, early-stage funding and reimburse patent filing costs.
Karnataka hopes to differentiate itself by encompassing the biotechnology and manufacturing sectors. Moreover, the government is keen that the start-up trend moves into the tier 2 and 3 cities with a focus on agriculture. It will hand-hold entrepreneurs via a start-up cell which will act as a one-stop shop. Chief minister S Siddaramaiah has also promised a regular review of the progress of the units. Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar said that the two main areas of focus on start-ups would be ease of doing business and taxation. He felt start-ups should have enough flexibility to easily start their venture as well as wind up their business.
Venture capitalists and the angel investment community have been concerned at the proposed taxes on their investments. Former Infosys board member and a venture capitalist, V Balakrishnan believes the state government should encourage start-ups. “States like Rajasthan have figured out that start-ups will create the much-needed employment and we need to come out with a good policy for start-ups,” Balakrishnan said, adding that the registration processes needed to be simplified. “All these young kids need not be hassled by the various regulations and the government can give them some sort of moratorium for a certain period of time,” he said.
The Karnataka Start-up Policy 2015-2020 is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship, setting up incubation centres, fostering strong partnerships between research and development and industry, and providing early-stage funding to start-ups. The start-up programme of the state government comes under the ambit of Karnataka i4 (information technology, IT-enabled services, innovation, incentives) Policy aims at taking IT to the tier 2 and 3 towns.