Odisha aims to be leading startup hub in India: MSME Minister

Bhubaneswar: Make in Odisha Conclave-2022, one of the largest investment summits in the country, today began with a plenary session with CXOs and industry leaders.

The first day of the conclave witnessed a thematic session hosted by Startup Odisha with the theme ‘Startups Paradigm Shift and the Road Ahead’ that showcased Odisha’s growing startup ecosystem, trends and emerging opportunities in the start-up world.

The session touched upon the entrepreneurial culture, economic and business transformation and building of a sustainable and scalable start-up ecosystem. The thematic session was conducted in the presence of Startup Odisha Executive Chairman Dr. Omkar Rai and MSME Department Principal Secretary Saswat Mishra, veteran industry leader Padma Bhushan Ajai Choudhary, Co-Founder, HCL Technologies and Chairman of taskforce for Electronics – MEITY.

Chairman of FICCI Startup Committee was the chief guest of the thematic session. INTEL INDIA Country Head Nivruti Rai graced the inaugural session as the guest of honour.

Speaking at the valedictory session of the thematic session MSME Minister Pratap Keshari Deb said, “Over the years, Odisha has been pioneering pathbreaking policies that have attracted significant innovation and investment in various industry sectors. Our aim is to emerge as the leading start-up hub in the country through strategic partnerships, conducive investment and favorable policies. Odisha has been recognized as the ‘Top Performer’ state in the startup ranking 2021 and this is largely due to the inclusive approach and a conducive startup ecosystem in the state.  Over the last five years, we have built several world-class incubators and created a large talent-pool of mentors. Today, Odisha has over a thousand successful startups that are being mentored at around 25 incubators. The state government is keen to boost innovation among young people and has initiated several programs like Startup Yatra 2.0 to motivate youngsters to innovate and fulfil their dreams.”

In his address, MSME department Principal Secretary Saswat Mishra said, “Make in Odisha Conclave-2022 is a unique opportunity to understand Odisha’s policy and regulatory environment, wherein a platform is provided for investors and potential manufacturers. The state government is open to policy change, including a complete overhaul of the existing start-up policy. Start-ups can play a huge part in creating job opportunities and solving day-to-day problems of the society. Through this conclave, we aim to build the state of Odisha as a preferred destination for investment and maximize the technology and innovation potential by boosting the start-up ecosystem. Through Make in Odisha Conclave-2022, we are keen to encourage start-ups not only from the IT sector but other sectors as well to be creative and convert their ideas into tangible products”

Speaking about the growing start-up ecosystem in the state, Startup Odisha Executive Chairman Dr. Omkar Rai said, “Make in Odisha Conclave-2022 is the perfect platform for start-ups to interact with investors, mentors and leaders with Startup Odisha playing the role of an enabler, having set up 25 active incubators and supported 1,434 start-ups since 2016 of which, 590 start-ups are led by women. We intend to give additional thrust to the startup ecosystem by granting better incentives to prospective entrepreneurs. A fund-of-funds scheme has been promulgated by Startup Odisha under which AIFs of national and global repute participated, thereby provisioning an investment of Rs 950 crore into state-based Startups. AWE Fund, IAN – Alpha Fund, Gujarat Venture Finance Limited, Unicorn India Ventures, Trillium Venture Capital, SEA Fund and PONTAQ Venture Capital are the participants of this scheme for mobilizing the provisioned investment”.

“Today, there is a great potential for hardware startups. We have the design capability and we need to combine it with electronic manufacturing to make the most of this opportunity. We are a huge importing country, in terms of electronics and the time has come for us to make bold decisions and create differentiated products by leveraging our software and hardware capabilities,” said Ajai Chowdhry in his address.

Nivruti Rai, in her address, said, “Odisha has done very well to achieve what it has achieved today but it cannot move ahead by doing the same things. Three important ingredients of a startup ecosystem are innovation, entrepreneurship and favourable policy and Odisha ticks all those boxes. The state has high spirit of entrepreneurship but needs enhanced innovation.”

Madhavan Narayan, former senior editor, Hindustan Times and panelists including Padmaja Ruparel, founding partner, IAN, Raj Mishra, founder, Indea Capital, Shanti Mohan, co-founder and CEO, Letsventure, Prem Barthsarathy, managing partner, PONTAQ, Manoj Kumar Agarwal, managing partner, SEAFUND and Anil Joshi, founder and managing partner, UNICORN India deliberated on ‘Investors outlook on building scalable Innovation’.

The unicorn panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Omkar Rai and panelists included Vishal Chaudhary, co-founder, Zetwerk, Amarendra Sahu, co-founder, Nestaway, Rahul Dash, co-founder, Purplle and Partha Dash, managing director, Moglix.

Numerous participants, including various businesspersons, government officials and students took part in the session. The theme was ‘Entrepreneurship-Essence of New Odisha’.

The valedictory session of the thematic session witnessed the felicitation of Unicorn Founders by Minister Pratap Keshari Deb. A total of five MoUs and seven letters of intent were signed during the conclave. Startup Yatra Awards were also distributed at the event. The vote of thanks was delivered by Debashish Patnaik, president TiE Bhubaneshwar.

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