Odisha government is working on a strategy to help start-ups tide the pandemic crisis: Prasanta Biswal

The onslaught of pandemic has caused a devastating impact on the global business which has gone for a toss. The fledgling start-ups are also bearing the brunt of outbreak followed by lockdown. Odisha, despite being a small state has been doing commendable job in promoting start-ups over the past few years.

But how the current pandemic has impacted the growth of start-ups?

Chalgenius tries to find the answers from Prasanta Biswal who is an evangelist with Startup Odisha, an initiative of Odisha government.

Despite being a small state, Odisha is very active in promoting start-ups. Tell us about how the start-up policy of the state government.

Odisha`s journey over the last two decade has been nothing less than a start-up itself. The State under the leadership of Hon`ble Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik has emerged from its infamous past to become one of the fastest growing states in the country. Carefully designed policies of the state Govt. have made the state an attractive investment destination for many sectors.

In 2016, the Hon`ble Chief Minister unveiled the Odisha Startup Policy to develop an enabling ecosystem for start-ups in the state. The Policy aims to support at least 1000 start-ups in the state and make Odisha one of the top three start-up Hubs in the country in five years.

‘Startup Odisha’, the states start-up mission under the aegis of the MSME Department has been entrusted to implement the Odisha start-up Policy. The policy has provisions of financial assistance to start-ups and Incubators, policy and ecosystem, development assistance for the entire Startup community of the State as well as help develop the culture of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the State.

Starting with Monthly allowance of Rs. 20,000 per month for 12 months, Rs. 15 lakh for product development & marketing Odisha start-up Policy provides rental subsidies; need based grants etc. to start-ups recognised under start-up Odisha.

Do you also promote start-ups from other states?

Startup Odisha supports start-ups recognised under it. To be recognised under Startup Odisha, apart from meeting all necessary criteria’s, a Start-up has to be either incorporated in the state or at least 50% of its employed workforce has to be physically based in Odisha. So technically yes, a start-up from another state meeting the 50% employment criteria can get recognised and assistance under Odisha Startup Policy.

How many start-ups is government actively working with?

We currently have 595 recognised Startups in the state and the number keeps increasing at an average of 20 new Startups per month.

Do you also collaborate with private institutions in promoting start-ups? If Yes, then how

Yes, we collaborate with private institutions in multiple ways. Private academic institutions have set up Incubators recognised and supported by Startup Odisha to provide incubation services to start-ups. Similarly, we partner with Corporates, Venture Capital Funds, accelerators etc. to bring in value added services for state based start-ups.

How you think start-ups in Odisha has been impacted due to lockdown and pandemic.

Covid-19 is a global Pandemic that has impacted businesses all over the world. Start-up communities, especially those in early stage have been hurt badly due to lockdowns imposed by central and State Govt. to fight the pandemic. Similar situation prevails in Odisha affecting local start-ups. However, many start-ups have been able to turn this crisis into opportunity and have worked on Covid-19 related solutions including designing and manufacturing PPEs, masks, low-cost ventilators, sanitization tunnels, IT solutions for patient tracking etc.

Is the government thinking of any change in policy or strategy in working with the start-ups after pandemic?

The Hon`ble Chief Minister of Odisha has setup an Inter-ministerial committee to help restart businesses in the state. The committee under the Chairmanship of Hon`ble Minister of Finance, Govt. of Odisha has already held elaborate virtual consultations with stakeholders including start-ups few days ago. The Committee shall recommend necessary measures to help state based start-ups and other businesses sail through this crisis.

Is there a focus to boost start-ups of a particular sector or all kinds of start-ups in state is being supported?

Odisha Startup Policy is a sector agnostic policy and so is the approach of Startup Odisha in promoting start-ups. We believe every sector has potential for start-ups and needs assistance to explore its full potential. Our Startups are spread over 40 different sectors starting from Agriculture to Aerospace to AI & ML. Our support is based on the merit of the start-up than the sector they belong to.

Get in touch!

Prasanta Biswal
Start-up Odisha

Keywords: Chalgenius, Start-up, Odisha, Naveen Patnaik

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