Entrepreneurs head to Uttar Pradesh for the national startup fest

Poll-bound Uttar Pradesh has one more thing coming its way from the Centre — it has emerged as top contender to host the national startup fest.

Originally planned to be held in Hyderabad, the industry department is now considering Uttar Pradesh as its preferred choice, with the industrial city of Kanpur the likely venue.

The government wants to take the startup drive to tier II and tier III cities, where the infrastructure and ecosystem for entrepreneurs still needs to be created.

“We want to strengthen entrepreneurial activity in tier II cities…There should be many more Bengaluru- and Hyderabad-like cities for startups in states like Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh,” said Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently.

Uttar Pradesh government officials, too, have stepped up activity to woo startups and budding entrepreneurs.

The date for the event — initially planned for August — is yet to be finalised by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, which is spearheading the Startup India initiative.

“We are working out various details of the event…there has been a delay. It could be held by March 2017 now,” a senior government official said.

DIPP plans to invite over 10,000 startups to the event. The fest is being planned to provide a platform for matchmaking startups and venture capital funds and angel investors, besides discussing key issues facing budding entrepreneurs. The focus will be on sectors such as education, health, manufacturing and agriculture.

The agenda of the grand event will range from funding to mentoring. DIPP proposed to organise a national and an international fest enabling all stakeholders of the startup ecosystem to come together on one platform. The Startup India action plan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January this year mentioned that such an event would provide national and international visibility to India’s startups.

The government wants to use the national startup fest as a platform to find innovative solutions to on-ground problems. Various government departments have been asked to suggest areas where startups can pitch in with ideas.

The exercise will be undertaken as part of the Grand Challenge in the startup national fest. Problems of social and environmental nature such as water conservation can be posed to startups and they would be given a few months to see if they can come up with solutions.