Buoyed by the response at its incubation centres for IT startups, the Uttar Pradesh government is planning to launch a new campaign – “Start-up, Start in UP” – to help “young professionals” who want to set up new businesses or innovative projects.
The Akhilesh Yadav government is also preparing a special policy for offering facilities, incentives, and networking help to startups in the state. While initially the policy would focus on IT startups only, it would later include innovative projects in the field of life sciences and other sectors too.
The idea for the “Start-up, Start in UP” campaign came after government received unexpected response at its incubation centres for IT startups in Lucknow and Ghaziabad, where it offered only 50 and 14 venture seats, respectively, for young professionals with viable business plan, but the demand has already gone beyond these numbers.
As a result, government is now preparing to increase the seats to 150 and 200 at Ghaziabad and Lucknow facilities, respectively. These incubation centres, termed IT Upvan, are managed by SHREETRON India Pvt Ltd — a public sector undertaking under UP IT and electronics department.
While the Ghaziabad centre (in Sahibabad) was established in August last year, the Lucknow facility came up two months later in October in UPTRON building. All the 50 seats at the Lucknow centre have already been taken up by five different startups, while more are approaching the government.
Since the existing infrastructure at the Lucknow centre cannot provide more venture seats, the government is now looking for another larger place, where it can offer 200 seats. Apart from the office space and common meeting hall, the IT Upvan provides uninterrupted electricity, high speed internet connectivity, security, maintenance as well as technical assistance and mentorship to convert innovative ideas into commercially viable ventures. At present, each of these venture seats are provided at the cost of Rs 3,500 per month.
“Lucknow seems to be attracting startups. Our 50 venture seats have been taken up in just two months’ time. We are now looking at expansion along with a policy to promote startup environment. We are looking for space for larger incubation centres both in Lucknow and Ghaziabad and would soon come up with the “Start-up, Start in UP” campaign,” said G S Naveen Kumar, special secretary to Chief Minister, who is looking after the project.
To give boost to the project, UP government recntly hired Ritu Dubey to head these centres and to provide mentorship to the young entrepreneurs. Ritu, who hails from Lucknow has been senior manager at Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Park supported by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and has also served as Captain in Indian Army.
Speaking to The Indian Express, owner of one of the startups, 23-year-old Abdullah Khan, who hails from Azamgarh and comes from a farming family, said, “For past many years, I had this idea of starting a job portal to connect job-seekers in rural areas with employers. Since no one in my family has any experience in such things, I decided to start my own venture”.
For his startup, Khan is preparing a data base of users at the block level in districts like Varanasi, Azamgarh, Lucknow. Apart from offering services like creating resume, helping prepare for interviews, and skill development, the startup sends job offers from employers through SMS as well as e-mail matching their respective skills.
Centre will formally launch ‘Start-up India Stand Up India’, an initiative that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about during his Independence Day speech last year, on January 16. The initiative was not just about the IT or digital world, “but an effort to assist people starting new business ventures, especially those that involved innovation”, PM had said in his Mann ki Baat programme on All India Radio recently.