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BW Businessworld

Ideas, Innovation And India

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Last year, Google announced its plan to invest $10 million to nurture and support 10,000 startups in India over the next five years. Nasscom has many such initiatives in participation with companies like Google and Microsoft to boost the ecosystem.

The department of electronics and information technology (DeitY) has received proposals for investments worth a total of about Rs 65,000 crore in the area of semiconductor and electronics giving manufacturing a much needed boost.

The above statistics on entrepreneurship indicate one crucial development that India is much more experimental today than it was yesterday. India is observing a shift in mind-set where a growing number of graduates from top schools like IIM and IIT opting out of the rat race for placements and setting out on their own with start-ups and innovative business ideas. This trend goes beyond the IIMs, with entrepreneurs starting out on their own with just one or two years of work experience after having passed out from Tier II institutes as well. Innovation is most definitely on the charts and the number of product start-ups is on the rise. Local manufacturing is getting promoted and funded. The services sector which used to rule India has started taking a back seat while the start-up ecosystem is flourishing and thriving. Semiconductor fabs are being implemented to lower the cost of imported parts of electronics. Companies that were fledgling start-ups a few years ago are going global. Industry bodies and think tanks are coming together like never before. We are continuously moving towards becoming a nation that is open to ideas and experimentation and risk taking.

In this transformation story, a new dream is born every day, a new idea is generated; a new project is funded by an ever-growing class of people and organizations whose belief in entrepreneurship is growing daily.
 
Building Technology Product Competencies
It's a well-known fact that India is the global IT services hub but what about the software product space? And that's where iSpirt comes into the picture. Founded last year and an acronym for Indian Software Product Industry Round Table, iSpirt is a consortium of 50+ Indian software companies, trying to promote the tech entrepreneurship in India. InTech50 was an initiative by iSPIRT to showcase some of the most promising software products created by entrepreneurs from India. A panel of Chief Information Officers (CIOs), venture capitalists, and product leaders from previous successes select the fifty companies that make the cut to InTech50 selection criteria.

One more interesting concept by NASSCOM is its 10,000 Start-ups that aims to enable incubation, funding and support for 10,000 technology start-ups in India over the next ten years. Also, Nasscom and the Karnataka government are working on a new initiative to build a start-up warehouse that will incubate 25-30 early-stage technology firms, as part of a drive to increase visibility for such firms and connect them to investors.

Apart from the initiatives from these industry and government bodies, CeBIT, the world's largest IT business exhibition and conference, which is making its debut in Bangalore in November, is introducing India's calling code +91 as the name of a startup challenge for Indian entrepreneurs where Indian start-ups will compete with each other to demonstrate business ideas and solutions in the areas of cloud, mobility, analytics, internet of things and 3D printing.

Innovative Funding Ideas
Limited funding to pursue innovation? That is where the concept of crowd funding comes to the rescue. Encouraging innovators and entrepreneurs taking that extra leap include the likes of Wishberry.in, a Kickstarter-inspired crowdfunding platform. The Goa Project is a start-up event platform that offers a perfect mix of like-minded people, your favourite topics to discuss and a beautiful beach in the background! Entirely volunteer-based, The Goa Project, launched in 2013, is an "unconference" - an experimental platform that encourages cross pollination of people across different fields, crowd-funded by Wishberry.in.

Government Backing The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Looking at the current scenario where the Indian government is promoting the local manufacturing and boosting the local players, technology spending is increasing 15-20 per cent every year. The year 2014, will be marked as an important year as CeBIT, the world's largest IT business exhibition and conference, is launching Indian version this year, in Bangalore, which will be an annual affair and a showcase for domestic companies. Bringing CeBIT to India is a leap forward from the perspective of making the nation visible on the global scale of Innovation. It will collaborate with government bodies, private organizations and think-tanks in order to build on the local ecosystem and take the country'sIT, business and the consumer markets to the next level. If we trace India's progress over the past 20 years, it has been phenomenal.

Today, India is indeed, one of the world's fastest rising economies, and contributing significantly to the world economy. It is also playing an increasingly important role in world affairs, including, as a member of the G20 and the BRICS group of newly industrialized nations. It won't be unfair if we attribute this progress to the nation's culture of innovation. Although, India still doesn't rank very high on the global innovation scale, it has come a long way to a position where it deserves recognition especially now, as the major Fortune 500 companies and rich countries consider India as its first choice of business destination. We are at a point where India needs a continuous rate of growth, make a bigger impact on the global map and contribute significantly to the world economy. While it's good to encourage local entrepreneurial talents and bring innovation in the work culture, bringing global names like CeBIT to India is definitely a game changer.