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Goa’s New Startup Policy – A Win or a Loose?

Startup
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For most non-Goans, Goa is all about beaches, nightlife, and parties. But in between these did you know that young entrepreneurs in their 20s and early 30s are doing their best to prove that Goa is not just the party destination of India but in fact the home for start-ups by putting their money, talent and faith into setting up diverse start-ups in the state. 

What is a start-up? 

A defined start-up is a young company founded by one or more entrepreneurs to develop a unique product or a service and bring it to the market. 

Why Goa? 

With informal estimates suggesting that there are now over 250 IT start-ups that operate out of Goa, comes the next big question, So, why of all places, Goa? The answer is pretty simple yet practical. Adding to the connectivity and physical infrastructure that are fast improving, Goa has the advantage of the availability of a large number of engineering graduates from the colleges here who would dream of being an entrepreneur with a start-up. 

An incubator in Goa, set up by the Indian government’s Department of Industries Trade and Commerce and the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is the Goa IT Innovation Centre (GITIC), which mentors and facilitates funding for start-ups through low-cost infrastructure and access to business networks. “Goa has a strategic location advantage with accessibility via road, rail, sea, and airports, which is why entrepreneurs are setting up base here,” says Jervis Pereira, director, GITIC.

Goa start-up policy

The Goan Government with the intention to actively support the setting-up, operations, and growth of eligible start-ups hailing from Goa through providing various incentives, came up with the Goa Start-up policy in 2017.

Through this policy, the state government is committed to inviting the brightest entrepreneurial and technology minds from outside the State to build a robust start-up environment within the State while being committed to promoting entrepreneurs from Goa and generating employment opportunities for Goans. Depending on the changing dynamics of the technology industry, human capital, entrepreneurs, and other aspects linked to the start-ups, the Goa Start-up Policy would keep evolving and would remain proactively responsive to bring Goa on top of the start-up game.

Objectives of the Policy

  • To turn Goa into an aspirational geographical and human resources base to accommodate high-value start-ups.
  • To bring the best entrepreneurial minds to Goa to set up their professional base in the State, and thereby building a robust start-up ecosystem within the State.
  • To offer assistance to Goan entrepreneurs and local start-ups.
  • To endeavor and create a minimum of 100 successful start-ups in the State over the next 5 years and targeting the generation of employment for at least 5000 Goans.

To promote start-ups and incubators in the State of Goa, the Government has strived to develop world-class infrastructure through the following models.

  • Government Developed Incubators
  • Privately Run Incubators
  • Incubation within Government Leased Space
  • Incubators within Educational Institutes

New start-up policy

As the existing policy from 2017 is getting lapsed at the end of March this year all talks and discussions are steadily going on for a new start-up policy. 

Startup, Speed Up, Scale Up is the mantra of the proposed new Start-up Policy of the Goa Government. This new Goa Start-up Policy is being drafted, with a comprehensive approach towards Startups.The Central nodal agency, Start-up India, and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) have been actively involved and are being consulted for policy inputs for the new policy. The new Start-up Policy will be drafted by incorporating the learnings of present Start-up Policy 2017, Inputs by Goa Start-ups and Ecosystem Enablers and most importantly keeping in mind these unprecedented times.

The Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant addressing the reporters on Friday said that the new policy would be notified in April and will have the inclusion of suggestions given by IT professionals and their associations.

“I would be holding a meeting with the state’s IT minister Jeniffer Monserratte to see the final draft of the policy. We want the policy to be friendly with start-ups “ said Sawant. 

Speaking about involving start-ups in the process of governance, Sawant said that the new policy will have scope to include start-ups in government projects.

“The start-ups should give their products to the government. The government has already roped in a start-up in the Public Works Department to regulate the billing system. Start-ups should approach the government with their projects. We can involve the start-ups in the growth of the state. This aspect would be part of the policy “ he said.

The Atal Incubation Centre – Goa

The Atal Incubation Centre at Goa Institute of Management (GIM), the only one to be set up under NITI Aayog in the state, has hand-held 30 start-ups until now. There are 1,300 NITI Aayog-supported start-up centers across the country, with the one at GIM being the only one in Goa. 

During the opening of the new facility for the centre at GIM’s campus at Sakhali on Friday, the incubation centre launched four new programmes. Three of the programmes will be to identify entrepreneurial talent in Goa, nurture women micro-entrepreneurs and provide support to social impact start-ups.

The fourth programme will be ‘Goa Invest-a-than to attract investments for Goa-based start-ups and in turn help Goan start-ups, who are looking to raise up to Rs 1 crore, with the investment.

Goa Technology Association and IT Policy

Goa Technology Association is the only representative body of the Technology companies in Goa. Founded in April 2017, GTA has gathered momentum being in the business of creating serious business for Tech Companies in Goa. 

The GTA has been instrumental in promoting the Goa Start-up Policy. The Goa Information Technology Policy was introduced in 2018 and till date 11 IT companies have registered to avail the benefits of the scheme. 

“We met the chief minister and have conveyed to him that the policy and its schemes need to be implemented. There is no need to make any fresh changes and it should be renewed as is,” said the president of Goa Technology Association Mangirish Salelkar. He has also requested the state to focus on existing IT companies that have a proven track record and that are export-oriented.

With its immense potential and very high quality of living, Goa has almost everything a place would need to become a hub for start-ups for inspired entrepreneurs.  With the perfect union of the Goa Start-up policy with the demands of entrepreneurs and the schemes to promote start-ups, Goa being among the top 25 best start-up destinations in Asia by the year 2025 as the policy forecasts will not be a difficult challenge to overcome. 

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

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