Srinagar- Jammu and Kashmir government is building an encouraging ecosystem for nurturing innovation and start-ups in the Union Territory with liberal funding.
Under the ‘J&K Startup Policy 2018-2028’, the UT administration aims to nurture and inspire the young and entrepreneurial brains of Jammu and Kashmir to pursue innovation and entrepreneurship by creating a vibrant and conducive start-up environment in the region.
Some focus sectors have been identified under this policy which inter alia included Construction and Engineering, Food Processing and Allied activities, Agriculture including Horticulture and Floriculture, Textiles, Apparel and Fashion Technology, Renewable Energy, Handicrafts and Handlooms and their design element, Electronics System Design and Manufacturing besides Information Technology enabled services among others.
The main objective of ‘J&K Startup Policy 2018-2028’ is to facilitate and nurture the growth of at least 500 new start-ups in Jammu and Kashmir in next 10 years. The objective also includes establishing at least 10 new state-of-the-art incubators including private sector, facilitate access to early stage investments for aspiring and existing start-ups, setting up of innovation labs in selected Higher Secondary Schools and Colleges and setting up of at least three fabrication labs, one each in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions besides creating a strong institutional framework for effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of this policy.
The policy also focuses on innovative projects like ideas capable of introducing new or disruptive technology in the development of existing and new products, processes or services, capable of addressing any of the present challenges before the society at large in an effective manner. The policy also provides special focus on start-ups, promotion of platforms like start-up hub, incubator, angel investors, innovation labs, Entrepreneurship Development Cells and Fabrication Lab among others.
The Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) has been declared the nodal agency for implementation of the policy and Director, JKEDI has been designated as the UT nodal officer.
The policy also provides various benefits and incentives to the entity recognized as a start-up. The government provides co-working space with uninterruptible high-speed internet to the selected recognized start-ups at a subsidized price through JKEDI at its campuses in Pampore and Bari-Brahmana and all the 22 district centres besides a monthly allowance of Rs. 10,000 (for a period of one year) is also being paid to the start-ups.
Similarly, startups are provided one time assistance of Rs 10 Lakh for Product Research and Development/Marketing/Publicity. The scheme also has provision of 100 per cent subsidy on purchase and installation of Diesel Generator set or Solar/Wind Generator or Hybrid Solar Wind System to the recognized start-ups.
Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, recently asked all stakeholders to focus on affordability, sustainability of innovative products, creation of industry innovation clusters to encourage young entrepreneurs and drive job creation. “Under the guidance of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, India’s Start ups are making their place in the global market. India is now ranked third in the world in terms of innovation and start-ups after US and China,” the Lieutenant Governor said.
Notably, J&K featured among the five ‘top performers’ in the start-up India States’ ranking 2021, scoring high on parameters like incubation support, institutional support and fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
Considerably, the start-up ecosystem in J&K comprises of local versions or mimics of national players like Ola, Uber, Amazon, Flipkart and Zomato as these unicorns have minimal presence in the region in terms of service areas or penetration level.