Karnataka tops in national startup awards, grabs 14 of 46 honours

CIOReviewIndia Team | Monday, 17 January 2022, 04:22 IST

Karnataka has bagged 14, the most by any state, of the 46 national startup awards that were announced and given away by the central government.

The Centre received 459 nominations from the state’s startups. There were 2,177 applications from all over the country across several sub-sectors.

Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been supporting the sector in a big way, and his own government’s aim is to replicate Bengaluru’s success in the startup ecosystem in other districts.

Tinkerbell, Steradian and Tagbox, who are already winners of the Elevate 100 programme, figure among the 14 national awardees, IT/BT minister CN Ashwath Narayan said, addressing the media on the occasion of National Startup Day, a new annual event Modi has announced. Elevate 100 is a programme by which the state backs promising startups with seed funding.

India is home to 80-plus unicorns — startups with a valuation of $1 billion or more — and a majority of them including Byju’s, Zerodha, Cred, Big Basket and Ola Electric are from Bengaluru, the minister said.

The state government has decided to double the number of startups under its different initiatives for funding support to 200 this year. This is an initiative to handhold the startups with seed funding under the Idea2Poc, and the support can go up to Rs 50 lakh, he added.

The government is also revising its startup policy to identify and back innovative startups in districts to ensure equity and fairness, Ashwath Narayan said.

The government has already amended its public procurement regulations to give extra weight to startups so that they are able to compete with established players in government tenders, the minister said.

In 2021, Karnataka has attracted Rs 1.60 lakh crore in FDI which was more than half of what flowed into the entire country. Of the 57,000 startups in the country, Karnataka is home to about 13,000. Bengaluru more than doubled its venture capital funding to $21.3 billion in 2021, he said.

State’s startup vision group chairman Prashanth Prakash said the PM’s announcement of National Startup Day will propel a new wave of entrepreneurship into small villages. “The timing is perfect for us to collectively push for greater inclusion and equitable growth beyond Bengaluru,” he said.

Karnataka is home to the highest number of agri-tech startups in the country and there is still a mountain of hard problems to solve for innovative entrepreneurs — the opportunity in agri-tech is huge, Prakash added.

EV Ramana Reddy, additional chief secretary, IT/BT department, and IT director Meena Nagaraj also spoke at the National Startup Day event the government has organised.