Exhorting the youth of the State to harness their entrepreneurial skills to become job creators rather than job seekers, Mr. Vijay Inder Singla, Minister of Information Technology, Punjab said that Entrepreneurship has always been a part of Punjab’s DNA and Punjab Government by facilitating the entrepreneurial potential in the youth will transform Punjab to be the top Startup destination in the country. He was speaking on the occasion of Grand Finale of the Startup India Punjab Yatra, at Indian School of Business, Mohali.
He said that in recent times a boom in youth entrepreneurs from Punjab has been observed but considerable potential still remains unlocked. So, Punjab government is taking innovative steps to strengthen the Startup ecosystem in the State.
Besides facilitating the Punjab Startup Yatra, State Government is offering attractive incentives to Startups such as seed grant and interest subsidy for loans, creating incubators with plug and play facilities and state-of-the-art infrastructure, and setting up of a dedicated Startup Cell to promote Startups in the State.
He informed that the STPI Incubation Center in Mohali is working exceptionally well and a similar STPI unit is being set up in Amritsar which will be operational by the next fiscal. State aims to facilitate 1000 Startups in 5 years, set up 10 incubators and accelerators in the State, build a Startup hub at Mohali and develop 50 entrepreneurship centres in state colleges, informed IT Minister.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Industries & Commerce Mr. Sunder Sham Arora said that with the aim to accelerate economic growth and to provide large-scale entrepreneurial and job opportunities in the State, Startup and Entrepreneurship forms one of the key features of Punjab Industrial and Business Development Policy- 2017. He said that entrepreneurs can strengthen the future economy of Punjab and mentioned that through the Punjab Startup Yatra, State Government has provided a platform for young entrepreneurs to utilize their skills to take Punjab’s economy forward.
He said that the objective of this Yatra was to identify a community of change makers in the State who have the potential to become the next big startup unicorns and make Punjab a hub for Innovative Growth. He added that the State aims to provide Startups with the necessary academic networking and funding opportunities, along with supporting Startups throughout their lifecycle, from an idea to a prototype to a successful Startup.
Both the Ministers expressed joy over the huge participation of the youngsters in the Punjab Startup Yatra. They ministers felicitated the 15 winners who emerged from the 523 ideas that had been submitted in varied fields such as social sector, IT/Digital marketing/E-commerce, health and wellness, agriculture and manufacturing.
Earlier, the Additional Chief Secretary, Mrs. Vini Mahajan, made the opening remarks encouraging the students to produce the best innovations and assured them of support from the Government.
The event was also attended by home grown startup stalwarts like Mr. Samar Singla, CEO & Founder, Jugnoo and Ms. Priyanka Gill, CEO & Founder, Popxo. Samar interacted with the participating students and shared his views on the importance of utilizing the resources the state has to offer. Further he mentioned that the key to Punjab’s growth are Punjabis and it is through their effort that Punjab can start a new revolution for startups in India. Star woman entrepreneur, Priyanka spoke about her journey from a small village near Abohar in Punjab to establishing India’s largest digital community for women. She spoke about the key ingredients in any entrepreneur’s journey i.e. education, having faith, being resilient and not taking no for an answer.
The program saw winners from across all age groups coming up with innovative ideas like self-cleaning toilets; interactive 3D textbooks; a smart device for giving a voice to speech impaired individuals; and bindis that can provide nutrition to pregnant women.
It is pertinent to mention that the month long Startup India Punjab Yatra was flagged off by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on 16th January 2019. In order to scout promising entrepreneurs across the state, the Startup India Mobile Van travelled to 19 locations to spread awareness and to capture innovative ideas.
In addition, 8 Bootcamps followed by pitching sessions were conducted at eminent educational institutes in the State. At all these locations, the organizers were met with great enthusiasm and it was heartening to see the youth’s unrelenting passion and determination to translate their innovative ideas into reality. 5000 budding entrepreneurs utilized the Yatra platform to showcase their ideas to key Startup ecosystem players. The 118 best ideas and solutions that surfaced through the Yatra were shortlisted and provided with acceleration support to propel their Startup journey.