Odisha Startup Policy Amendments Bring Hope
Odisha has been working to contribute to India´s startup initiative. According to their website, their objectives are to develop a world class “Startup Hub” in Odisha by 2020, encourage incubators with the state’s strengths and requirements, create an eco-system that facilitates at least 1,000 startups in the next five years in the state, and produce a strong institutional framework for effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these initiatives.
With an aim to hold a place among the top three startup hubs in the country by 2020, Odisha is encouraging its people to come forward with business ideas.
After Telangana opened the WE-Hub, a startup hub exclusively for women, recently, Odisha approved the amendments to its Startup Policy of 2016. According to the amendments, startups launched by women, transgender or people from scheduled caste, schedule tribe, and differently-abled would earn them a monthly allowance of INR 22,000. The state cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, introduced a string of incentives to guarantee that 33 % of startups in the state are women-based.
Also, the government hiked publicity assistance to INR 16 lakhs for startups led by women, transgender people, differently-abled people, or people from social categories like as SC/ST/SEBC.
“The cabinet also approved the reduction in revenue run rate from INR 10 lakhs per month to INR 2.5 lakhs per month during the preceding six months as one of the eligibility criteria for availing product development and marketing assistance,” The Times of India quoted State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Secretary L. N. Gupta.
Another relaxation brought about in the policy is that earlier startups had to have incorporation/registration not prior to 5 years in order to be called a startup, the time period has now been increased to 7 years. For startups pertaining to biotechnology, this time period has now been increased to 10 years.
In addition, startups that have recognition in the market can avail a subsidy of up to 50% (provided, it does not exceed INR 5,000) on the rent of the incubator space for a year. Such recognized startups can also expect support for travelling to national or international events of relevance.
Odisha had already started an initiative called ‘She Means Business’ for women entrepreneurs last year, in collaboration with Facebook. Now these approved amendments are bound to provide more support and encourage more diversity in Odisha’s startup scene.
Among Odisha’s leading women entrepreneurs is 63-year-old Tara Das, the owner of Rajamoni Foods, which is now famous for her arisas (a traditional Odia cake). After 6 years of struggle, Das’ arisas are being consumed not just in India, abroad too.
Supreety Mishra founded the North Odisha Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Ltd. (NOFMCL) in 2012. Her program, ‘Go Vikash’, works towards dairy development.
Sarojini Das was awarded the Best woman entrepreneur of Orissa in the year 2006, for the best designer of intricate designs on bamboo jewelry.
Women who are established in big cities, with access to high levels of technical and professional qualifications and in good financial positions are always more likely to succeed. Odia women, who are established in towns and cities, with sufficient education, generally undertake service-providing businesses, such as crèches, beauty parlors, and health clinics. However, in rural Odisha, there are many women who are financially deprived and illiterate, but involved in family business such as agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, diary, fisheries, agro forestry, handloom, and power looms. Government initiatives on startups can encourage such women to take their business to higher levels.