1st January , Guwahati: The largest state among ‘the seven sisters’ in the North-East region of India, Assam, has a “long way to go” to catch up with the national average concerning overall development. Industries such as jute mills, textile and yarn mills, silk mills, among others are facing losses and closure due to lack of infrastructure and improper management. The state also needs to catch up to other critical parameters like education, health, and quality of expenditure. There is a long way to go to increase the percentage of capital expenditure in overall revenue expenditure.
While Assam’s struggles with the aforementioned continue, a positive way ahead for the state could be a leaf out of Andhra Pradesh’s success story. The Government of Andhra Pradesh addressed social changes through technology and provided opportunities to tech start-ups across the world to set up operations in the state.
“People of Assam are mostly dependent on cultivation or other non-technical occupations. Even today people are ploughing up the soil with bulls in the state, whereas states like Punjab and Haryana are using high-end mechanization to boost their productivity. A lot of educated people from Assam are not getting employment within their state due to the lack of industries and job crisis. In contrast, despite it being only four years since the division, the new look Andhra Pradesh has been at the forefront of several firsts, and is now on a mission to be the preferred destination for international start-ups wanting to access the vast Indian market via Landing Pad and Hackathon. Assam should also benefit from the same,” said Ms. Lakshmi Potluri, CEO, DCF Ventures, Andhra Pradesh Government’s innovation partners for the Million Dollar Challenge at the Vizag Fintech Festival 2018.
Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society (APIS), in a strategic collaboration with global innovation partner DCF Ventures launched the million dollar challenge through global road shows across four continents covering cities like New York City, Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Hong Kong and Bengaluru to attract entrepreneurs from across the world to the state.
Almost 1000 start-ups from over ten countries competed for the equity-free funding of USD 1 Million (INR 7.5 Crore) grant from the Government of Andhra Pradesh to set up their offices in Vizag, which is being developed to be the innovation valley of India. A total of 37 companies were shortlisted where twenty six start-ups were given a cash prize of USD 10k (includes 2 of them were runner ups who split the prize money). The grand winners of USD 150k and 100k in each sector was awarded to 6 companies, two from each sector Emergetech, Fintech and Agritech.
Also, the State through APIS has partnered with Israeli-based innovation partner called SOSA to provide innovation services for global corporations, investors, governments and municipalities. SOSA is establishing Landing Pads in two phases. The first phase will see SOSA enable landing pads for start-ups, corporations and government representatives from Andhra Pradesh at Tel Aviv and New York; this will, for the first time in India, provide start-ups access to the available international market, knowledge resources (both online/offline), financial resources and their extensive global start-up network where start-ups chosen by Andhra Pradesh Innovation society will be able to operate out of the Start-up nation.
In the second phase, APIS will extend its formidable support to enable leading corporate players in Fin-tech, Agri-tech, Insurance, Emerge-tech, and other Technology verticals, in the south Indian region to benefit from access to Israeli innovation through SOSA.
Organising ‘Hackathon’ to solve problems that are sourced from various industries and Landing Pad for providing strategic innovation services to these industries will give a new direction to the state” added Ms Potluri.