A Tale of Two States: Startup Excellence Journey of Odisha & Kerala

How did Kerala become a leader in startups with its strong dedication? And, as Odisha stands out with Maharashtra and Telangana, what steps did these states take to support innovation and business growth? Read on to know more!

Swati Dayal
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A Tale of Two States

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On the National Startup Day 2024, Gujarat was solidified amongst the best-performing states in the startup ecosystem. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) unveiled the States’ Startup Ranking 2022, showcasing the top five states leading the charge in fostering robust startup ecosystems: Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Himachal Pradesh.


After undergoing a meticulous evaluation process, the results of the 4th edition of the States’ Startup Ranking 2022 were disclosed on National Startup Day at an event held in New Delhi at Bharat Mandapam.

Kerala Amongst Best States In Nurturing Startup Ecosystem

Kerala has clinched the title of the Best Performer in the States’ Startup Ranking (2022). Achieving the 'Best Performer' status, the highest level in startup rankings, Kerala has consistently held the 'Top Performer' title for the past three years.


Kerala CM

"Proudest moment as Kerala topped the 4th edition of States' Startup Ranking by @DPIITGoI. It comes as a testament to Kerala's unwavering commitment in fostering a robust startup ecosystem, exemplified by a series of initiatives under @startup_mission. This propels our prospects of becoming a knowledge economy," Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan posted on social media platform X.


In a conversation with TICE News, Ashok Panjikaran, Head, Business Linkages & Startup Life Cycle at Kerala Startup Mission said, “Kerala has been consistently receiving the Top Performer state, and this is a milestone achievement for the state to be selected as the Best Performer. This would not have been possible without the support received from all stakeholders in the ecosystem. The award category recognized the funding support given by the state to the startups.

Kerala has emerged as the national leader in various sectors, securing top positions in resource development, investment leadership, procurement leadership, sustainable development, incubation, mentorship services, innovation, and institutional excellence.


Of the 5,000 startups registered under the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), 250 have successfully entered the market, with more than 100 of them being led by women entrepreneurs.

The state boasts 50 incubators spread across its 14 districts, showcasing a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. KSUM conducts five annual awareness programs for government employees and implements over 15 projects to mobilize investments. Kerala stands out with over 40 startups dedicated to renewable energy, eco-sustainability, climate change, and rural development. Established in 2006 under the Kerala government, KSUM plays a crucial role in fostering entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.

Top Performing States: Transition and Growth


States showing significant growth in their startup ecosystems and actively nurturing entrepreneurs. Karnataka and Kerala transitioned from top performers in 2018 to best performers in 2021, with Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, and Jammu and Kashmir joining the ranks. In 2019, Karnataka and Kerala were among the top-performing states while in 2018 Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, and Odisha were on the list.

Odisha Secures Top Performer Position in State Startup Rankings 2022

Odisha has been announced as the top performer, sharing the spotlight with Maharashtra and Telangana, in the recently unveiled State Startup Rankings for 2022. The list, released by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday, confirmed Odisha's sustained position, maintaining its excellence since 2018 and retaining the title in 2021.



Naveen Pattnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, said, "With a progressive and futuristic Startup Policy, Odisha has emerged as a preferred destination for incorporation of startups."On National Startup Day let us recognise the achievements of the state's burgeoning startups and create a sustainable ecosystem for new businesses, innovations and aspiring entrepreneurs to grow & evolve."

Startup Odisha, a key player in this success story, has played a pivotal role in nurturing over 1,800 startups spanning agri-tech, IT, artificial intelligence, healthcare, fintech, and biotechnology. Remarkably, 42% of these startups are led by women entrepreneurs. With an ambitious goal, the state aims to support at least 5,000 startups by the year 2025.

Boasting 27 incubators, including the expansive O-Hub, the government incubator featuring a vast 4 lakh sqft space, Odisha continues to strengthen its position as a thriving hub for innovation, solidifying its status as a key player in the country's burgeoning startup landscape.

Executive chairman of Startup Odisha, Omkar Rai said, “Odisha is wholeheartedly dedicated to creating a conducive environment with a new startup policy which is under consideration, aligning with global best practices, focusing on ESG factors, and promoting women’s entrepreneurship. Our goal is to inspire and support an increasing number of entrepreneurs on their journey.”

Talking to TICE News, B.P.Pattnaik, Project lead, Technology Enabling Centre, KIIT University, Odisha said, “Odisha has emerged as a very competitive state to host a very conducive innovation ecosystem having many academics and R&D institutes of eminence who play a vital role in it. The state govt and nodal agency startup odisha also mobilizing things from grassroots level. They have conducted awareness programs for schools and for anybody under startup express and startup Yatra.

Fostering Competition and Encouraging Growth

"The State Startup Ranking Exercise aims to foster competition among states and UTs, encouraging them to create a more favorable ecosystem for startups. The participants are categorized based on their initiatives to encourage and strengthen the startup ecosystem within their jurisdictions," says the Report.

States and Union Territories were classified into five groups based on their performance in various reform areas. The scores were converted into percentiles to showcase the relative performance of each entity. Those with similar percentile scores were further grouped into grading categories.

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