As the season of Tulip arrives in the picturesque Srinagar Valley, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the vibrant colors of the blossoms seem to be even more dazzling. The ocassion becomes more special as the city prepares to host the upcoming Third G20 tourism meet on 22-24 of May 2023. In anticipation of the arrival of global delegates, Srinagar is transforming to become a Smart City, with renovations taking place in various parts of the city, from the iconic Dal Lake to the bustling Lal Chowk and many other streets and roads.
Jammu and Kashmir, which is currently a union territory, has been making significant strides in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in recent years. With 535 Startups recognized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) in the region, young entrepreneurs in Jammu and Kashmir are eager to showcase their innovative ventures to the world and attract potential investments.
Lalit Mahajan, Chairman, Federation of Industries, Jammu: "Startups are getting a lot of encouragement from the government – both Centre as well as State. What’s missing is financial support. The startups have great ideas but they are not able to commercialize their ideas due to lack of funds. There are no Angel Investors in the state. The multinationals in the state should come forward and make incubators in order to help the startups."
Female Entrepreneurs in J&K
One notable aspect of the Startup ecosystem in Jammu and Kashmir is the increasing participation of women entrepreneurs. Out of the 535 recognized Startups in the region, over 183 are women-led businesses. These women entrepreneurs are optimistic about experiencing significant growth in their enterprises following the G20 summit, which is expected to bring global attention and potential investors to the region.
Jammu and Kashmir Startup Policy
To support and nurture the Startup ecosystem in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has implemented several policies and initiatives. The J&K Startup Policy has laid clear terms and conditions for new businesses to be recognized and benefit from its Startup policy. According to the policy, a Startup entrepreneur in Jammu and Kashmir must fulfill certain criteria, such as having been incorporated/registered within the past 7 years, having a turnover of less than Rs. 25 Crore for any financial year since incorporation/registration, and being located in Jammu and Kashmir.
Funds and Schemes For J&K Startups
The government also provides various benefits to recognized Startups in the region. This includes a monthly allowance of Rs. 10,000 for one year, subject to fulfilling certain conditions such as having equity financing of at least Rs. 5 lakhs from a Venture Capital Firm or a recognized Angel investor, having a sanction letter of funding/grant from the Government of India or any State Government, or being physically incubated in a recognized incubator of the State for 3 months. Startups falling under certain categories, such as focus sectors, or being found by SC/ST/Women/Specially Abled entrepreneurs, may be eligible for a higher monthly allowance of Rs. 12,000.
Vishal Ray, Faculty cum Regional Coordinator, EDI
"Atal Innovation Mission has three incubation centres in the state which currently are not functional. One is with EDI, one with IIT, and one with IIM but they are not functional currently. So for the G20, they are doing it through the Atal Innovation Centre. Jammu and Kashmir e-Governance Agency (JaKeGA) has been roped in for G20 in this regard."
In addition, recognized Startups in Jammu and Kashmir may also be eligible for one-time assistance of up to Rs. 10 lakhs for product research and development or the introduction of an innovative product or service in the market. This assistance is subject to fulfilling certain conditions, such as having equity financing of at least Rs. 10 lakhs from a Venture Capital Firm or recognized Angel investor, having a sanction letter of funding/grant from the Government of India or any State Government of at least Rs. 5 lakhs, or being physically incubated in a recognized incubator of the State for 3 months.
Jammu and Kashmir Startup Community
The Startup community in Jammu and Kashmir is hopeful that the international attention generated by the G20 summit, which will be held in Srinagar in the last week of May 2023, will provide a boost to their entrepreneurial endeavors. The summit is expected to bring global delegates to the region and provide an opportunity for local Startups to showcase their innovative solutions and attract potential investors. With the support of government policies and initiatives, the Startup ecosystem in Jammu and Kashmir is poised for growth and is optimistic about the opportunities that the G20 summit could bring.