Catch them young

It is Startup Goa by the EDC on the heels of the governments Startup India campaign. EDC recently announced an attention grabbing ‘Best Technology Startup’ competition that promises to energize startup ecology in the state, reports Shoma Patnaik
Startups are in the limelight in India with feel good news of several startups successfully making the crossover to big business. Goa also has its share of techies who have launched software products and services. Some of them are successful and highlighted. On the other hand there are several who operate in isolation despite coming up with bright ideas. To encourage entrepreneurs and create employment for locals the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) recently announced a competition recognizing excellence in technology startups.
Similar competitions have been announced by private organizations and trade bodies in the past but this is the first initiative for a government owned company in the startup field. EDC senior officials comprising Santosh Kenkre, vice chairman, Arvind Ghatkar, managing director and BS Borkar, managing director, Goa Electronics Ltd. (GEL) are the brain behind this initiative. They are supported by software expert Ryan Cravalho, honorary consultant to the competition. All four are Goan professionals with local interests at heart.
The purpose of the competition is the three Es, viz. entrepreneurship, employment and eco-system. It is to kick start IT- related startups in the state and foster their growth as EDC being a term lending institution cannot finance startups, says Kenkre. It is our way of promoting startups and creating a buzz around them. While startups are in the public eye in India, the ones of our own need a bit of publicity, he says.
The competition, adds Kenkre will also serve to draw attention to the fact that the state is eager to foster its own talent and attract new talent from outside.
Goa is missed the bus in IT not once but several times, says Carvalho. But there is no reason why the industry cannot flourish looking at the ideal conditions, he says. It is got the most favorable environment comparable to Silicon Valley. Carvalho was a member of a prize winning startup team in Dubai and is therefore roped in as consultant.
Judges for the competition will be a three member panel whose names are kept confidential to ensure fair selection. There is no entry fee for the competition and also no underlying agenda for this competition, says Carvalho. Its only motive is to promote entrepreneurship among technology minded youth, he says.
By startup EDC means those in IT software, hardware, IoT and a mix of all technology. Winnings from the competition are attractive. The first prize winner will be ‘Chief Minister’s award for best technology start-up from Goa.’ Winners will be given cash awards totaling Rs 10 lakh instituted by EDC, Mohandas Pai, Persistent Systems, Vinod Thakran and Onkardatta V Deshpande and Bhakti Niranjan Majumdar in memory of their late father VA Deshpande, ex-officer of EDC.
The Centre for Incubation and Acceleration (CIBA) is offering attractive incentives to competitors. It is announced free incubation support at Assagaon for a period of 12 months, seed capital investment upto Rs 10 lakh each for top three winners, service tax exemption for three years, free training and mentoring support and support for intellectual property rights.
The terms of the competition are very flexible and EDC is going to bend backwards in accommodating startups who do not fit the eligibility criteria but show promise.