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IT, start-up community waiting with bated breath for better eco-system

For the first time in Goa’s history the IT and start-up community has been given credence in the budget, feels the start-up and IT community in the State.Overall, the stakeholders related to this field have welcomed the state initiative of promoting an IT Park at Chimbel within two years and setting up of Start-up Promotion Board. This will surely impact the ecosystem and will encourage the young enterprenuers of the State to grow and create more jobs for the Goans.“Emphasis has been on IT development for the first time in Goan budget. I also think that the timelines of two years for completion of Chimbel IT Park is a realistic goal. It would bring about a considerable change in the outlook of the State. Companies will now look at Goa as an IT destination. A special provision for Start-up Promotion Board is a boost for the start-up industry. If the government can work closely with the entrepreneurs’ network in the State, then there will be more impact,” said Milind Prabhu, CEO, Genora.
Start-up Promotion Board is much-needed and a great expression of intent by this government in the budget. “However its governance needs to be professional, meritocratic and transparent unlike many prevailing sycophancy-based bodies in Goa whose sole objective has been to maximize gains for their select few at the cost of the rest which has impeded professionalism, healthy competitiveness and wide-spread growth among the Goan start-up community. The protectionist frog-in-the-well mindset prevalent among such Goan power centres needs to be destroyed if Goa is to get anywhere on the global IT map. Hope the government can make this happen on a war footing,” said Vincent Toscano, co-founder, Uzoorba Technologies, Chorao.Ms Rohini Gonsalves, founder of Sevarat which takes care of those who needs personal attendant for their daily work is a social service provider, unlike the techies. “Well every budget is as good as its implementation. Having said that, it surely displays the intent of the government to focus on certain key areas like Tourism, IT, Housing and Infrastructure. It is disturbing to see everyone talking only about IT as start-ups,” said Ms Gonsalves.
There are numerous other interesting start-up ventures in Goa which are non-IT. “Moreover, there isn’t any focus to nurture services as business. So although a business like mine has massive social impact both from a provision of employment as well as serving society perspective, we cannot grow because we do not get finance for operational capital. In fact, like other states of Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim etc the government should serve incentives to start-ups that generate employment. There has to be a way where we can raise our concerns and get resolutions. The ‘Make in India’; ‘Start-up India’; ‘Stand-up India’ and other initiatives by the Central Government and the State Governments have very little ground level implementation because the inherent paradigm and framework itself is archaic. The government needs to facilitate the procurement of finance for start-ups in the non IT/service sectors,” added Rohini Gonsalves.Nearly all start-up did feel that our basic amenities like public transportation for employees especially at night is not yet suitable. Similarly there is a demand for affordable hostel facilities in major cities.
However, it is a positive sign that the Goa government pushed the agendas of digitization of services, payments, continuing the cyberage schemes and boosting start-ups. Each of these areas will greatly benefit the state through the use of technology and improving service delivery.“Further, the proposal of using alternative technologies (Solar, Hydro and Wind) to aid rural development, would also raise quality of life with minimal burden on the exchequer. Fortunately there are Goan start-ups and companies who can handle each and everyone of these tasks at world class standards. Opportunities to execute all these works, will help strengthen the local businesses, create over 4000 jobs, bring about progress while maintaining eco-friendly industries in the state,” said the ex-director of GITIC, Jervis Pereira.Mr Pereira added that the move to have a Startup Promotion Board is also a welcome one, though ease of registration and minimal certifications for white and green businesses will create an optimal environment for startups. An allocation of funds to tech and non tech startups, either through an interest free loan or equity share would create a larger impact to bring entrepreneurs forward.
Remmie Azavedo, CEO, FabCoders feels that this is the first budget which detailed out a very comprehensive plan for improving the IT situation in Goa. It is a very positive start from the new government and “I really have high hopes on Mr Parrikar following up and fully implementing whatever was spelt out in the budget. Immediate implementation of the IT policy 2015 should be a priority.Also Mr Parrikar should ensure that both the education and the IT departments can work together to overhaul the outdated technical syllabus in the engineering colleges. A few minor issues have been skipped but these details can be sorted out in the implementation phase”.On the issue of technical and non technical startups Mr Azavedo said that, “I think non-technical startups have options already in place like getting loans from EDC. It is the IT startups that have trouble getting working capital because most of the time they only have intangible assets which cannot be used as collateral”. [H]

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