Startup Odisha's Startup Mela 2023 was inaugurated by Pratap Keshari Deb, Minister of MSME, Government of Odisha, in the presence of Saswath Mishra, Principal Secretary, MSME Department, Government of Odisha, and Dr. Omkar Rai, Executive Chairman, Startup Odisha, Government of Odisha.
Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Government of Odisha in a written statement said, “I am happy that Startup Odisha has been recognized by Government of India as Top Performer. Startup Mela is a great platform that will motivate our students, innovators, and startups to demonstrate Odisha's entrepreneurial zeal, and will inspire the startup culture at the grassroots and institute level. I wish the Startup Mela all success.”
In his keynote address, Pratap Keshari Deb said, “The mindset of the community should change. We want entrepreneurs in Odisha. We need to start manufacturing to compete at the national level. We cannot remain a service state. The west is providing us with a huge opportunity in terms of manufacturing and we should make the best of that opportunity. Incubators should think beyond the typical academia culture. The time has come to think big. There is no dearth of talent in Odisha, and it is now also time for us to create a breed of entrepreneurs who will create jobs here and bring the talent pool back home. We need to start working on marketing and branding and that is where the young generation should step in. Startup is the only gateway through which we can establish a thoroughbred self-made entrepreneur in Odisha. In another five to seven years, the next industrial hub of the country will be Odisha. In the recently concluded Make in Odisha Conclave, we attracted an intent worth 10,48,000 crore rupees. The national average of conversion of the intent into grounding is 20%, however, our average of conversion in the two previously held MIOs has been 32%, which is 12% more than the national average. Even if we can ground 30% of the last MIOs intent, we would be effectively creating more than 2.5 lakh jobs, with an additional revenue generation of around 40,000 crores for the Government and opportunities for around a lakh of people in Odisha.”
Delivering the opening comments, Dr. Omkar Rai said, “It is the vision of our honorable Chief Minister for Odisha to be in the top three in the startup ecosystem of the country. Startup Mela 2023, is another step that we have taken to achieve that vision where students will be advised as to how to access the ecosystem and convert their ideas into products. We have also for the first time come up with the concept of Brand Ambassadors from carefully chosen academic institutions. We believe it is the student community which will bring about the next transformation in the State. These ambassadors will not only be innovators themselves but also act as a bridge between Startup Odisha and academic institutions. When we launched our fund of fund program with a commitment of one hundred crore from Government of Odisha, we received an overwhelming response from the investor community, and we are going to have over 1200 crore rupees fund of funds, which will be jointly operated by Government of Odisha and seven AIF fund managers. We are also in the process of revising our Startup Policy, which will be announced very soon. We are also going to establish mother fab labs, which will be capable of generating several other fablabs across the state. We believe that it is the maker culture, and the culture of creativity which will take the State forward.”
Advising the student community on how to avail startup incentives provided by the Government, Saswat Mishra said, “There is a misconception among many youngsters that any new business initiative is a startup and qualifies for startup incentives of the Government. We need to understand that every new business is not a startup as understood by the Government of India or State Governments. Any new business which predominantly uses science and technology, new process of manufacturing, any intellectual property or patent-based product is covered by the Startup Policy. Generally, the government provides financial support to startups, and it is very important to utilize funding prudently.”
Targeted at students of various institutes, B-Schools, and schools spread across the state, the inaugural day of the two day Startup Mela 2023 also witnessed a host of interactive sessions for students and featured special sessions including a hackathon, roundtable discussion with incubators, student startup quiz, panel discussion with investors, masterclass on legal and intellectual property compliances and “Ask Subroto Bagchi”— a program where Subroto Bagchi, Chairman Odisha Skill Development Authority (OSDA), a renowned business leader and entrepreneur, interacted with students and shared insights and mantras to young entrepreneurs and students.
Advising entrepreneurs and students, Subroto Bagchi said, “It is better to be boot strapped as a startup and seek investment only when you need to scale up, and when you choose an investor, you need to look at compatibility as well. As a startup, you will be truly valuable when you are of use to somebody else. Focus therefore on the customer and everything will fall in place. Entrepreneurship is not about smart people. It is about people who persistently handle the situation in a smart way. It is very important to be an ethical company and ensure proper payment of taxes to be successful.”