'J&K start-up ecosystem lacks vision, creativity and strategy'

With the rise of start-ups in various sectors, the budding entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts said that Jammu and Kashmir “lacks the vibrant ecosystem” for the start-ups—which according to them is forcing many to shut their businesses before it could take off.

“World over, things are changing and so is the mind-set of their governments toward helping and handholding the upcoming businesses,” said, founder, FastBeetle, Abid Rashid. He said, however in Jammu and Kashmir, unfortunately, things don’t go according to the wishes and aspirations of the budding entrepreneurs. “There are a lot of lip services by the official machinery and less concrete things on the ground,” Rashid said.

“This sort of mind-set where there are lots of checks and balances and then no productive work really hampers the overall business goals of the youth—who really want to do something in their own place,” he said, adding, “J&K lacks ecosystem for start-ups and there is no strategy, no innovation and no creativity with the changing times.”

He said that Kashmir lacks equity culture and investors immediately want the returns.

According to many budding entrepreneurs, the Jammu and Kashmir government last year selected 10 to 12 start-ups for awarding grants of 10 lakh each, which they alleged never reached them.

Another entrepreneur, Sajid Bashir of central Kashmir’s district Budgam, said that “government has a lot of cumbersome processes which not only affects the working culture but it largely affects the productivity of the start-ups.”

He said that he recently launched his garments unit, Fashion Street in Budgam and wanted avail few schemes from the government. He, however, said that process by the government is such that there are many steps to be followed, which affects the overall functioning of units.

“We have to follow lots of rules and regulations and after following them, we end up starting the process afresh.”

Young entrepreneur and founder, Parsas, who is claiming to be valley’s largest food chain, Javid Parsa said that while Jammu and Kashmir has seen a surge in the number of start-ups in valley in past five years, there was still a lot that needs to be done.

“We need to take steps towards single window system to smoothen the process and encourage start-ups. Banks and other financial institutions also need to revisit their criteria and strengthen the start-up eco system,” Parsa told Greater Kashmir.

President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Shiekh Ashiq told Greater Kashmir that there is a lot to be on creating a vibrant ecosystem the young.

“Jammu and Kashmir start-up ecosystem lacks vision, creativity and strategy, which is affecting the overall start-up culture here,” he said.

“There are many initiatives from the government which highly appreciable but a lot needs to be done,” he said, adding “Government recently had announced to provide single window system for addressing the genuine issues of the business community however so far nothing productive is coming up.”

He demanded that government not only shout work for creating a vibrant ecosystem for the budding entrepreneurs but for the established business units, who have gone sick over the years due to some unprecedented times in Kashmir.

“We are soon submitting a full-fledged resolution to the government in this regard and we are hopeful that government can look into that positively,” he said.

Meanwhile, Director, Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI), GM Dar, admitted that there was a further need to create a vibrant ecosystem for the start-ups in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We are taking lot of steps to streamline the system for the start-ups in Jammu and Kashmir,” he claimed.  “Latest we have taken many steps and entered into an MoU with the Department of Higher Education under which we will train the budding entrepreneurs at the college level. We will also provide a specialised training to teachers for spotting interested candidates in the entrepreneurship sector,” he said, adding “We are working to build up a vibrant ecosystem for the budding entrepreneurs, who will soon have results on the ground.”

Regarding the release of grant of 10 lakh to few start-ups, the Director said that government was working on it and it would be released soon to the selected start-ups.