J&K’s startup ecosystem

The authorities have time and again reiterated that the government jobs are not the solution but that self-employment is the medicine for addressing growing joblessness.
J&K’s startup ecosystem
It not only provides an opportunity to connect with other members of the ecosystem but also gives access to important resources such as its Learning and Development program.groconsult [Creative Commons]

A startup is a company or project undertaken by an entrepreneur to seek, develop, and validate a scalable business model. While entrepreneurship refers to all new businesses, including self-employment and businesses that never intend to become registered, startups refer to new businesses that intend to grow large beyond the solo founder.

In Jammu and Kashmir with a bulging young population, startups are needed to generate jobs which are scarce in the market. According to the CMIE report, the unemployment rate in J&K is 18 per cent which is above the national level average.

The authorities have time and again reiterated that the government jobs are not the solution but that self-employment is the medicine for addressing growing joblessness.

In this regard, Jammu and Kashmir government in 2018 came up with a comprehensive startup policy which set a target to facilitate and nurture the growth of at least 500 new start-ups in J&K in the next 10 years. Of which 84 startups have been set up in UT so far within a space of four years.

The policy has set a target to establish at least 10 new state-of-the-art incubators across J&K including the private sector. Facilitate access to early-stage investments for aspiring and existing Startups.

Facilitate setting up of Innovation Labs in selected Higher Secondary Schools and Colleges. Facilitate setting up of at least 3 Fabrication labs, one each in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

Create a strong institutional framework for effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of this policy. Innovative Project: Any idea capable of introducing new or disruptive technology in the development of existing and new products, processes or services, capable of addressing any of the present challenges before the society at large in an effective manner.

Entity: A Private Limited Company (as defined in the Companies Act 2013) or Limited Liability Partnership (under The Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008) or a Partnership Firm under J&K Partnership Act, 1996 (1939 A.D). AS per the policy, an Entity shall be considered a ‘Start-up’ under this policy. It is incorporated/registered within the period of the last 7 years; its turnover for any of the financial years since incorporation/ registration has not exceeded Rs 25 Crore; the entity is not formed by splitting up or reconstruction of an existing business; it is not incorporated/ registered as a subsidiary of an existing Indian or foreign company; and it is working towards innovation, development or improvement of products/processes/services Or if it is a scalable business model with a high potential of employment generation or wealth creation; and it is incorporated/registered in Jammu and Kashmir Or employees atleast 50 per cent of its permanent workforce from Jammu and Kashmir.

Start-up Hub: A Hub is fundamentally a platform for existing as well as aspiring entrepreneurs to get connected with various promoters of the Start-up ecosystem such as business incubators, accelerators, Venture Capital firms, angels, mentors, etc. Incubator: An Organisation or an Institute (Govt./Semi Govt./Private)willing to support Innovative Projects and Start-ups during their early stages to help develop the new and innovative ideas or concepts or a scalable business model into a marketable product/ service through business support services and resources such as physical space, capital, coaching and mentoring for entrepreneurship development, marketing, finance, accounting, research, regulatory, legal services and providing networking opportunities.

It must fall under one of the following categories: Registered Company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013; Private Limited Company (under The Companies Act, 2013); Public Company (under The Companies Act, 2013); Limited Liability Partnership (under The Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008), Registered under J&K Societies Act; or Registered under J&K Partnership Act 1939. The Incubator, when in operation, should facilitate at least 3 months of in-person or virtual interaction with the adopted Innovative Projects/Startups. Angel Investor: Angel Investors are usually affluent or high-net-worth individuals who provide early / seed stage financing to Startups in-lieu of the ownership in the form of the equity stake in the startups they invest in. Innovation labs: Innovation Labs have dedicated works spaces where students and other interested individuals learn innovation skills and develop ideas capable of providing technological/innovative solutions to human problems and thus transforming society.

Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC): Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC) is a centre where the skills required to become an Entrepreneur are developed such as but not limited to the following: To develop entrepreneurial flair in students; to make students understand the entrepreneurial attitude and entrepreneurial skills; to provide a platform which gives several outreach and awareness opportunities.

Fabrication Lab: A Fabrication Lab is a platform for learning and innovation. A place to play, create, learn, mentor, to invent. A Fabrication Lab may be comprised of off-the-shelf, industrial-grade fabrication and electronics tools, wrapped in open-source software and programs written by researchers.

Fab Labs may have a laser cutter that makes 2D and 3D structures, a sign cutter that plots in copper to make antennas and flex circuits, a high-resolution Numeric Control (NC) milling machine that makes circuit boards and precision parts, a large wood router for building furniture and housing, and a suite of electronic components and programming tools for low-cost, high-speed microcontrollers for on-site rapid circuit prototyping. Above are a few illustrations only.

State Level Empowered Committee (SLEC) for Start-ups: A State-level decision-making body of the following composition shall periodically monitor the performance of the State Start-up Ecosystem and take necessary decisions for the encouragement of innovations in the State and modify the policy/guidelines from time to time as felt necessary.

The J&K government has established startupJK which is an of its kind online platform for all stakeholders of the startup ecosystem in J&K, including startups, investors, mentors, incubators, accelerators, aspiring entrepreneurs, service providers and government bodies.

It not only provides an opportunity to connect with other members of the ecosystem but also gives access to important resources such as its Learning and Development program, information about relevant Government Schemes, a Forum to brainstorm and discuss, News and Blogs among others.

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