Rural areas, tier-2 cities catch the startup bug

Close to 40 per cent start-ups that have sought funding from the IT-BT department under its ‘ELEVATE 2017’ initiative are from rural areas and  tier-2 cities.

Published: 31st July 2017 05:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st July 2017 09:29 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Close to 40 per cent start-ups that have sought funding from the IT-BT department under its ‘ELEVATE 2017’ initiative are from rural areas and  tier-2 cities. In fact, one out of every five applicants are women. Electronics, micro gadgets, mobile apps, medical testing are the sectors that have been the focus for a majority of applications.

The department of IT-BT had invited applications from various startups for ELEVATE 2017, an initiative to help 100 new start-ups. “We designed a website for this purpose and invited applications from July 4 to July 18. As applications continued to pour in beyind the deadline, we decided to extend it till July 21,” said IT-BT Principal Secretary Gaurav Gupta.

Shubha (name changed), who graduated in Electrical and Electronics 20 years back, has been working in the IT sector. “For the past many years, there was feeling of guilt working in a non-electronics job though I studied electronics. A few months back, I decided to quit and do something on my own. It was then that I met my classmate who was in a similar situation. We heard of the government initiative and decided to apply. We are hoping for a positive outcome as we want to take out project forward,” she said.

Mahadev (name changed) from Mandya is one of the hundreds who lost their jobs during the recent lay offs. “I am from a family of agiculturists and studied engineering. I took up a job in Bengaluru, but lost it recently. It was then that I decided to go back do farming. But now I am in a state where I neither belong to the farmers’ community nor am I part of the IT industry. My friends and I have designed a dedicated mobile application for farmers and we have applied for ELEVATE,” he said. Official sources from the department said the intitiative “came as a blessing in disguise” for many people who lost their jobs during the recent lay offs.

IT-BT Minister Priyank Kharge said as on Thursday, they have received more than 1,250 applications. “Close to 40 per cent of these applications are from rural and tier 2 cities. We have received applications from Hubballi, Kalaburagi, Kolar, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Bengaluru and other cities. This shows how the start-up trend is penetrating to rural areas and smaller towns,” he said. He said as many as 68 applications were received from from Kalaburagi district alone.

He further said, “We have seen many start-ups with good intentions taking off, but they don’t not sustain due to various reasons. This is why we decided to intervene and ELEVATE 2017 was initiated to fill those gaps and strengthen the start-up ideas.” He added that it was encouraging to see more women send in applications. “Out of 1.250 applications that we received, 247 were sent in by women. This is a good number,” the minister said.

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