Start-ups do not play by the rule book: Telangana IT minister KT Rama Rao

The IT minister spoke at length with entrepreneurs from across India

Published: 10th June 2018 05:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th June 2018 05:48 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Startup entrepreneurs from various cities including Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Pune, Mumbai and Gurugram had a no holds barred Q&A session — organised by The New Indian Express — with IT, Industries, Municipal and Urban Development minister KT Rama Rao at the Town Hall, as part of its ‘40 under 40: South India’s most vibrant young entrepreneurs’ on Saturday.

There are several professionals, engineers, IT employees who are leaving the US or the Middle East and coming back to India for various reasons like change in administration or tax laws. What do you have to say to them?
Returning to India will not just give opportunity to an overseas Indian but to anyone in the world, to do something large, to take your dream of scaling up quickly and cater to the large Indian market. No other country will offer as many avenues as India. If anyone wants to build an enterprise today, then India is the place.

A major problem for healthcare start-ups is that there’s no-clear rule book listing out various legalities as to where does the government stand on emerging technologies. What is being done about it?
There is a contradiction in your question. Start-ups do not play by the rule book. You disrupt the legacy and shatter rule positions. Not just ours but any government cannot come out with a rule book saying this is our position. However, I understand your concern and can say that Telangana will formulate a policy, provided you work with us. We are ready to help you whenever there is an emerging technology where you find legality to be hazy.

There are several Indians across the world who are doing great work in different fields. Why can’t this pool of talent be tapped as mentors for start-ups?
In T-Hub we have a strong mentor network. Honestly, I cannot say that the mentor network is extremely impressive but they are good at what they do. Moreover, all the top five tech companies, as per the market cap, have set up their R&D base in Hyderabad and between them, they  have great talent. Some of them even work with Telangana government on various issues.

How can we reach out if we want to shift our start-up from some other state to Hyderabad and what are the incentives?
If you have a specific proposal you can directly reach us. You can contact Dileep Konatham (Director, Digital Media at Telangana IT department). Telangana has a host of financial incentives, and we will also be your first customer if you want to specifically work in some area or government body like the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

Telangana State Innovation Policy

At The New Indian Express’ 40 Under 40, where forty entrepreneurs below the age of forty years were recognised, a four-member panel of entrepreneurs and start-up incubators deliberated on a range of concerns that start-ups in India currently face. The members also gauged the current status of the ecosystem and how it is poised to take the catapult jump to be at the forefront

Rs 2,000 crore

The Telangana State Innovation Policy hopes to mobilize `2,000 crore for start-ups across different sectors and growth. The state plans to develop 1 million sqft of workspace dedicated to start-ups in the next five years and will partner with 20 global accelerators and incubators to build facilities in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode

The policy initiative will help set up two start-up incubators in tier 2 locations of the State

The State intends to leverage the products of incubated start-ups by procuring five innovative technology solutions that will be used by the government in the sectors of agriculture, health, logistics, clean energy and smart cities

Some of the initiatives taken up for the state to promote start-ups in TS includeProviding start-ups with cloud space at nominal costs 1 GBPS internet speed at all incubation facilitiesStart-ups in e-governance space shall be given access to government data to roll out pilotsPromoting the concept of ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ by giving options to students pursuing entrepreneurship in mid-academic curriculum

Thus spake entrepreneurs

The larger diaspora are pretty smart but the most important thing is that culturally we are not taught how to take a risk. One is always taught in engineering colleges or schools not to take the risk and go for a standard job. But in the other part of the world, they would ask to go find the problem, figure out a solution, and if that does not work, it is okay as one can always do something
Rama Iyer, Head of Corporate Innovation, T- Hub 

One needs to know that the decisions taken during the journey are the most important part of having a startup. The purpose with which the founding team has launched the start-up should permeate three or four levels down, and sharing such purpose down the line is the most difficult part
Vikram Kailas, Managing Director of Mytrah Energy 

Networking is the most difficult part of being a woman and an entrepreneur. The societal and cultural limitations in the mindsets of people (referring to her hometown in Kerala) are limitations for women at large as we are not considered good to be in business. Finding the right skill and competency is also a difficult job to get through, and it affects the start-up
R Chandra Vadhana, Founder of Prayanna

Start-ups in a city like Hyderabad are poised to take the leap to become global players as the State government encourages such activities. The city is pretty ahead of others when it comes to start-up ecosystem as the State thinks like a start-up. For instance, the proposal to have better facilities outside ORR is an idea which I like. 
Sudhakar Rao, Director - Branding, ICFAI


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