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Odisha Startup Mela 2023: Some Key Takeaways

Odisha Startup Mela 2023: Some Key Takeaways
Minister Pratap Keshari Deb, Dr Omkar Rai and Saswath Mishra at the exhibition at Startup Mela 2023

Outlook Start-Up Desk

POSTED ON January 16, 2023 10:30 AM

Startup Mela 2023–an initiative by Startup Odisha, was inaugurated by Pratap Keshari Deb, minister of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises on Sunday in the presence of Saswath Mishra, principal secretary of MSME Department, Government of Odisha and Dr Omkar Rai, executive chairman (EC) of Startup Odisha. 

The initiative aimed to enhance the ecosystem by orienting the youth toward start-ups and entrepreneurship. On the first day, the programme hosted a series of interactive sessions for students with investors. Additionally, it had a hackathon, roundtable discussion with incubators, start-up quiz for the students, a masterclass on legal and intellectual property compliance and an event called 'Ask Subroto Bagchi'--where, Subroto Bagchi, chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority, interacted with the students and shared some of his business insights. 

The hosts of the event also announced that the state would unveil its new start-up policy soon. Additionally, it will establish Mother Fablab to imbibe maker culture. 

Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, in a written statement said, “I am happy that Startup Odisha has been recognized by the Government of India as a top performer. Startup Mela is a great platform that will motivate our students, innovators, and start-ups to demonstrate Odisha’s entrepreneurial zeal, and will inspire the start-up culture at the grassroots and institute levels. I wish the Startup Mela all success.”

In his keynote address, 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 in 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 academic 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.

Delivering the opening comments, Rai said, “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 that 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 Rs one hundred crore from the Government of Odisha, we received an overwhelming response from the investor community, and we are going to have over Rs 1200 crore rupees fund of funds, which will be jointly operated by the Government of Odisha and seven AIF fund managers," he added.

Advising the student community on how to avail of start-up incentives provided by the Government, 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 start-up as understood by the Government of India or State Governments.

"It is better to be bootstrapped 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 into place," Bagchi said to the students. 

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