Innovative ideas sprout from all kinds of places. Many times, even from the most secluded parts of the world. But do they make into successful ventures ? Not too often! Coming up with a brilliant idea is one thing and converting it into a business is another. And somewhere in this transition most of these ideas die.
While India seems to be on a startup spree, with Government making policies in favor of startups and small businesses, and Banglore establishing itself as the Silicon Valley of India, the other side of reality is our 2-3 tier cities still lack many necessities to lift off innovative ideas.
Nonavailability of infrastructure and resources, lack of support system, mentors and investors are some of the many reasons which make cities like Kota not so favorable place to startup.
On 29th of last month, a one day startup fest in Kota somehow made us believe that all of the above is slowly changing and we’re the contributors and drivers of the change.
Startup Oasis is an startup incubation center in Jaipur that has been playing a crucial role in fostering entrepreneurial spirit in Rajasthan. After the successful Rajasthan Startup Fest in Jaipur last year, first Udaipur and then Kota hosted their own Startup Fests. Organized by RIICO and Startup Oasis, startup fests are what these cities needed to Kick-start their journey towards becoming startup friendly so that more young people get inspired to start their own ventures.
During the Kota Startup Fest fest, we saw aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to investors, startups showcasing their product / service to the larger audience, speeches by industry leaders, and disruptive talks by individuals and groups working on off-beat projects.
Never before the city has witnessed something like Kota Startup Fest.
We talked to Dilnawaz Khan who is the program coordinator at Startup Oasis. Here is the brief conversation –
What do you think about the startup scene in Kota ?
I am happy to see how things are slowly picking up in even 3 tier city like Kota. In spite of being a small city, I happen to meet some really great people here. Some of them have left their job in MNCs, others are alumni from India’s top institutions, and they chose to startup over a secured job, which is always inspiring to come across.
But one thing that really concerns me is the spring up of many “me-too” startups. This is just not specific to Kota but a similar trend can be found in many other cities. Me-too startups are those which copy the business model of an another startup. These are often an easy way to get into the startup world as the idea has already been tested and it had worked, so chances of failure are somehow reduced, but the same reason eliminates out many possibilities of innovation.
So I am happy when I see the energy and talent in the city and bright future it can have, but also concerned when it comes to innovation.
How Kota Startup Fest would benefit the city ?
After Kota Startup Fest, the whole entrepreneurial spirit in the city got an upliftment. The fest provided a platform for existing startups to showcase and network which would benefit these startups in the years to come.
After Kota Startup Fest, what’s next ?
There is no major event planned as such for near future. We will be in constant touch with what’s happening in the ecosystem, and how startups in Kota are progressing. But from here, local startups and interested people have to take this responsibility of how they want to build an ecosystem in the city. We might do few small events and workshops meanwhile, but mostly it is up to the members of the community how they take things forward.
Two important takeaways that everyone needs to ponder over –
Innovation is missing. How to pave a route for it to solve crucial problems of the city.
How to sustain this build up after the Kota Startup Fest.
Startup Fest managed to pull of an amazing show, providing an energy to everyone in the city who has already started up or thinking about it. But we can’t depend on a mega event expected to happen once a year to create and sustain an ecosystem, can we ? We would need more events, smaller ones, but more often which would accelerate the process of building an ecosystem and also helps startups and aspiring entrepreneurs in their journey towards success.
Your views ? Do you think Kota can dream of becoming a startup hub ? What would be the challenges and how we would be able to solve them ? And most important, how do we make innovation an integral part of startup ecosystem ? Mail us – [email protected]