World's biggest startup incubation centre to be set up in India

The facility is to cost around $300 million and will incubate 5,000 startups in five years.

By V L Srinivasan | April 5, 2016

In a boost to entrepreneurship in the country, the south Indian state of Telangana on Monday announced in its new IT policy that the government will develop 1 million square feet of infrastructure space in tandem with the private sector, which will be dedicated to startups and entrepreneurship-related activities, over five years.

The new policy -- Telangana IT Policy 2016 -- was unveiled by the state's Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao in the presence of several dignitaries including Governor ESL Narasimhan, IT Minister KT Rama Rao, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) chairman BVR Mohan Reddy, and Infosys mentor Narayana Murthy.

The policy will also work with international financial institutions to raise and deploy around $300 million (2000 crore rupees) to aid entrepreneurship and accelerate innovation in the coming years. Four sub policies on innovation and startups, rural technology, gaming and animation, electronics, design, and manufacturing were also launched.

"The government aims to build a booming startup ecosystem that will unleash the entrepreneurial spirit amongst the youth and in turn aid in job and wealth creation. It will also aim to achieve this by bringing the entire startup community under the state's startup incubator T-Hub," the policy document said.

If the goal to incubate 5,000 startups is realised, India will be ranked second in the world -- after the US -- in the number of startups launched. Presently, the country is placed third after the US and the UK, launching over 4,200 startups in 2015. Currently India has 18,000 startups valued at $75 billion, employing 300,000 people, according to NASSCOM.

"Innovation Policy takes cue from relevant leading ecosystems in Silicon Valley, London, Berlin, Singapore among others. [It] aims to build up on positive response to T-Hub and put Hyderabad and Telangana on global innovation map," the IT minister tweeted. On the occasion, some 28 agreements were signed between the IT companies and the government for developing the startup ecosystem.

Stating that T-Hub was a success with many other states replicating the policy, Rama Rao said that Telangana was poised to become the top state by exploiting its resources and consolidating in the areas of cyber technology, data analytics and electronics, and gaming.

The chief minister called upon the IT companies to invest in Telangana in a big way. "We assure you hassle-free, corruption-free clearances in the stipulated period. We gave approval to 1,691 units after launching the industrial policy last year and of them, 883 have been in various stages of production. We will do so for the IT sector as well, depending upon the merit of their applications," he added.

Hyderabad, which is the capital city of Telangana, has been on the world IT map for the last two decades by not only attracting leading IT companies but also taking IT to the deeper roots of society. It houses over 1,200 IT companies, providing employment to 400,000 professionals directly, besides supporting another 650,000 indirectly.

The total value of software and IT product exports accounted for over $10 billion (68,232 crore rupees) in 2014-15, constituting 11 percent of the total exports from the country. The sector has registered year-on-year growth of 16 percent in 2014-15, which was 3 percent higher than the national average growth.

Leading global software companies such as Microsoft, Google, Deloitte, Facebook, Cognizant, and Oracle have opened their offices in the city for some of their most critical global operations. Microsoft's only R&D centre and Google's largest campus outside the USare located in Hyderabad, while Indian IT major Tata Consultancy Services has its largest development centre also in Hyderabad.