It is a misconception that Goa only offers people with the sun, sand, siestas and sundowners. No siree! You will be amazed by the number of startups that are springing up in this coastal paradise, completely overhauling the business sector and taking it to the digital age. Fortunately, Goa offers an ideal work-life balance and the perfect environment for innovation. With the rapidly improving connectivity and infrastructure and a supportive state government, Goa is slowly becoming a ‘Startup Paradise’.
The state has always favoured the champions of the business world and entrepreneurship. In fact, Goa was among the first four states in India to implement the startup policy. And today, with a fresh Startup Policy in place, the state is looking to foster new age entrepreneurs with an array of incentives. The Government of Goa has taken on this sentiment with vigour and is supporting startups with the essential infrastructure, platforms, and products and services.
The State Government Patronage
The Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, has set aside $ 25 million to promote the IT sector in the State for the financial year 2018-2019. The amount is almost double compared to the previous year. This indicates a budget hike for startups and the IT companies.
To promote and foster a friendly and innovative startup ecosystem in Goa, the Government organised “Goa Startup Day” on April 27 and 28, 2018. The two-day summit saw a confluence of the key stakeholders of different sectors from the startup ecosystem in India to discuss and debate the way forward for boosting the local ecosystem of Goa and bringing business ideas to the forefront. The Minister for Revenue, IT & Labour for Goa Mr. Rohan Khaunte, shared the intention behind the strategic framework for startups in Goa, the government support plan, the Goa startup policy and the overall aim for The Goa Startup Day at the summit. He mentioned that since Goa will always remain the most preferred destination for tourism, the state needs to create a separate economic backbone to resolve the unemployment issue in this segment.
The State’s vision is to be in the top 25 destinations in Asia for startups by 2025. With a vision to create a vibrant ecosystem for startups, the various frameworks and policies are designed to maximise the support to the startups in the state.
The launch of Goa Startup Policy
Goa Government launched the ‘Startup Policy and Portal’ on Goa startup Day on April 28th, 2018. The Startup Policy envisions Goa as one of the most preferred startup destinations of India and featuring in the top 25 startup destinations in Asia by 2025.
The policy was launched by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu. Goa, with its strategic location, has the potential to be the entrepreneurship hub. This event will work as a catalyst in building a robust ecosystem of stakeholders, as mentioned by Mr. Prabhu. The aim is to make Goa an aspirational geographical and human resource base for startups. The new policy incorporates various attractively packaged incentive schemes for startups. For entrepreneurs to avail the benefits of these incentives, the policy also includes various schemes by the Government. The Ministry has joined hands with the Invest India team, to propel Goa as the “national capital for startups”. Invest India will also be providing support by extending call centre facilities for all the aspiring and existing Goan entrepreneurs to understand the policy.
The policy’s endeavour is to create at least 100 successful startups in Goa in the next five years, targeting generations of employment for at least 5,000 Goans. It also aims to develop a minimum of two lakh square feet area for technology innovation and incubation centres in the next five years. The startup policy aims to support startups by setting up Startup Promotion Cell under the Department of IT (Goa), Government Developed Incubators and Privately Run Incubators amongst others.
Key advantages of the Goa Startup policy for new entrepreneurs
IT Infrastructure reimbursements of Rs 1,00,000 per quarter
The start-ups operating from self-owned premises or on-rent premises (not using the Government developed facilities), their cost towards internet connectivity, software license fees, and cloud services fee, will be reimbursed subject to a maximum limit of Rs. 1,00,000 per quarter.
The aim to feature among Asia’s top 25 startup destinations
The aim of the state government is to make Goa one of the most preferred startup destinations in India and Asia at large. It is empowering entrepreneurs through its Startup Policy and striving to achieve 100 early-stage ventures to succeed in the next five years.
Business and leisure in one package – The strategic location of Goa, with close proximity to both rural and urban enticements, startups can enjoy a unique setting that affords a great mix of business and leisure. Scoring high on work-life harmony, Goa is unmatched when it comes to culture, weather, infrastructure and quality of life.
Making business processes convenient – Goa now has an Internet-based single-window portal exclusively for startups. It will enable new firms to register and get access to a repository of information on a state-level as well as national regulatory compliances.
Single point of contact for the Startup Promotion Cell – Startups will have a senior Nodal Officer, to serve as the single point of contact in respect of all permissions/grievances/queries pertaining to the department concerned.
Well-connected and centrally located – Goa location is an advantage for incubation of these startups. It gives easy access to all the major metros of the country. Being perfectly located, Goa is a hotspot for people from all around the world. So you can find all the human resources you’ll need right here.
Capital incentives from the government – The Government of Goa will reimburse 50% of R&D expenses, including the salary of PhD holders for a period of two years, subject to a cap of Rs 5 lakhs per annum. For registered startups hiring local talent, 50% of the salary for a fresher will be reimbursed, subject to a cap of Rs 10,000 per recruit, per month. Furthermore, 25% of the salary of the local workforce will be reimbursed, for registered startups with 60% of the local workforce.
World-class infrastructure, subsidised – The state is building state-of-the-art, fully-equipped plug-and-play innovation and incubation centres with high-speed internet connectivity and shared IT infrastructure at subsidised rates.
A talent pool at your doorstep – Goa hosts several premier institutes including IIT, NIT, BITS Pilani, Goa Institute of Management and several other private engineering colleges that provide access to market-ready talent. There’s also a strong Industry-Academia connect that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship.
Digital skilling plans for the state – One of the key objectives of the Startup Policy is to build an ecosystem where every Goan student can easily acquire technical skills and grow professionally in the startup space. This means every startup will have an abundant amount of fresh talent that is ready to work efficiently and effectively.
With the country and various states recognising the scalability and potential of startups, including Goa, the continued startup policy innovations in states or union territories are a huge boost for entrepreneurship in the country. More than 20,000 startups in India have created a total market value of $50 billion, making India the second largest startup ecosystem in the world. There is a huge potential and now is the time for seeking entrepreneurs to grab this opportunity.