Srinagar: National Innovation Foundation (NIF)–India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India in association with University of Kashmir and NIF Incubation and Entrepreneurship Council-NIFientreC, organised a workshop in Srinagar last week at Kashmir University here with an objective to on-board all stakeholders, primarily the enablers for Innovation and Entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Valley.
Stakeholders from multiple organisations deliberated on a roadmap to improve the prospects for growth and development, through innovation and entrepreneurship by harnessing Jammu and Kashmir’s untapped potential as well as the major challenges and lessons from key milestones achieved, at a day long roundtable titled “Inclusive Development through Entrepreneurial Advancement (IDEA)”.
“The time has come when entrepreneurs with the support of eco-system builders can push their boundaries to grow exponentially and, in this process, could harness their own potential in superior ways,” said Dr. Vipin Kumar, Chief Scientist, NIF.
Dr Praveen Roy, Head – NEB Division, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India stressed that modern day start-ups believe in pivoting their businesses as opposed to labelling them as failures.
Chetan Krishnaswamy, Vice President, Public Policy, Amazon India, pointed out that vibrant J&K is home to entrepreneurs who have the talent to create leading global brands by being part of our flagship programs like Karigar, Saheli, and Global Selling.
Dr. Nisar Ahmad Mir, Registrar, University of Kashmir familiarized participants on the significant recent initiatives that the University has undertaken so as to strengthen innovation in the valley.
Grassroots innovators spoke about some of their accomplishments and also about the challenges related to achieving scale in their respective businesses. GR8 SPORTS India, an entrepreneur representing the formal sector and also other entrepreneurs shared the growing expectations that enterprises particularly those driven by the first generation entrepreneurs have from the Government specially from the perspective of ease of doing business and also what steps are to be taken so as to create a bridge so as to address the gaps and build resilience.
The roundtable which facilitated a listening mind kind of environment wherein the beneficiaries could share their experiences with respect to access and leveraging of various schemes, facilities, incentives and so on was attended by representatives of multiple organizations, both within and outside the valley, representing a wide array of work areas like Ministries and Government organizations (Central/State/Local), Financial Institutions, Marketplaces, Investor services organizations, Technology Business Incubators, Media, Entrepreneurs, and Innovators (particularly those at the grassroots).
Key takeaways from the roundtable included an enhanced focus on awareness which is often the starting point of leveraging and making the most out of any incubation activity, financial literacy and capacity building, leveraging data driven insights, organizing B-Plan and other youth sensitization activities, arriving at newer equity based financing models, strengthening case study based models for dissemination of information, mapping expertise of stakeholders, facilitating mentoring on important areas like pivoting a stat-up etc.
The participants included representatives from Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India; Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI); Amazon India; University of Kashmir; SKUAST, Kashmir; Press Information Bureau – PIB, Government of India; Jammu & Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI); J&K Trade Promotion Organisation (JKTPO), Entrepreneurs in niche areas like sports namely GR8 Sports Pvt Ltd amongst others who shared their experiences and subsequently their recommendations on ways to grow the profile of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Valley.