India is betting high on encouraging startups to promote unconventional thinking in the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape. What often goes unnoticed is the paramount task of mentors guiding entrepreneurs towards this path from behind the curtains. Dr Omkar Rai, director general, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), in an exclusive chat with Rahul Chopra and Baishakhi Dutta sheds light on the various services and offerings for entrepreneurs to utilise in India.
Q. You started with focusing on IT, and now we are seeing more and more enlargement of the scope to cover the IoT. What is the vision behind this?
A. STPI started with the promotion of the IT outsourcing industry. At present, it is a very mature industry, which is powering and serving many IT businesses in the world. Now, the focus is shifting for two main reasons.
First, India needs to promote electronics manufacturing because our import bill has grown a lot. And in times to come, it can grow even further if we do not manufacture within India.
Second, much of the wealth now lies in technology product creation, and therefore the world market in terms of technology product stands at US$ 445 billion. India’s share is merely US$ 7.1 billion. This is why the whole incubation movement, startup movement or even the national policy on software products that has recently been approved by Union Cabinet of India are aimed at transforming India into a technology product nation. India is trying to capture a sizeable world market, which is being seen at US$ 70 to 80 billion by 2025.
Q. What is the end goal that you are looking at with the help of this change?
A. Since the nature of entrepreneurship is changing, the nature of startups is changing, too. Hence, we are transforming our role to become a modern incubator that should be able to provide end-to-end services to startups. These services will be in terms of product creation, right from screening process, manpower training, capital investment and exposure to global market.
Then comes facilities like market connections, access to capital and all. These are essential services that are required for startups of this time. This is being given by STPI, for which we are creating several centres of excellence (CoEs) in the country.