Kanchan Panda Startup Festival, Sikkim: Creating an ecosystem for entrepreneurs

By Koushik Baruah

Gangtok, December 11: Limited jobs in Government and Public Sector coupled with the advent of technology, robotics and artificial intelligence driven systems, the challenge of employing the youth is looming upon us. Successful execution of scalable startups will be critical to tackling this imminent threat.

As defined by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Startup means an entity, incorporated or registered in India:

  • Not prior to seven years, however for Biotechnology startups, not prior to ten years,
  • With annual turnover not exceeding INR 25 crore in any preceding financial year, and
  • Working towards innovation, development or improvement of products or processes or services, or if it is a scalable business model with a high potential of employment generation or wealth creation.

Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, intended to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.

Closer home, Chief Minister’s Self Reliant Mission and the Chief Minister’s Startup Scheme in Sikkim are initiatives introduced with the objective to boost entrepreneurship and encourage startup ventures by providing them with financial support.

Keeping the focus of both the Government of India and Chief Minister’s Startup vision in mind, the Kanchan Panda Startup Festival was conceptualised and organised on November 24 and 25, 2017 in Gangtok, Sikkim. The Festival aimed to bring together entrepreneurs, aspiring, starting up and established, from within Sikkim and entire Northeast. The Festival also provided a platform to interact with stakeholders and thought leaders from the industry to exchange views, opinions, insights and investment.

Objectives of the Festival included:

  • To create an enabling ecosystem to assist and help entrepreneurs to become job creators rather than job seekers by providing a platform to bring together speakers, founders, innovators, startups, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, venture capitalists, academia, incubators, accelerators to share their strengths, weakness, challenges and opportunities.
  • To get access to mentoring, hand holding, product or service assessment, customer, market and funding.
  • To provide information about resources available to start ups and aspiring entrepreneurs from the Government of Sikkim.
  • To understand the impact of Startups on social and economic well being of the state.

Expected outcomes include:

  • Build a Startup Policy for the State through discussions and consultations.
  • Create a road map to build a robust Startup ecosystem in Sikkim.

Eminent personalities such as Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor to Government of India, Prashanth Prakash, Partner at Accel India (An early stage venture capital firm), Hari Nair, Founder of Holiday IQ (Leading online travel portal), Mahesh Narayan, Managing Director of Saavn  and other investors, bankers, mentors have consented to participate in the Festival to guide and mentor the young minds in Sikkim.

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