Startups are often associated with the bustle of the big cities – the busy metropolitans which attract talent from across the country to its teeming opportunities, rising businesses, and thriving lifestyle amenities. No one would quite think about the quaint hilly landscape of Uttarakhand, mostly known for its scenic views and local cottage industries when one thinks of startups. But its leading city Dehradun, known as an education hub, is also becoming home to several startup companies. Today, the state boasts of over 66 businesses that are a part of the Government of India’s Startup India program.
Investing in local talent, the State Government’s efforts like the Startup Uttarakhand Initiative and the announcement of Uttarakhand Startup Policy 2018, have boosted the entrepreneurship scenario in this hill town. The town has a mostly agrarian population as well as ex-military and other service-background folks who have a limited risk appetite. But over the years, private investors have grown to explore start-up enterprises in the state.
At present, numerous IT companies in Dehradun have sprung up, making it one of the startup and technological hub of the nation. Here’s a look at some of the factors that are driving growth:
Under the aegis of the State Government, a specialized advisory group on startup, innovation, and entrepreneurship has encouraged the growth of startups in the state. While this is already a great boost for the local startup ecosystem, partnerships with giants like Amazon, Google, Headstart Network Foundation, and EChai Ventures also offer the much-needed support to help the ecosystem blossom and thrive. Moreover, Dehradun also has it’s very own TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) chapter which brings the community together to uplift the entrepreneurship scenario. There are a few more state-funded initiatives like Angel Investment Workshop, Startup Yatra, and Startup Grand Challenge which have contributed to startup development in the form of entrepreneurial guidance, financial support, etc.
Incubators in and around Dehradun:
Incubators are important to propel the growth of startups and similar ventures. Here are some incubators in and around Dehradun that are nudging the city’s ecosystem forward.
US Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UCES):
University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES)-based business incubator’s aim is to nurture tech-startups. It has incubated several startups in and around Dehradun and has also impacted business outreach in other states, including expanding to support software companies in Delhi. Their main focus lies in areas like energy technology, edtech, transport tech, food processing, e-commerce, gaming, etc.
Technology Business Incubator (TBI):
An initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the central government of India, TBI has its focus on sectors like dairy and food processing, bio-pesticides, chemical engineering, etc.
Startup Incubator and Entrepreneurship Development Society (STRIEDS):
A brainchild of Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, STRIEDS has built an interactive space for young business enterprises to engage with students, boost college-based entrepreneurship and career opportunities. It is recognized by the Startup Uttarakhand initiative.
Technology Incubation and Entrepreneurship Development Society (TIEDS):
Started by the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, TIEDS was established to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in Uttarakhand. Some of the startups incubated under the TIEDS are Log9 Materials, Fermentech Labs, and more.
Infrastructure and facilities to support the startup ecosystem:
With metros fast becoming chaotic and cluttered, entrepreneurship in rising Tier 2 towns is growing on the back of aspects like low rentals, limited business costs, shorter commutes, and better quality of life. Entrepreneurs in the city also feel that talented students graduating from Dehradun’s top educational institutes now have an opportunity to find jobs with these startups instead of migrating to Tier 1 cities and competing there for opportunities. The growth of startups in Tier 2 towns has received a further push in recent times, with resources and talent being more readily available due to the reverse migration induced by the pandemic.
Dehradun is one of the rising smart cities and it won’t be surprising to see capable ventures come out from the city’s soil and help the Indian startup ecosystem move forward. As states across the country continue to push entrepreneurial growth, a robust startup ecosystem will be a reality across more Tier 2 cities like Dehradun.
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