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Uttar Pradesh is witnessing a silent yet gradual growth of the start-up ecosystem in the state, especially in the capital city of Lucknow, as it is trying to catch up with its more developed peers. The start-up ecosystem in UP is now getting a major leg up from both- private and government sector institutions, apart from a host of other young entrepreneurs in the state. The growth comes close on the heels of the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government announcing the new UP industrial policy in July 2017. Earlier, the state government had created a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore to promote start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures in association with the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). As far as Lucknow is concerned, the start-up infrastructure and support system are growing at a fast pace. In fact, according to a research report by AngelList, which is a US website for startups, angel investors, and job-seekers, Lucknow is home to over 400 start-ups and is growing at a favourable pace. For starters, UP already had a strong start-up support system in the form of SIDBI Innovation and Incubation Centre (SIIC) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K). However, it primarily caters to the elite IIT community, which means that other entrepreneurs outside this close community have remained out of bounds in the state. The SIDBI recently launched a financial technology incubator, called the ‘SIDBI Centre for Innovations in Financial Inclusion’ (SCI-FI), at the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L). It is mandated to cater not just the IIM-L, but other institutions as well. At the same time, SIDBI is looking to support similar incubators in other institutions on merit, said the SIDBI deputy managing director (MD), Manoj Mittal, during the launch of the centre. Besides, Incuspaze-- a fast-growing co-working space solutions provider-- has launched its maiden hub in Lucknow after Gurugram and Indore.
It is planning to launch similar facilities in Noida and Kanpur next, Incuspaze director Sanjay Choudhary told Business Standard.Choudhary added that start-ups were emerging as the new asset class for investors seeking high returns, and Lucknow was not far behind in this respect. Incuspaze not only rents out co-working space to start-ups, but it also offers other services such as marketing support, web hosting, funding, collaboration and knowledge pooling, among others— all of which are vital components for new business ideas at the initial stage. “We are bringing entrepreneurs, ecosystem influencers, start-up communities and industry leaders together for a world-class network for budding entrepreneurs and companies,” he said, while adding that tier-II and tier-III towns were the current hot spots for start-ups, as the metro cities were inching towards their saturation point. Currently, Incuspaze is connected to 120 start-ups for mentoring and investment and has partnerships with Ola, Amazon Web Services, Uber and Google Cloud Services. “We are planning to expand across 30 cities in India and create partner networks in seven major cities of the world, thereby, increasing our collaboration capability,” added Choudhary. Meanwhile, HDFC Bank has also launched its start-up support hub SmartUp Zone in Lucknow. It will be offering financing options to start-ups and provide support from experts. The bank also plans to launch SmartUP zones in Noida and Kanpur later this month. These zones would be manned by a specially trained staff to cater to the specific needs of the start-ups. Depending on response these receive, we may expand the footprint to other cities as well,” said HDFC Bank Regional Head Sanjeev Kumar. SmartUp zones would offer banking, payment, advisory and forex solutions to start-ups. The Adityanath government has been laying emphasis on big-ticket investments and had recently met a high profile delegation of investors from the United States (US) who had landed in UP to explore investment opportunities in the state. Last week, CM Adityanath had also visited Mauritius, where he addressed the non-resident Indians (NRIs) and investors to boost ‘Brand UP’ and ‘Make in UP’ initiatives.