The Telegraph
Saturday , July 19 , 2014
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Bengal to house hub for start-ups

Amit Mitra (second from right) with Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar (third from right) in Calcutta on Friday. (PTI)

Calcutta, July 18: The Bengal government will allot 10,000 square feet of built-up space in Salt Lake’s Sector V to Nasscom for setting up its first incubation centre in the eastern region.

The announcement was made by state information technology minister Amit Mitra at the eastern edition of the Nasscom Product Conclave here today.

The prospective hub, which will be aimed at mentoring start-up companies and fuelling entrepreneurship for product development, is expected to take shape within 3-6 months. It will require a strong infrastructure back-up and is likely to draw venture capital funds, seed funds and top names of the industry as mentors into the state.

The development comes at a time Bengal is battling the scathing aftermath of Infosys’s decision to put their maiden campus project on hold here. Incidentally, software behemoth Microsoft India is in the final stages of setting up a research and innovation centre in Sector V to impart its expertise in IT skill training.

Nasscom already has such as facility in Karnataka, which is supported by the state government. It houses around 15 start-up companies. The proposed facility in Calcutta will have the requisite plug-and-play facilities. A board comprising Nasscom members and government representatives will initiate a selection process based on merit.

“As we move towards an era where the dividing line between products and services gets blurred, this is a particularly important area. This is a very different ecosystem from the traditional industry and need a different kind of support. At the heart lies the entrepreneur who is young, capable and talented but do not necessarily have deep pockets or experience of what is required to run a business,” Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar said.

The turnover of the Indian IT industry is slated to grow to $300 billion by 2020 from about $118 billion now. Of this, as much as $100 billion is likely to come from the product start-up ecosystem. At present, the product sector is estimated at $2.2 billion.

“We are looking at entrepreneurial development. We accept the offer. We will give 10,000 square feet ready to start with. We are also building 13 IT parks. We would like to request Nasscom to help us bring IT companies into these IT parks. We want you to promote it for us,” Mitra said at the conclave.