In the current era of Artificial Intelligence (AI), everyone can be a coder. While software professionals in the present times don’t need to think digitally, they can very well create a society that’s digitally informed and transformed. Or so, felt Arvind Kumar, the director general of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), an autonomous society under the Union Electronics and IT ministry which promotes IT/ITES industry in India.
Speaking at the very first edition of STPI Start-Up Forum as part of the Infocom 2023 summit, the annual flagship business event of ABP Group, where budding entrepreneurs were mentored by the industry leaders, Kumar also highlighted the limitations of AI to those who plan to foray into the business world of software and electronics. “AI cannot create problem statements. It can only solve problems which only a human mind can raise,” Kumar said.
The STPI, kick started in the late 1990s essentially as a brainwave fallout from Nagarajan Vittal, then Union science and technology secretary, to handle the impending Y2K millennium bug challenge, has now evolved into an organization boosting the country’s IT exports and nurturing the start-up ecosystem. “We provide our expertise in IT and have integrated our core strength with the requirements of the IT industry. The best way to start that endeavour is to handhold start- ups,” Kumar explained.
“We have successfully converted our body into a centre for entrepreneurship where we offer mentorship to startups while also providing them with a 360 degree support in matters of Intellectual Property Rights, legal and funding assistance,” the DG, STPI, said and stated that the organizations is currently nurturing some 1000 start up ventures across various domains in the country.
“We would very much like to assist the Bengal government in areas of agritech, especially fisheries, and financial technology like we have done in states down south,” Kumar said.
Stressing on the need to have one’s heart in the start up project first before taking the leap of faith, Aparup Sengupta, Founder and CEO of AAJ Global, said: “There are two things that a venture capitalist looks for in a start-up project: first, if the project is rightly timed and second, whether the team or co-founder has been chosen wisely.”
“A company with a B-grade plan and an A-grade team is always preferred over its vice versa,” Sengupta stressed.
Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, resonated with Sengupta's counselling. “Most startups fail to scale up on account of a few common mistakes,” Sanyal said. “Do you have a strong reason to be an entrepreneur, a passion that will keep driving you? Because if you don’t, then this journey is not for you,” he advised.
Failure to step into a customer's shoes, trying to solve problems which don’t exist instead of solving problems which a customer needs solved is also another cause of start-up failure, Sanyal opined while stressing on the need for thorough mentoring during the entire start-up journey.