GoaChronicle.com in conversation with DS Prashant CEO of Forum for Innovation Incubation Research and Entrepreneurship (FIIRE) on the trends, opportunities and government-backed facilities for Startups in Goa…
GC: How did the innovative idea of FIIRE originate?
DP: FiiRE is a Technology Business Incubator established with the support of Department of Science and Technology, Government of India under the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations programme.
In the new global economy, startup firms have been considered a key player in economic development. The reasons for their significance are their contributions to job creation and economic growth at the regional, national, and industrial le- vels. Several breakthrough innovations and major businesses have been generated by startups. The idea to setup FiiRE, originated with the thought to provide the required support system to entrepreneurs and startups, which is currently limited in the local ecosystem.
GC: What is the vision, mission and future focus of the FIIRE initiative in Goa?
DP: Vision: To be the “Go To” Technology Business Incubator (TBI) in the country
Mission : To be the best TBI experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality of service and value of offerings so that we make every startup grow to their maximum potential.
The objectives include promotion of innovation and entrepreneurial specific environment and provide cost effective, value added services to startups; Build a vibrant startup ecosystem by establishing a network between academia, financial institutions, research institutions and industry; Promote new technology/ knowledge/ innovation based startups and support high potential SME sector and Industry development;Provide a platform for evaluation and speedy commercialisation of technologies; Create competitiveness in economy, generate jobs and wealth.
FiiRE aspires to support one hundred startups over the next five years and make them investable
GC: How is Goa positioned as a startup facilitator when compared to other states in India?
DP: Goa has just entered the startup zone as a serious contender. Goa has set ambitions of breaking into the top 25 destinations within the next five years. Goa proves to be an ideal state to establish one’s startup venture due to many reasons including the diversity it commands. Goa having a brand as a tourist destination, peaceful environment and being well connected to the important startup hubs of the country makes it an attractive destination to draw serious startup talent. It proves to be a Glocal (Global + Local) environment that provides validation to various innovative ideas, which if successful, can be scaled up nationally and internationally.
GC: Do you see the Goa government providing adequate impetus to encourage startups?
DP: The Government of Goa has launched the Startup Policy to draw a roadmap to promote startups in the state. The government is providing benefits to encourage startups under the flagship Goa Startup Mission, to help them set up their workforce, infrastructure etc, with schemes to reimburse rental fees, internet charges, seed fund and other incentives. The government of Goa through the Goa State Innovation Council is organising sensitisation workshops and handholding support to promote innovation and startups amongst the youth and student community in Goa. The council has also created an online platform to support patenting of innovative ideas through the Virtual Innovation Registry portal.
GC: Why would a startup chose FIIRE? And how do they benefit?
DP: A startup which believes it needs support to build its business, would choose FiiRE for its unique structured incubation program, which involves regular monitoring and evaluation of the progress through mentor consultations and events. All the facilities are bundled into the incubation program and are accessible for startups that make it through the selection process. FiiRE also provides free of cost pre-incubation support to help the startup assess the potentiality of their idea.
GC: How does FIIRE help a start young entrepreneur turn an idea into a reality?
DP: FiiRE helps a technology startup by providing support in building a sustainable business which address a core pain point/problem, that has a potential to scale up globally and provides value to their customers in the form of a product or a service. This can be achieved by following our awesome structured incubation process, which helps startups build prototype, connect to strategic mentors, early adopters and investors.
GC: What would your advice be to young startups in Goa?
DP: This is the best time to work on innovative solutions and ideas. With great interest piqued from Angel investors, VC community and the govt initiatives hand holding them, they can be rest assured that their innovative solutions and out of the box ideas will have a support system to encourage, build and implement them thus providing them an opportunity to build a unique startup. It has never been easier to start as the collateral implications on failure has been absorbed to a very large extent. Go ahead and build something that can change the world.