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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

GCCI Corporate-Startup Bridge to increase startups’ odds of success: Lalit Saraswat


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With the first edition of the GCCI Startup and Corporate Bridge, all set to be held on Monday, October 23, at the GCCI Hall, Panaji, Goa, the startup ecosystem is abuzz with a lot of enthusiasm. This launch event will bring together corporates, governments, startups, and startup ecosystem enablers.

The first event will showcase carefully curated startups that will help hotels access innovation, talent, market trends, mitigate risks, and increase competitiveness. The startups will have access to experienced hoteliers, resources, mentorship, get market validation, and increased credibility.

Ahead of the maiden event, Sonakshi Datta of GoaChronicle, posed some questions to Lalit Saraswat, Chairperson, GCCI Startups Innovation and Growth Taskforce, and CEO, Sancoale Technologies.

What were the reasons to lead to the formation of the concept GCCI Startup & Corporate Bridge?

Most startups fail in the first year of operation. Having met hundreds of startups, I realise that many of them lack industry expertise and resources to sustain and grow their startups. A startup corporate bridge program would give curated startups access to experienced industry players in the same sector as their target market, increasing their odds of success.

What do you see are the benefits to startups and corporates through this ‘bridge’ initiative?

With this initiative, startups will have benefits like access to resources, mentorship, networking, market validation, and increased credibility; while the corporates will enjoy access to innovation, talent discovery, risk mitigation, market trends, increased competitiveness, and networking.

At GCCI, what has been the focus on policies for startups mooted with the Government of Goa and how does GCCI encourage startups?

We continuously engage with the government to give policy recommendations. GCCI, this year, has a separate startups taskforce for the transformational growth of the state. We have already had a few initiatives like ‘leaders@GCCI’ with Mohandas pai, founders club series hosted at GCCI, and now the startup-corporate bridge connect, that will be repeated frequently with different industries.

What is the potential of the startups from Goa within the state and their ability to scale up outside the state? Do share some case study where GCCI has assisted a startup in its evolution.

Since GCCI has just started focusing on startups, I can’t share success stories from GCCI yet. However, there are a number of startups from Goa that have done well outside. Molbio is one such unicorn, while b-live and Spintly are also expanding outside Goa.

What are the key areas of focus for the GCCI Startup & Corporate Bridge? Is it mentoring or financing?

The intent is to give startups a chance to directly meet potential buyers, get mentoring from experienced veterans, get a chance to run a test project, develop their product further with mentoring from corporates, and get paying customers in their mentors. While financing is not a current goal, but I’m sure that will happen as a by-product.

Will the GSCB help the Goa government in its objective to create a vibrant startup ecosystem? If so, how?

Yes, the government will benefit too, in the form of economic Growth, a thriving startup ecosystem and innovation hub, attracting Investments, skill Development, and a valuable feedback mechanism.

In my opinion, ecosystems are created by private parties with government support. This event is drawing attention from startups, investors, corporates, education institutes, media and government. As all stakeholders talk within their circles, it will attract more attention. Over a period of time, some of our startups will achieve disproportionate success. We are going all out. That success will be the flywheel that will draw more players, and make it a more vibrant startup ecosystem. It’s our job to try.

How do corporates benefit from the Bridge since India and Goa trends indicate that few corporate entities have invested in new startups?

The benefits that the Bridge offers to the corporates include access to innovation, talent discovery, risk mitigation, market trends, increased competitiveness, and networking. Additionally, if corporates have invested money too, they own a stake in what is hopefully a growing company, and have a direct financial gain as well.

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.


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