Goa is focused on creating the Start-up Ecosystem: Jose Noronha

Jose Manuel Noronha, born on 21st October 1962, was appointed full time Chairman of the Commission by the Governor of Goa on 30.01.2019 and took charge on the same day. Prior to this, he was Member and Acting Chairman of the Commission from 04.03.2016.

Currently Noronha holds the additional positions such as Member of Standing Committee at National Conference of Chairpersons of State Public Service Commissions, Chairman at Goa State Innovation Council, Chairman at Manovikas Charitable Trust, Chairman at Technical Evaluation Committee & Goa Solid Waste Management Corporation, Chairman at Organising Committee for Manohar Parrikar Vigyan Mahotsav.

He has widely travelled and visited the countries like USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Greece, Poland, Denmark, Japan, Ivory Coast and Guinea Bissau. What is the potential of the start-up sector in Goa?

Jose Noronha: Goa has approximately 300+ startups operating from various cities across the state. Goa is also among the first four states in the country to implement a dedicated start up policy to support early-stage innovative startups. Most of the digital nomads across the world have made Goa their most preferred workstation hotspot. Post pandemic unlock in the country, Goa has become the go to destination for all the remote working IT sector employees as it provides an ideal work-life balance and a great ambience to work on innovative solutions. The new telecom policy once implemented will help strengthen the connectivity infrastructure throughout the state and help the startup ecosystem in staying connected from the remotest part of Goa. With such support and a vibrant ever-growing ecosystem, Goa is poised to become one of the fastest growing startup ecosystems in the country. What efforts is the Goa Government taking to foster a start-up ecosystem in Goa?

Jose Noronha: The State Innovation Council is focused on creating the ecosystem and support system for early stage ideators and innovations through the various initiatives like Prototyping Grant Scheme for creating initial prototypes of designs and products and Provisional Patent Scheme for filing provisional patent application through patent agents/ firms.

The council conducts various programs like training in STEM Education such as Robotics, IoT, 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, Drone making, etc. for the schools and colleges in the state of Goa; IPR Awareness programs on prior art search, patentability, provisional patents & IPO; Design Innovation sessions to provide an introduction to the design thinking process by design professionals; Risk Capital Sessions to upskill the startups and innovators with the skills and knowledge about startup fundraising and Venture Capital; Orientation Program on innovation & startups for school teachers to train and guide the teachers on innovation and creativity and equipping with skills and knowledge that are essential for inculcating innovative ideas in students; Sensitization workshops on innovation & creativity are conducted to promote STEM Education amongst young students; Kids Financial Literacy; Entrepedia – Entrepreneurship Learning Program which is a platform to equip the students in building strong collaborative skills and most of all in molding their minds to develop the entrepreneurial way of thinking; Goa Waste Management Hackathon initiative to provide students a platform to solve challenges faced in solid waste management; Faculty Development Program in innovation & startups which provides inputs on processes and practice of innovation and startup development; Bootcamp on innovation & startups to promote and create awareness about innovation amongst young students from Colleges; Women Centric Workshop (WCW) to promote and create awareness about innovation amongst girl students.

The council also recognizes talent through competitions like the Goa’s Young Innovator’s Award a state level school competition to encourage innovative talent amongst young minds studying in the schools in Goa and Final Year Student Project Competition Wherein Engineering undergraduates in the state have the unique opportunity to showcase their final year projects.

The council also envisages to organize Goa Startup Week 2021 to exhibit the potential of startups in sectors like Agriculture, Food Processing & Fisheries, Education, Governance, Health, Environment (Waste Management), Mobility, Smart City, Tourism, Fashion, Alternative Energy

It is believed that ideas without implementation strategy are non-ideas and hence will not get purloined. As a proactive intervention to ensure fair turf and support the innovative ideas, we have initiated the Virtual Innovation Register (VIR). It will provide innovators an opportunity to register their ideas and source the required support to achieve the expected results. VIR will also function as innovation souk where innovators can display prototypes and talk directly to prospective buyers.

The State Government has also launched various schemes of financial assistance designed to help the startups in their most vulnerable stage such as funds for hiring and retaining fresh talent, paying for office space and internet charges, funds to file IPs, access subject matter experts, testing and R&D expenses etc. Do you see Goa becoming a start-up hub in the coming time?

Jose Noronha: Goa is a startup hub, but it is dispersed in the form of micro hotspots within the state. We are seeing several startups moving to Goa for various reasons. Goa also has seven incubation centers which makes highest per capita seat available for starting up. With access to good infrastructure, affordable internet access and quicker rollout of startup schemes, we will see the startup numbers grow in the next few years. Why must start-ups across the globe and India come to Goa?

Jose Noronha: Goa is home to some of the most premiere institutions in the country such as IIT Goa, NIT Goa, GMC, GCE, GIM etc. Goa has the right talent pool along with a large diversity in terms of end users (customer segments), for most startups to work on their ideas and get them validated. With an ecosystem always on its heels to support its fellow members and an unmatched support, access to policymakers, bureaucrats etc. to discuss issues, collaborate etc. Goa makes an ideal place. Besides this, the quality of life in Goa is great. Work hard and party hard is well suited for Goa. How is Goa promoting innovation and incubation?

Jose Noronha: Goa is working on a bottom-up approach to promote innovation & incubation within the state. Starting from the schools, the Goa State Innovation Council has taken up the responsibility to identify innovative minds and rewards them, to ensure they progress and take up their innovations to the next level. The council also works with incubators across the state to identify potential entrepreneurs and innovative projects across all the technical institutes in the state. The Startup Promotion Cell works with the incubators to help get the startups certified by validating their business models and helping them access the various schemes under the Goa Startup Policy, to ensure the success of the startup in establishing a sustainable business. The incubators help by incubating startups and educating potential entrepreneurs in setting up of ventures which promote innovation, generate wealth and employment for the local ecosystem.

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