State Government & Universities of Gujarat Take Lead In Implementing Prime Minister’s “Start Up India, Stand Up India” Mission

Gujarat University proposes a unique partnership between state varsities and the government, and discuss the possibility of facilitating the creation of over 1000 student startups in a year

On Friday, August 21, 2015, the Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat University, Dr. MN Patel, hosted a meeting of Vice-Chancellors of all public and private universities of Gujarat. The meeting was chaired by Hon. Minister of Education, Shri Bhupendrasinh Chudasama.

The crucial role of state government and universities to support student startups & entrepreneurship was discussed by all attendees, which included senior-most government officials including the Commissioner for Higher Education, District Development Officer (Ahmedabad), over 25 Vice-Chancellors / representatives of universities, amongst others.

Considering the recent boom in startups & entrepreneurs across the country and the rising job crunch, Gujarat University proposed an equal partnership between the state government and all universities of Gujarat to develop common policies, frameworks and mechanisms to support and nurture student startups & entrepreneurs.

“The state government and my ministry will take all necessary steps to make this possible. You are all experts in this domain and I request you to guide me to take this forward,” firmly remarked Shri Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, state cabinet minister for Education, before starting his address to the attendees.

Speaking about the pivotal role of universities and state government in supporting student startups & entrepreneurs, Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat University Dr. MN Patel said, “All around the world, like in Silicon Valley in United States, or in Waterloo in Canada, or in Japan or in Australia, the best systems for supporting and nurturing startups & young entrepreneurs are operating successfully around universities in a sustainable manner.”

“In Gujarat, we have close to 15 lakh students in higher education. Did you know more than 180 countries have a population of less than 15 lakhs, and some of these countries include UAE, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland, Luxembourg, etc? It is said that at an average a successful startup can create over 100 direct or indirect jobs over five years. What if Gujarat was to create 1000 successful startups every year? Is that not possible, given that we have more than 15 lakh students?,” Dr. Patel said.

Dr. Patel asked, “Why can’t all universities work together with the state government to form a common policy and common frameworks to support and nurture student startups & entrepreneurship?”

Citing the Prime Minister’s “Startup India, Standup India” mission, the attendees discussed a strategies to make Gujarat the #1 state in student startups.

Minister of Education Shri Bhupendrasinh Chudasama lauded efforts of Gujarat University and others in this area and suggested creation of a coordination committee with representations of the state government, universities, chambers of commerce, and experts from several fields, that shall implement a common student startup policy for Gujarat.

“I am happy that such a meeting has been organised by Gujarat University, and I believe that the state government should take a lead to incorporate such idea to materialise.”

Also discussed during the meeting was the “Startup Scheme” developed by the Industries ministry of Gujarat where in a grant of over Rs. 10 lakh for at least 500 startups of Gujarat was approved by the Gujarat government recently. A stipend of Rs. 10,000 per month for each entrepreneur for a period of one year is also provisioned in the Startup Scheme.

Mr. Sunil Parekh, one of the members of the team that drafted the Startup Scheme was also present at the roundtable, and explained the scheme in detail to the attendees present. “The implementation of the Startup Scheme is to be done by ‘nodal institutions’ and universities can play a crucial role by applying to become a nodal institute,” explained Mr. Parekh.

The meeting was concluded with the decision of expediting the creation of the coordination team to implement the common student startup policy. The team will have significant representations of the universities; education, finance and industries ministries of the state; the industries chambers’; other significant actors from the entrepreneurial ecosystem such as incubators, startups, as well representations from the civil society and the student community.