Overview

Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh and a city in central India, is known for its art, craft and handloom. In recent times, the city is being declaimed about for new account. It is the wave of startup that has hit the city in the past few years. The city has always been a home to business class people bootstrapping in retail, manufacturing, hospitality and health sectors but such is the euphoria that second generation people no longer desire to pursue their family business. Rather, they want to start something of their own. With the escalating amount of startups every year, the city is sedulous with more startup energy than ever.

Setting up your startup has always been challenging and raising funds is always a clog. But in a city like Raipur, you don’t face much of struggles as you always have an upper hand over metro cities where competition is at par. It’s a city with less competition and a lot of untapped opportunities wherein you can easily break into. Not to forget, cost-effectiveness is one of major reason which attracts young minds to thrive in this startup culture. It is so much affordable to commence your idea in this city than any other metro cities where the cost of rent and resources are simply skyrocketing.

Emerging Government Support

There is a significant rise in the startup community in the city and the government is an upright support. In a recent report by World Bank, Chhattisgarh has been ranked 4th for “Ease of Doing Business”. The government is already in talks with Nasscom, Microsoft and Cisco to set up their centres in the state. With pioneer of first business incubator cum accelerator, the state government launched 36inc in March 2018 which provides co-working space, fab-lab, funding, marketing linkages, mentorship and Initiatives such as “Think Raipur” by Smart City Project which induced so many ideas out of which the prominent one will be given a tax relief in the city to make it an outclass city. Notably, the government has started acclimating robust policies to accelerate the growth of startup Ecosystem.

Pillar of Strength: Headstart Network Foundation

The primary thing of every startup and hardest thing is validating your business model.  Headstart Network embarked its Raipur Chapter two years ago and ever since then, the community has shown a momentous rise in their contribution towards the startup ecosystem. Headstart is a grass root level volunteer driven non-profit organization and support system for entrepreneurs and startups trying to create an impact in the ecosystem to foster startups and innovation by its countless initiatives.

Any entrepreneur who aspires to turn his idea into reality or anyone who’s looking forward to upscaling his current business has been given an access to mentoring by Headstart through the plethora of initiatives organized from time to time. “Startup Saturday” is one of the popular networking community events which happens every month to inspire people by connecting them with connoisseurs of different fields who share their experiences and act as mentors to young aspiring minds.

Another toplofty initiative is ‘Kickstart’ which was organized on January 13, 2018 in association with IIM Raipur and 36inc. It was an initiative in which startups pitched their ideas to a panel of judges and battled it out to present themselves as the best. Winners of this event had their next round in All India Finals which was conducted in Bangalore. The winners of this initiative have raised a substantial amount of funding as well.

One of the biggest challenges faced by Raipur Ecosystem is to find the right talent pool for their organization. With this issue, the Headstart team came up with an expedient initiative of “Higher” wherein the employers and potential job seekers interacted in a speed-dating format. The success of this initiative was highly remarkable and has set a new bar of achievement for innovation and teamwork.
Headstart Network has been providing extensive mentorship, right from Women Entrepreneurship to student entrepreneurship.

Leading startups

Raipur is one of the shining cities of Indian Startup ecosystems. The city has notedly seen the rise of 90+ startups in the past two years. For a city where business families have ruled, the city is now setting eyes on startup culture. One of the prominent startups of the city in the Healthcare sector Mediklik offers free preventive healthcare services and have recently launched ASHA didi, a Health Assistant App. HealthPotli is another healthcare startup offering doorstep medicine delivery. iLrnn is an education technology startup offering LIVE interaction with industry-based experts to increase employability of fresh graduates from tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Codenicely is another upcoming startup founded by an alumnus of NIT Raipur. Minocular from IoT Sector leverages the power of technology to optimize mining. TechB from manufacturing sector is another promising startup manufacturing 3D printers and serving prestigious clients like DRDO and IITs. Acculegal delivers a wide spectrum of legal and consulting services to startups. The ecosystem is diversified and yet there is a tremendous scope of untapped opportunities.

Conclusion

       The growth has been extraordinary and the state has seen the ecosystem evolving, be it companies, startups, entrepreneurs or investors and a lot of opportunities are hitting the city. The regulatory framework by government also enthused first generation entrepreneurs to start the ventures. There have been a great numbers of ideas that have flourished. Vivid amount of funds have flown in and incubators have increased their initiatives to maximize their outreach and to boost the ecosystem.

Although challenges exist but with the buzz behind it, this is an invigorating time for Raipur city to make its mark on Indian Map for Startup Ecosystem in India. This is the most felicitous time for any investor to amplify his breadth as the city is all set to play in long pool.

Contributed by:
Nikita Vaswani
Volunteer- Headstart Raipur