Sops For Emerging Startup Hubs Announced

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Karnataka government has announced India’s first EV industrial zone in the Hubballi-Dharwad-Belagavi, which will encompass an area of 500 acres

The state government will also establish Karnataka Startup Hub which will house around 5,000 startups

The state has also announced sops to provide impetus to entrepreneurship and innovation in emerging tech hubs of the state

In a bid to establish other startup hubs in the state, Karnataka Government has announced a slew of sops to develop the Hubballi-Dharwad-Belagavi (HDB) region. 

While unveiling the blueprint for HDB cluster, Karnataka IT Minister Ashwathnarayan CN announced the setting up of India’s first electric vehicle (EV) industrial zone in the region which will encompass an area of 500 acres.

Ashwathnarayan also said that the zone would envisage building a common centre for testing, validation and certification of EVs. 

The project is the brainchild of Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM) in partnership with the state government. 

Under the project, Karnataka Startup Hub will also be established that will house around 5,000 startups. Besides, an 20,000 seater information technology (IT) park will also be set up in public private partnership (PPP) mode in the region to scale the next generation of startups emerging out of the region. 

A 1 Lakh sq. ft. plug-and-play factory will also be established to enable startups from the domain of engineering and manufacturing to scale up their businesses. The Minister, in his speech, also announced five centres of excellence to boost research and development (R&D), training and innovation across the state. 

In addition, authorities are also mulling a plan to set up an INR 150 Cr-Global Emerging Technology Design Centre at Belagavi and a Centre of Excellence on Artificial Intelligence in the state. 

KDEM also plans to host multiple initiatives that will provide various opportunities to the startups, specifically women-led platforms. It will also hold regional shark tanks in the HBD region to spur innovation and entrepreneurship.

Ashwathnarayan made the comments at the two-day tech conclave, Techceleration 2022, organised by KDEM. A precursor to the much touted Bengaluru Tech Summit 2022 slated in November, the event saw industry leaders, policy makers and founders in attendance. The programme largely debated ways to spur the next wave of startups from the HDB cluster.

Speaking at the event, the Minister also noted that a cumulative revenue totalling INR 1,400 Cr had been realised from the cluster in the past one year. 

“We are proud to announce that Hubballi-Dharwad-Belagavi cluster in the last year has seen a cumulative revenue of INR 1,400 crores. We have received investment interests of INR 300 Cr in the ESDM sector alone. I am thrilled to see KDEM’s initiative to bring entrepreneurs, industry, academia, and government together, and the momentum for Beyond Bengaluru building up and becoming a reality”, said Ashwathnarayan. 

He further noted that investors have expressed interest in the Hubballi Cluster Venture Fund to the tune of INR 300 Cr, specifically in the area of electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM).

Ashwathnarayan also said that as many as ten startups incubated in the HBD cluster had received ‘attention from investors.’

Focus On HBD Cluster

Each of these regions have, over the years, looked at perfected a specific industry to push the state’s growth engine. While Hubli-Dharwad has been renowned for its focus on the foundry and the automobile sectors, Belagavi has veered towards the aerospace sector owing to the aerospace special economic zone (SEZ) set up in the region. 

While other areas such Mangaluru are already known for their banking industry, Mysuru is being developed as an ESDM and cybersecurity  hub. The state has been looking to scale up these emerging tech hubs and enable more startups to emerge from these areas. 

So far, the HBD cluster boasts of more than 80 funded startups that have created 4,500 jobs. Not just this, startups from the region have so far registered 65 trademarks and have filed for more than 90 intellectual properties (IPs). 

The state claims to support more than 400 startups as part of the overall ecosystem in HBD region, with women entrepreneurs accounting for 30% of the total founder count.

The initiative is part of the larger Beyond Bengaluru approach adopted by the KDEM and the government to develop emerging tech clusters outside India’s Silicon valley. While HBD has been the pre-emptive focus of the government, the government has also onboarded Mangalore and Mysuru onto the bandwagon to create more jobs and opportunities in the region. 

KDEM claims to be a vision group that works with trade associations and the government to develop initiatives to bridge the gap between the two parties. Modelled on a 51:49 partnership between the public and the private sector respectively, KDEM has been envisaged with streamlining promotional efforts abroad to attract more investment to the state. 



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