A Seasoned Technocrat on a mission

Dr Omkar Rai, Executive Chairman Startup Odisha

by Subhechcha Ganguly
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Dr Omkar Rai is now helming Start up Odisha. He has envisioned to catapult Odisha into the top 3 startup ecosystems in the country. Dr Rai has enormous experience in incubating and nurturing startups across sectors during his long and varied tenure at STPI.

Under his leadership, the IT/ITES/ESDM industry witnessed a massive growth. He has played a seminal role in dispersing the IT/ITeS industry to Tier-2/3 cities in India and revolutionizing the tech startup ecosystem in India.

“Odisha is playing the role of an enabler, having set up 25 active incubators and supported 1,434 startups since 2016 of which 590 startups are led by women. We want to see Startup Odisha among the top-three startup ecosystems in the country. We are set to create at least 5,000 startups by 2025. A large number of incubators will be created to realise the dream”, he says.

His plans include a super digital fabrication laboratory (fablab) in O-Hub at Patia. The mother fablab will be generating small fablabs in different parts of the state in due course. Mini fablabs can be set up at the college-level and we become a leader in the creation of maker culture and infrastructure inclusively.

“We have started organising demo days to connect the startups with the corporate, governments and other potential establishments. We are providing them with a grant of Rs 16 lakh for product development and marketing. Apart from the need-based assistance, one time capital grant up to Rs 1 crore is also provided to an approved incubator and Rs 5 lakh of performance grant to incubator per successful startups. Several other incentives and offers are being planned in the upcoming policy, which is being prepared. It will help create a vibrant startup ecosystem”, he added.

Dr Rai is bullish on the growth of incubators in Odisha.

“There are 25 good incubators now operational in Odisha. We have a notable number of startups in food processing, agritech, health sciences, biotech, metallurgy, tourism, handicraft, art and culture. The portfolio of Startup Odisha is very diverse. The leader is of course the IT/ITes services with a share of around 23 per cent (pc), followed by 12 pc in food and beverages. We are a leading state for having around 40 pc women led startups There are several startups that have been really solving our problems and helping in augmentation of livelihood at the grassroots level. Still there is a vast opportunity in the areas of biotech, agritech, health sciences, metallurgy, plastics and chemicals”, said he.

Dr Omkar Rai has also set several milestones across his professional journey that once seemed untenable to many before he ventured in and disrupted the status quo through his ingenious leadership. During his previous stint, he has led IT industry towards growth, worked for the dispersal of IT Industry beyond metros and is known as the protagonist of software products.

Because of his efforts, the National Policy on Software Products 2019 was created by Ministry of Electronics and IT. He has created much talked Centres of Entrepreneurship initiative of Software Technology Parks of India in emerging technologies to make India self-reliant in technology products. This unique collaborative model has helped STPI in formulating 25+ CoEs in emerging technologies like AI, IoT, AR/VR, ACES, BlockChain, FinTech, Medical Electronics, Gaming & Animation, Cyber Security, Chip Designing, ESDM etc. for promoting R&D, Innovation and Startups in these areas.

His dynamic leadership and three decades’ association with IT/ITES/ESDM industry will bring a paradigm shift in the tech start-up revolution in the state and galvanize the culture of innovation and product development among the budding entrepreneurs and innovators in Odisha.

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