Positioning Govt departments as the best marketplace for startups

The real challenge before the startups would be to develop high quality products that fulfil the requirements of various government departments and their fast delivery.

Innovative startups now have a destination to pursue with state administrative department heads stating that the government is the best market place for innovative startup products that help smooth delivery of a host of services from various departments to the people.

However, the real challenge before the startups would be to develop high quality products that fulfil the requirements of various government departments and their delivery within the prescribed time-frame. Speaking at a session on ‘How to do Business with Government – Government as a marketplace for startups’ at the two-day Huddle Global startup conclave organized by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), the government department chiefs said that as the first state to implement ‘Government as a Marketplace’ scheme, the Kerala Government has been extending all support to startups that develop products that can be leveraged by various departments.

Govt as a marketplace for startups

The government is always open to the ideas of startups and also is the best marketplace for them. This serves as a major driver of the state’s robust startup ecosystem, they added. According to Dr Ashok B, Secretary for Agriculture, farming and food production is a major area where startups can contribute significantly. The role of startups in food production begins from soil and ends at the breakfast table where they can satisfy a family’s requirement to have safe food.

As the food production system becomes heavily integrated, the human demand for safe food also increases. Startups do have a significant role in bringing healthy food products with fewer chemicals and pesticides to our breakfast table, he added.

It was pointed out that, in the coming years there will be radical changes in the way we live. And so, the startups have a wider scope in coming up with innovative ideas in areas like hydroponics, fermentation control, irrigation technology, genomics, and value-addition of the fundamental farm products.

V Vigneshwari, Director of Collegiate Education, said the big challenge before startups is to develop products that can fulfil all quality parameters. This is a critical issue faced by government departments in working with startups. The startups should also ensure prompt delivery of products within the deadline set by the departments.

Procurement of products from startups by Govt departments

The services of startups have been sought in creating and maintaining online portals and creation of content, besides for implementation of initiatives like Green Campus in the higher education sector, she added. On the role of startups in the tourism sector, she said, startups can contribute to restaurant management apart from coming up with attractive packages for tourists.

Snehil Kumar Singh, Deputy IT Secretary, Government of Kerala, said the government has leveraged startups in complete digitisation of offices and public services. Government never looks for complicated solutions from startups. So, startups should always come up with the simplest concepts to deal with government requirements, he said.

The needs of the government are always in a flux. So, when startups bid for a government project, they should ensure the concept are in tune to changing times and conditions, he added. Kerala is the first state to implement ‘Government as a Marketplace’, a key KSUM scheme that enables direct procurement of products from startups by government departments. Dr P V Unnikrishnan, Member Secretary, Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council, moderated the session.

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