Pre-dominantly known for its food, clothes, culture and all things historic, there’s something else that Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh capital will soon be known for – its growing start-up ecosystem. The city has undergone a major face lift in the past couple of years in terms of its infrastructure. But projects like the MetroRail, an International Cricket stadium, lush green parks, swanky malls, and high-rise luxury apartments are not the only things contributing towards Lucknow’s growth.
Home to approximately 400 start-ups ranging from food, logistics, education, health to e-commerce, Lucknow has gradually warmed up to the hi-tech culture. This can be attributed to the fact that a host of young and dynamic innovators are now opting for Lucknow as their preferred start-up destination.
Besides being a favoured choice among entrepreneurs, the start-up ecosystem in the state is also getting backed by private and government institutions. There are many parameters that are required for a thriving ecosystem such as the presence of management support, technology, incubators and ideal workplaces. Here’s looking at some of the factors that have boosted Lucknow’s start-up and business culture.
In order to become a success story, networking is the one skill that every business needs to have. There are various global organisations that provide like-minded entrepreneurs a platform to discuss and promote entrepreneurship in the society. This is turn helps them get more business and also benefits young entrepreneurs as a marketing source.
Lucknow is home to organisations like The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), a non-profit venture supporting entrepreneurs from all industries and at all stages from incubation throughout the entrepreneurial life cycle and Business Network International (BNI) – a professional referral organization that provides a unique platform that integrates face to face networking with an online social network.
Any business will struggle to survive it if does not find the necessary support. This is especially true in case of start-ups. In Lucknow, there are various incubators – both government and privately owned that provide support, work space, funding, mentoring and training to businesses.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh has setup the IT Upvan and the Lucknow Chapter of Start-ups Accelerator of India and plans to set up a new incubator spreading over 40 acres near the airport. Grants in collaboration with SIDBI have been allocated to different colleges and universities to set up more incubators and the government has also announced a 1000 crore fund for start-ups.
On the other hand, there are early stage investors such as Venture Catalysts, known for development of start-ups through angel investing, management consulting and advisory, and other support services; the Indian Angel Network, and the Lucknow Angel Network (LAN) lend mentoring, networking support in addition to funding. LAN was founded by a group of early stage investors (HNI’s) working together to boost the startup ecosystem in Tier-2 cities particularly Lucknow, while also offering incubation space for the start-ups.
Unlike regular office spaces, co-working spaces house multiple companies under a single roof. This style is shared workplace is often suitable for new ventures. Since the entrepreneurship culture is booming in Lucknow, there is no dearth of options that include: Collab Cowork, Incuspaze, Spring House, Coworking space and on top of it, Regus (Hazratganj and Gomti Nagar).
Such ready-to-start-work spaces offer dedicated cabins, conference rooms, meeting rooms, shared desks and lounges among other facilities and are apt for start-ups, freelancers and business visitors to the city.
A key aspect in empowering entrepreneurs and building a sustainable start-up culture is mentoring. It is important to develop and provide an environment that provides a comprehensive understanding of the services that support such businesses. There are various organisations that work towards increasing the likelihood of success of start-ups such as TiE, Bootcamp and LMA.
Bootcamp is a global organisation set up in Copenhagen to support early-stage tech founders. It provides mentorship and direct access to an international network of partners and investors in their industry. Whereas the Lucknow Management Association was formed as a local chapter of AIMA (All India Management Association) and together with IIM Lucknow, it is working towards creating an eco-system for start-ups in Lucknow and U.P. The entrepreneurship cell of IIM Lucknow and other premier business schools such as Jaipuria School of Management keep organizing various seminars and conferences on entrepreneurship.
The start-up culture in Lucknow is slowly but steadily catching up. Not only is the young talent contributing to Lucknow’s growth story with their innovative ideas, but even the investors are keen on tapping into the city’s potential. With ground-breaking business ideas and increased job creation, the city’s stature is sure to become imperative when it comes to start-ups in North India, particularly the state of Uttar Pradesh.
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