STARTUPs IN INDIA's MAKE IN INDIA AGENDA

By M.N. Vidyashankar, IAS, President, IESA (India Electronics & Semiconductor Association)

M.N. Vidyashankar, IAS, President, IESA (India Electronics & Semiconductor Association)

IESA is the premier trade body representing the Indian Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) industry and has been represented it since 2005.

Late 1990s, India emerged as the back-office to many multinationals. And this gave momentum to the technology sector in India. Riding on its engineering management and software coding skills, India developed the art of product designing. Thus, the era of start-ups started in India.

However, silently the technology hardware sector was gearing up to create an ecosystem to drive the product designing and manufacturing in India. Today, both the industries are at an inflection point and need to create an ecosystem to front-lead India's manufacturing agenda.

The ecosystem, as desired, will not be possible without promoting existing and new start-ups. India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) has been leading the agenda through industry partnerships, driving industry-academia relationships, and partnering government bodies to set up incubation centre for the start-ups.

Industry Partnerships

IESA has been instrumental in promoting entrepreneurship through industry partnerships. Being an association, we have the foresight to identify the long-term needs looking at the present market scenario. Recently, we signed an MoU with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), Bangalore chapter, to promote start-ups and entrepreneurs in fabless semiconductor and electronic products with initial focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) space.

According to Machina Research data cited at a TiE panel, the global market for IoT in 2020 will be worth $373 billion in revenue, with $194 billion from hardware and $179 billion from software. India will account for $10-12 billion of this total revenue. IESA and TiE will actively promote the ecosystem to address the major challenges faced in current ecosystem: Design for Manufacture ability (DFM), Testing and Interoperability and Standards and enable the success of the start-ups.

We are working closely with DeitY and we have received approval for setting up of an Incubator, "Electropreneur Park", to support start-ups in the Electronics Design and Manufacturing. The incubator will be set up by a consortium comprising Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), Delhi University and India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA). The Incubator will specifically focus on development of product and IP creation in the mass consumption electronics product.

IESA is also closely working with government and industry to make India a default destination for electronics design-led manufacturing. Leveraging the potential in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the electronics sector can catalyze economic growth of the region through electronic manufacturing clusters. We have already started the process in Odisha and Pune.

Industry-Academia Partnerships

IESA has also taken a leap towards involving academic institutions in India, to drive the talent towards meeting the long-term demand. Dayananda Sagar Institutions is setting up an incubation centre for start-ups in the electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) space.

The incubation centre is open for start-ups and students. However, the centre has gone beyond traditional theory and start-ups can stay until they have a go-to-market strategy in place.

The Road Ahead

We need to be more patient, open minded and encourage risk-lovers and risk takers.We also need to invest time, energy and resources to drive product designing and proto-typing. Defense and Aerospace is another strategic electronics vertical which has immense potential to kick start a huge electronics Design and Manufacturing system in India. At present a major part of this is imported despite all the efforts by the MoD and Government to enthuse India Electronics Industry to embrace this segment. Similarly the Aerospace Segment, both defence related and civilian use, is slated to boom in the next five years and IESA is pro-actively taking steps to encash and capitalize on the opportunities available.

The PSU's and Defense labs have well acclaimed success stories. Essentially, they are not set up to scale up to meet the demands of the ever bludgeoning defence requirements and more so in the high technology electronics segment, which accounts for 25 to 30 percent of the requirements.

The Indian industry is best suited to create a strong partner network focused on ESDM to improve the component ecosystem. We are confident that India's manufacturing dawn is near reality, with start-ups shining all around.

 

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