AMARAVATI: Andhra Pradesh Minister of IT Nara Lokesh took jibes at Telangana’s government’s prestigious startup initiative T-Hub. Speaking on startup approach taken by governments at the CII summit, he said, “We don’t charge you for seating. You come to my building and we charge Rs5000 give you a seat to work? We don’t do that. We follow Cohort model, wherein we mentor you for free of cost”. It may be recalled here that T-hub charges around Rs5500per seat for a startup exclusive taxes. Startups cannot afford that much money as they don’t have funds and are always in crisis. Lokesh said, “In AP when you talk about Innovation and startups, you don’t see buildings. I believe that is not where startups are. We think big buildings are going to solve this problem. Absolutely not. I strongly believe that it is about mentoring mentoring and mentoring”.
Telangana government will be launching a new building T-hub Phase2 which will be the world’s second largest incubator. The construction of this building is in progress and will be inaugurated towards the end of this year spread over 3.5 lakh sq ft. Lokesh certainly did an upright research before speaking at a conference of this massive scale. He has hit the nail on the head by addressing the ground realities of the problems faced by start-ups. Startups don’t need building, they can work from anywhere, with an internet connection. What they need is guidance from people who have industry experience. Experts often spoke about market access while startups have often complained about lack of proper mentors in India. Lokesh said that AP’s startup model is purely based on mentoring and giving access to market. These words were like melody to the ears of startup founders.
“In AP my budget for accelerator is one million dollars and it is among top six accelerators in the country today. They operate out of rented premises. If you want an office it is going to cost me two million dollars, I would rather put that money on 20 companies and mentor those companies and grow those”, he said. However, one thing common in the speeches of both IT ministers when it comes to speak about startups is that, they both tend to give reference to only specific startup. While KTR always speaks about the RTA m-wallet app, Lokesh always speaks about Biodegradable banana fiber shaving brush and each brush costs 3Rs. Either ways, Lokesh certainly sounds to be better equipped with ground realities than KTR who has been promoting only one app and T-Hub from past two or three years.