The creation of industry innovation clusters has encouraged a new generation of entrepreneurs to grow and create jobs for others.
Startups from India are making their way into the global market. India now ranks third in the world in terms of innovation and start-ups after the US and China.
Change has not come overnight, the government is working hard to create a “new Jammu and Kashmir” and the results are visible with every passing day. In the last two years, there are many startups have been set up in Jammu and Kashmir and have proved to be game-changers for the youth in the Union Territory.
Jammu and Kashmir is emerging as a hub of startups in India. Industry and academia are promoting a culture of innovation and providing institutional support to budding innovators and researchers. There has been a number of brands that are building up in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government is also providing incubation and seed funding to the startups that have brilliant ideas and solutions.
The main idea of young innovators is that being heard, discovered, and implemented and job seekers are rapidly turning into employers.
Initiatives such as the Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED) have provided young minds with an opportunity to work on their ideas and sell them to the world.
The government is exploring startup potential in all sectors including agriculture, dairy, transport, handicrafts, food, and other allied sectors.
Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development (JKEDI) has been instrumental in creating a startup ecosystem by fostering an entrepreneurial culture and supporting innovation to improve knowledge, wealth and employability.
JKEDI is grooming the youth to build new business empires on a scale that was unimaginable earlier.
The new generation of entrepreneurs is challenging the old elite and government support is helping the youth get easy access to bank credit.
Graduates from top institutions in the ‘new Jammu and Kashmir’ no longer need to go abroad to take up jobs in a blue-chip company or further their education.
Today, youth without any support are also pursuing their dreams if they are technically qualified and have a good idea.
Entrepreneurs with a strong work ethic and dedication are working together to create something new and useful for consumers and earning money for themselves and their investors.
Technology has enabled individuals to carve a niche, set up their companies, build their businesses and taste success in less time.
The J&K Startup Policy provides for office space, monthly allowances, assistance in product research, energy assistance, taxpayer reimbursement for international patent filings, infrastructure support, access to international markets, funding, and other educational interventions.
There is a special focus is being given to companies with value addition in focus areas such as food processing and allied activities, textiles, agriculture, apparel and fashion technology, handicrafts and handlooms, renewable energy, electronic system design, and manufacturing, and information technology-enabled services.
In a short span of time, several startups like FastBeetle have become household names in J&K. FastBeetle has 70,000 users across Kashmir. They get groceries, food, medicines, gifts, documents, etc. through the company.
Its owner Sheikh Samiullah and Srinagar native Abid Rashid had set up the enterprise to deliver parcels on motorcycles. Today both of them are among the most successful entrepreneurs in Kashmir.
‘FastBeetle’ is also handling last-mile deliveries for Amazon outside the capital of Kashmir. Walmart-owned Flipkart is also using the delivery services of ‘FastBeetle’. During the second wave of COVID-19, ‘FastBeetle’ was one of the few operational couriers.
It delivered oxygen, medicine and other supplies to frontline workers and NGOs.
Another startup that has become popular in Srinagar is ‘Downtown Cafe’. It was started by two brothers Suhail and Nadeem, living in the Pampore area of Srinagar, 13 km from the city. He worked hard and made the city proud.
Situated in the Gojwada area of Srinagar’s old city, this restaurant is attracting locals as well as tourists. It serves about 90 people at a time.
When Suhail and Nadeem searched for startups in Srinagar, they found that there was no place where the youth could hang out with their families. So he created something for the youth to enjoy the culture and tradition of India when several startups from Srinagar opted to open western-style cafes.
Another startup ‘Move Beyond’ signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Innovation and Incubation Entrepreneurship Development Center (IIEDC) of National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar.
The International Youth Outreach and Employability Program was to target the youth of Jammu and Kashmir as part of this MoU.
The MoU states that youth will receive career counselling, life counselling, employability and rehabilitation, awareness programmes, counselling, skill development and counselling.
After the MoU was signed, Professor Rakesh Sehgal, Director, NIT Srinagar and Chief Patron of IYOEP, said that one of the fundamental responsibilities of higher education is to help local organizations like Move Beyond to drive regional development.
According to Sheikh Inayat Ullah, founder of Move Beyond, the organization aims to map youth, identify potential candidates and create local, national and international opportunities.
In addition to identifying bottlenecks, ‘Move Beyond’ has also developed solutions for them. It has supported many potential candidates at the state, national and international levels.
Move Beyond was praised during the visit of LG Manoj Sinha to NIT and full financial and administrative help was promised by the administration.
It has organized several free events and webinars, including the Fulbright Fellowship Awareness Program at the University of Kashmir, the first worldwide online career summit (2020), and webinars on the startup ecosystem and fashion design in Jammu and Kashmir.
It has also hosted Asia’s Leading Consultative Conference (2021). In addition, the startup launched its online educational series ‘Career Chat’.
All Things Kashmir, a startup based in Srinagar, is proving original high-end pashmina shawls, hand-woven rugs, scarves, spices, and other state handicrafts in one place. The startup was launched in February 2021.
The Srinagar-based direct-to-consumer (D2C) firm, founded by Mubashir and Zahoor Hassan Mir in February 2021, has become a one-stop store for authentic high-end scarves, pashmina shawls. Spices, hand-woven carpets, and other state handicrafts.
An MBA graduate from the University of Kashmir, Zahoor attributes his love of Kashmiri crafts to his family.
Another startup ‘Getos’ led by Gibran Gulzar delivers food and groceries to homes across Kashmir. In the first seven months of its operation, ‘Ghetto’ grossed over a million dollars.
In addition, ‘Getos’ has added over 1450 merchant partners, making it the largest startup ever from Jammu and Kashmir.
‘KashmirOneStop.co’ is recognized as one of the most renowned one-stop online and retail customers. It is still one of the greatest efforts of Rohit Bhatt and Meenakshi Rakesh Bhat, the founders of Kashmir Pandit.
They provide the best opportunities to reunite Kashmir with Japan and even bring Kashmir closer to India and even the largest part of the world. This company is unique in various ways as it is known as a one-stop shop for all luxurious and unique kinds of Kashmiri and Srinagar products including an exclusive range for all Kashmiri Pandits. Under Unique Holidays and Tourism, ‘Go Kash Adventures’ is located in Srinagar.
The startup arranges tours that combine historical and geographical sites in Jammu and Kashmir.
A well-known brand ‘Parsa’ created by Javid Parsa has started in Wazwan targeting college-going students. Apart from Kathi Roll, Mutton Korma, Kebabs and Biryani, Parsa’s menu includes various Kebabs and Biryani ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 190.
Wani always dreamed of owning a vehicle as he wanted to earn a respectable livelihood that could meet the needs of his family and open the door for a better tomorrow. He worked as a driver for various vehicle owners for about 12 years.
He could only survive face to face and could not save enough money to buy his vehicle. He could not afford his family of four including his two daughters, which he used to do with little salary.
In October last year, he came to know about the ‘Mumkin’ livelihood scheme for unemployed youth. He contacted the officials of Mission Youth, who ensured that he got the benefits and till now he is the proud owner of Tata Yodha.
‘Mumkin’ is a livelihood program primarily designed for unemployed youth in the age group of 18 to 35 years. Under the ‘Mumkin’ scheme, small commercial vehicles are provided to the youth, in which the banking partner facilitates the loan. 100% of the on-road price of the vehicle to be purchased.