The Karnataka State Government has selected eight technology based startups who will work to promote the potential of the tourism industry. All the selected startups will get a grant ranging from Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh to develop ideas and products. The names of the all selected startups were declared on the World Tourism Day in the hackathon organized by the Karnataka Startup Cell and the State Tourism Department.

The offered funding is a part of the Idea to Proof of Concept Grant Scheme (Idea2POC) announced by the government under the Karnataka Startup Policy 2015-20. According to the government, total 127 applications were received for this program whereas the selected startups will share a total grant amounting to ₹1.8 crore. This Scheme is an attempt to recognize those startups that have innovative tech solutions that can be implemented immediately. This entire means, the government has chosen only those startups that are serious and have everything ready to put into practice. The grant was announced by IT, BT and Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge a few months ago. He confirmed the department had set aside Rs 2.5 crore to fund such startups.

The offered funding is a part of the Idea2PoC scheme launched by the Department of IT, BT and S&T, Govt. of Karnataka. It is an ‘Ignition Fund’ disbursed in the form of grant-in-aid but limited to a one-time grant of up to ₹50 lakh. Priyank Kharge, Minister of State IT, BT & Tourism said, “Idea2POC offers entrepreneurs a support system to explore, develop and launch their best ideas. The scheme is designed to identify, mentor and fund enterprising tourism start-ups in Karnataka that can create a deeper, immersive experiences around the State’s manifold riches.”

The funds shall be released in different parts based on the life cycle of the business plan. Basically, this grant was announced to enable technology innovators or entrepreneurs to pursue a promising technology idea, and validate proof of concept by Govt.

Karnataka as an Emerging Tourist Destination

Karnataka is emerging as a tourist destination and government is committed to provide all kind of support to give a boost to this industry. All the chosen startups are Bengaluru based and they have many other reasons to be delighted. The state attracted over Rs 11,000 crore of the total outstanding investments worth over Rs 93,400 crore attracted by the hotels and tourism industry in India in June 2016.

According to a report conducted by the industry body ASSOCHAM, “Karnataka can attract over 15 crore domestic tourists and about 10 lakh foreigners by 2019, if the state promotes more inclusive tourism policies to derive better synergy of tourism and infrastructure development.” The report also said that the state has acquired third highest share in investments attracted by hospitality business. It has estimated, “Domestic tourist visits in the state can grow at a rate of about 6 per cent considering the recent trends of rise in domestic tourist visits together with improvement seen in physical infrastructure, rise in income and an increasing thrust on tourism promotion by state government.” The report added, “About 12 per cent share in total investments attracted by hotels and tourism industry across the country, Karnataka ranked third after Maharashtra and Gujarat.”

The Chosen Startups

The eight startups which are selected include AAO Hostels, Aseuro Technologies, Highir Technologies, Highway Delite, DigiTour Technologies, Trip Dairy, Moving Up Products and Trip On Food . All of them have received the 1st instalment of funds from Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The state government aims to nurturing 20,000 tech startups and 6,000 product startups under the startup policy.

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