The new State Policy seeks to promote startup entrepreneurship and generate economic opportunities in Goa

The State Government has unveiled the Goa Startup Policy 2021 earlier this month, after its predecessor, the 2017 policy lapsed this year. The new policy aims to create and support new startups, and boost economic opportunities in Goa.

The 2017 policy expired in 2020 and was extended two times for six months each till September 30, 2021.

The Goa Startup Promotion Cell (SPC) began work on the new policy in the first half of 2020 by keeping in mind the 2017 startup policy and seeking inputs from various stakeholders and startups. Ideas were also sought from the Centre’s Department for Promotion of Industry and from Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

The State government has also assured that all the existing startups registered under the Startup Policy 2017 shall continue to be registered under the Startup Policy 2021. All incentive applications submitted on or before September 30 shall be processed and paid.

Moreover, all registered startups will now be allowed to operate 24×7.

What is a StartUp?

According to the Goa Startup Policy 2021, all entities with an annual turnover not exceeding `100 crore in any of the preceding financial years, regardless of the type of business but working towards development or improvement of a product, process or service and/or have a scalable business model, are officially recognised as startup units.


The Policy 2021 envisions ‘to put Goa on top of the Start-up game’ and make it feature in the top 25 startup destinations in Asia by 2025.


The ambitious policy aims at making Goa an inviting destination for high value startups and bring along the best entrepreneurial minds to make it a strong startup ecosystem. The creation of at least 500 innovative, sustainable, and technology enabled startups in Goa by providing essential assistance and support in the next three years, and providing employment to at least 6,000 Goans will also be undertaken under the policy.

The Startup Policy also seeks to develop technology and innovation hubs, incubation centres, and research and development labs in the next three years.

The policy endeavoursto provide technical and problem-solving skills to Goan students in a bid to increase their chances of employability in various startups. This will be done through a collaboration between industry, academia, and through the introduction of DIY modules in schools, and online open courses in the University.

The Policy

A venture capital fund (VCF) and incentives for women entrepreneurs are some of the new offerings of the 2021 policy.

The government will create a venture capital fund (VCF) to meet the fundingrequirements of startups in the State. The fund will operate as ‘fund of funds’ and indirectly invest up to `One Crore, in lieu of equity in promising startups. Through this, the government aims to finance at least 25 startups in and around Goa.

In order to boost the State’s prospects as a startup destination in the country, the Startup Cell will also extend the support from Fund of Funds to Startups from outside Goa who set up their major operations in the State and employ more than 50 per cent locals.

There is not much of an increase in other incentives and funding provided under the 2021 policy in comparison to the 2017 policy. Financial incentives to incubators and for R&D, patent, and working capital are more or less the same.

Special benefits are being provided to startups hiring local talent; they will be entitled to a maximum salary reimbursement of `15,000 per month per recruit from the earlier maximum reimbursement of `10,000 per month per recruit.

In order to promote innovation amongst Goan startups, 50% of Research & Development expenses, including salaries of PhD holders by startups will be reimbursed for a period of two years subject to a cap of `5 lakh per annum. As per the new policy, it will also include salaries of employees with master’s degrees.

The State is also offering exemptions beyond the scope of the policy on a case-to-case basis for startups operating in the domains of smart cities, urban management, mining, tourism and hospitality, gaming, waste management, renewable energy, education, health care, communication, and entertainment.

In addition, various funds like the Proof of Concept Fund, Seed Loan Fund, Working Capital Fund, Women Entrepreneurs Development Fund, Research & Development Fund, Student Innovation Fund, Skill Development Fund, and Incubation Support Fund have been dedicated to financially support various startups.

Special Incentives to Women Entrepreneurs

Sunaya Shirodkar, Founder, Robokits

In an effort to encourage women to launch their own startups, the policy provides special incentives and funds to women entrepreneurs. It offers a monthly allowance of `22,000 to these startups for a period of one year at the inventive stage. Startups by women will also be eligible for marketing or technology support assistance of up to `10 lakh. A Women Entrepreneurs Development Fund will also be set up through which a maximum of 40 women-led startups will be supported annually.

“As an entrepreneur, I feel that it is a welcome move that special attention is being given to female entrepreneurs,” says FiiRE (Forum for Innovation Incubation Research and Entrepreneurship) incubatee, Sunaya Shirodkar. “The mentorship programmes, technical and financial support will especially be crucial to first generation entrepreneurs. In addition, constant communication and one to one correspondence between entrepreneurs and the policy-makers will be important to ensure that the policy is implemented in the correct manner.”

The Policy at Work

D S Prashant, CEO, FiiRE

The Goa Startup Policy 2021 hopes that the State’s diverse culture, human and environmental resources and quality of life will convince entrepreneurs to make Goa their operational base.

According to D S Prashant, CEO of FiiRE, “The Startup Policy is an acknowledgement of the role of startups in the developmental activities of the government. The revised policy shows the intent of the State to make the necessary changes required to support this dynamic space.”

He further added, “If we are able to implement the policy effectively, it will be a great tool for the development of Goa and a great model toutilise the raw power of India. Its implementation will decide the impact of the policy on the startup ecosystem and the impetus it has on the future of entrepreneurship in Goa.”

Rohin Parker, Co-Founder, Spintly

“The Startup policy is a great initiative by the Government to promote startups in the state to help create employment. We have received great benefits fromthe previous policy and as a startup, it was really helpful. So far we have created 60+ jobs in Goa and plan to create more jobs. I think the Government can do better in terms of implementation of the policy and disbursement of funds, so that deservingstartups get timely support. Also they need to have a strong definition for startups and IT companies as currently there is some confusion between the two,” opines co-founder of Spintly, Rohin Parker.

Currently, there are 111 startups certified with the Startup Promotion Cell (SPC), while there are over 350 startup units across all industries and sectors of which more than 140 startups are certified with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Goa has more than 15 co-working and incubator spaces and over 20 e-cells and innovation councils in the State.

The stakeholders of Goa’s startup and technology space await the roll out of the new Startup Policy in its true intents and vision.

“We must create additional quality workspaces in Goa for startups, with better and stable internet connectivity”

MILIND ANVEKAR | President, Goa Technology Association

“With an objective to build a strong IT and startup ecosystem in Goa, Goa Technology Association has worked closely with the Government of Goa towards drafting the best possible startup and IT policy for Goa. While IT policy implementation has always been a challenge in Goa, I am glad that this time around, we have examples wherein some startups and IT companies have been the beneficiaries of the policy incentives. This goes a long way in building trust in our policies and attracting investment and job creation. There are more than 100 startups now registered with the DoIT and the number is expected to increase 5 fold in the next 3-4 years. I welcome the new startup policy which has additionally focused on 24×7 operations, relaxation of labour laws and encouragement to women entrepreneurs. While the policy aims to have 500 plus startups registered or operating from Goa, it will be important to understand how the 6000 job creation objective will be achieved. Previous policy projection was at an average of 50 jobs per startup. This is now revised to 12 jobs per startup, on an average, which might still be a challenge as per the current average numbers for Goa. It is also important that we also focus on creating additional quality workspaces in Goa for startups, with better and stable internet connectivity.

The Labour Department has partnered for fully supporting the relaxations in the policy; quick policy benefit rollouts to eligible startups through a transparent process and showcasing the success stories from Goa to the world.

It is great to see the startup ecosystem growing in Goa and providing innovations and solutions to the world. GTA continues its efforts and support towards building a strong IT and startup ecosystem in Goa.”

“The current policy is framed to facilitate more outsourcing and lesser job opportunities for Goans”

ROHAN KHAUNTE | MLA Porvorim, Goa / former Information Technology Minister, Goa

“The absolute stagnation in the Goa Government for the past 2.5 years has led to diminishing economic activities, including lack of support and promotion for startups. Policy paralysis and poor implementation have caused existing startups to suffer, as the benefits fail to filter down to the founders and team members.

A cursory review of the newly proposed policy reveals that it is not very Goa-centric and will only help siphon off funds and benefit outsiders. While the current Goa Government has increased the budget four times the previous amount, the targeted benefits will only reach an additional 20%. The current policy is framed to facilitate more outsourcing and thus lesser job opportunities for Goans.

The creation of ‘Incubation Support Fund’ and its modus operandi gives rise to a lot of suspicions. The lack of transparency makes it look like a BJP Collection Box of election funds wherein the stakeholders will contribute much like the PM Cares Fund, which caters only to the party and not the public.

As the Information Technology Minister in 2017, I had come up with a policy that would have benefitted Goan startups more. Under my tenure, the policy was so framed that most of the funds had a dedicated purpose – like creation of Greenfield/Brownfield incubators or accelerators, working capital loan, loan or grant for creating MVP, etc. All this is now replaced by the VC Fund which only reduces the transparency in the system and gives more financial powers to outsiders, that will easily facilitate the mismanagement of funds.

While the idea of creating a ‘Fund of Funds’ is good, the devil lies in the detail and only time will reveal the implications of implementing such a non-transparent and outsider-centric policy.

The current government has been dragging its feet on startups for the past two years and has had a sudden electoral wakeup call to review its Start-Up policy. It is clearly evident that the intent of this sudden change of interest is purely political and will not contribute to any substantial changes to the startup scenario in the long run.”

Silicon Valley-based FOUNDER INSTITUTE launches pre-seed startup accelerator in Goa

Priyanka Row

Founder Institute, one of the world’s largest pre-seed accelerators, is officially launching its newest chapter in Goa. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 200 cities, the Founder Institute provides high-potential entrepreneurs and teams with the devoted support network and structured growth process needed to get to traction, mentoring and funding. Leading the efforts to launch the Founder Institute in Goa are local startup leaders ChintanOza (Advisor, Lloyds Ventures), Pritam Onsker (Co-Founder & CEO, Brunchbites), Priyanka Row (Co-Founder, Brunchbites& Mind Coach, Priyanka Row LLP).

Many of the region’s top startup investors, founders, and local accelerators have expressed interest in mentoring entrepreneurs in the program and collaborating to benefit from the global exposure. Any aspiring entrepreneur or team interested in building an enduring technology or other startups in Goa is invited to apply to the Goa Virtual 2022 Founder Institute. The Founder Institute Goa Virtual 2022 pre-seed accelerator program begins on Mar 22, 2022; and aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to get constant feedback and regular office hours with 50+ Goa mentors, investors, and entrepreneurs, make quick progress on their business.

First ‘Startup Social’ hosted at Anjuna

Aditi Seshadri of Unlock Impact, a social impact consultancy that is launching a platform for women entrepreneurs, and SapnaShahani of Blurb, a brand and marketing consultancy wanted to create a space for startups like themselves to share challenges and find solutions in a casual setting. So they organised a gathering called ‘Startup Social’ at a café in Anjuna called Nata on Thursday, November 11 from 6-8pm.

Sapna Shahani and Aditi Seshadri

Around 25 entrepreneurs, small business owners and enthusiasts attended the event which featured a talk by Samarth Kholkar, co-founder of B:Live, an enterprising startup based in Goa. B:Live began as an electronic vehicle tour company, got funded, held on to their team of around 45 staff pan-India during the pandemic and recently launched their first electronic vehicle store in Hyderabad, besides retailing EVs online.

Attendees introduced themselves and participated in a ‘reciprocity ring’ where they could ask for help that they needed and anyone in the crowd could offer their assistance. Requirements ranged from investment advice to recruitment and connections. The event is planned for the second Thursday of every month at a different location. If you would like to be informed of future events, please contact Blurb or Unlock Impact.

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