A Leg Up to Small Startups: Kerala Budget Stands Apart

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Kochi: With its 2018 budget, the Kerala Government has taken a big step in helping the startup ecosystem, especially the small entrepreneurs who fail to make it big, says K Ganesh, Partner – GrowthStory.in and Chairman, Portea Medical. Considering the fact that only 5 per cent of the startups make it to the market, he stresses the importance of all ecosystem players – the government, media, advisors and mentors – in contributing to their success. “Kerala is known for grassroots entrepreneurship. It is the technology entrepreneurship, unicorns and multi-billion dollar businesses that get glorified all the time, but the real entrepreneurs are the shop owners and juice makers and they do not get the required funding,” says Ganesh.

Grants and government funding are crucial for small players, especially in the initial stage of business, says GrowthStory’s K Ganesh

“Grants and government funding similar to the one proposed in the budget are crucial for such small players, especially in the initial stage of business as they do not come under the Venture Capital (VC) model,” he says.
However, Ganesh expresses his disappointment over the Centre’s decision not to abolish angel tax. “When other countries are providing incentives to encourage angel investors, it is sad that India is imposing tax on the very little money startups are left with,” he says.

Possessing enough capital, understanding the business model, having a clear idea about VC and following the ‘rule of three’ are the key elements in finding the right investor for a startup, says Ganesh. According to the ‘rule of three’, every task takes three times the effort, three times the time and three times the money than the actual expectation of the entrepreneur. “Every business model requires finance for its implementation before it reaches a particular milestone. You should have enough money to reach your milestone before venturing into the business,” he says.

Citing an example from his own company, GrowthStory – a platform that promotes greenfield ventures working with passionate professionals and marquee VCs to create category leaders – Ganesh explains how they look out for opportunities for the next five to six years and build a business model using technology and digital marketing. They do extensive research to identify a market opportunity, get the right co-founders, seed it and find VC.
Ganesh also points out how coconut products are flourishing and becoming the super food. Considering the health benefits of coconut products like coconut oil, coconut sugar and coconut vinegar, he says that he is looking forward to promote these products in the future.

GrowthStory’s repertoire of successful greenfield ventures include BigBasket.com, BlueStone.com and Portea Medical. Portea Medical provides in-home healthcare services in 25 cities in the country. Ganesh’s spouse Meena is the Co-Founder, MD & CEO of Portea Medical.

While he appreciates student entrepreneurship and says that the best time to launch a startup is while studying, Ganesh in no way dismisses the importance of education and holds it as a key factor in the growth of an individual. His advice to students is to ensure that they have enough financial backup before venturing into a business.