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Karnataka leads from the front as an innovation hub: Priyank Kharge

Bengaluru and Karnataka are leaders in various sectors because the state has been nurturing them for many years, and entrepreneurship did not happen overnight, said Priyank M Kharge, Minister, IT, BT and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Government of Karnataka, during his keynote address at TechSparks 2023, YourStory’s flagship startup-tech event.

“We are producing the highest number of graduates for the Indian workforce. Show me any other educational landscape that is as big, vibrant, and as agile as Karnataka,” Kharge said, after highlighting the 1,777 public and private industrial training institutes apart from the 243 engineering colleges and 60 medical colleges established in Karnataka. 

Karnataka progressed as an industrial state powered by the influx of public sector units, and the city of Bengaluru was established as a city of trade and commerce by design where entrepreneurship can flourish, Kharge said, emphasising the role of the existing entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state.

Kharge, who was re-assigned to the IT ministry portfolio earlier this year, went on to speak about the transformation of Bengaluru from a call centre hub to IT services, and eventually, an innovation hub with four hundred of the Fortune 500 companies having their R&D centres in the city.

Addressing the invitees at TechSparks 2023, he elaborated that Karnataka remains at the top in terms of receiving foreign direct investment (FDI), accounting for 38-40% of investment inflows in the country. The IT minister, who also holds a biotechnology portfolio in the state cabinet, also highlighted that Bengaluru alone supplies nearly 60% of the biotechnology exports from India.

Priyank Kharge
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Further, he disclosed that Karnataka is also the leader in technical manufacturing, with over 52% share in machine tools, and a 65% share in aerospace and defence manufacturing.

“We have one-third of India’s tech talent in the state. With 140 accelerators and incubators, forty-three unicorns, and forty-seven soon-to-be unicorns, we raised $66 billion from VCs last year, and our startup ecosystem is valued close to around $200 billion dollars,” said Kharge, and spoke on the flourishing startup ecosystem in Bengaluru.

Talking about the evolving fintech ecosystem in Bengaluru, Kharge added that around 2,400 fintech startups from the city received funding last year, raising close to around $9 billion.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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