Technology: Google India launches start-up hand-holding programme in Pune

PUNE: Google India launched its start-up hand-holding programme, “Solve for India” in Pune on Friday. Over 1,000 entrepreneurs and developers attended the event.

As part of the initiative this year, Google India will focus on tier-II cities of the country where it will focus on entrepreneurs who solve “real world problems,” and cater largely to the non-English speaking audience.

This will be the fourth phase of Google’s programme for entrepreneurs — the first three focussed only on Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. As part of this, Google hopes to interact with about 10,000 start-ups and entrepreneurs across the country.

“In the past 8-10 months, we have seen an increasing trend of entrepreneurship activity in tier-II cities…The penetration of internet (due to low cost) has accelerated the pace of internet usage on smartphone,” said Karthik Padmanabhan, Program Manager Lead for Google India.

He said that they are seeing that a lot of start-ups are trying to create solutions to solve “real world problems,” in their communities.

The internet giant will focus on Pune, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kochi, Indore, Nagpur, Nashik, Madurai, Kanpur and Chennai over the next one year.

Padmanabhan said that Google India will provide selected start-ups and entrepreneurs “expertise and experience of building products,” across a range of google platforms and at advanced stage mentorship will also be provided to scale-up an enterprise.

“Entrepreneurs will get an opportunity to learn directly from Google engineers who will share product usage insights, how to develop mobile first solutions with strong offline and language capabilities and help them to build solutions across areas like Agri-tech, Healthcare, Transportation, Education, Sanitation and more,” the company said in a statement.

Asked why google is participating in the start-up ecosystem, Padmanabhan said that though explosive growth of internet is happening, local language apps are necessary to engage the audience.
“People have smartphones in India but they should have apps they can use and only then will they remain engaged,” he said.
On Friday, Google India said, about 300 entrepreneurs and about 700 developers
participated in the solve for India campaign in Pune. Of these, the tech giant will select a few scalable models and put it through its Launchpad programme.
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