Odisha government has decided to keep aside two per cent of the annual plan budget for development of the IT sector and encourage entrepreneurship. “This will amount to around Rs.800 crore and very soon the government is expected to come up with a start-up policy,”Aditya Mohapatra, deputy secretary in the department of Electronics and IT, said while addressing a three-day workshop on “Entrepreneurial Opportunity in IT Sector” at the SOA University.

The need today is to innovate and think out of box while focusing on changing the mindset of the society, he said, adding the government wants people to come up with their novel ideas for entrepreneurship and start-ups.

“The government is also thinking of organising idea and app contests where people could come forward with their own ideas and thoughts,” Mohapatra said. Manas Ranjan Panda, Director of the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), Bhubaneswar, was the other expert who attended the inaugural session. Referring to people like Mark Zuckerberg, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, icons in the modern IT-propelled world, Mohapatra said they had shown what entrepreneurship could lead to and it should encourage young people to think out of box and go for start ups. “Don’t join a company,but think of launching your own company,” he advised the students. Panda said the nationwide start-up program launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday could motivate people to go for start-ups.

The STPI had already created 2 lakh sq ft of incubation space in Odisha so far in the cities of Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Rourkela and Balasore, he said. Experts from the Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC), SIDBI, STPI, District Industries Centre and SOA University,besides successful entrepreneurs would be speaking in the different sessions of the workshop to provide ideas about identifying opportunities, the intricacies of launching SSI units. Prof. PK Nanda, Dean (Research) of SOA University, said India is at least 50 years behind the developed nations in the field of research and the country. Front-ranking universities like Stanford had been converging Biotechnology with other sciences which had changed the old pedagogy, he said, adding the SOA University had set up an incubation centre to take innovation and encourage new ideas. Prof. J ayadev Bala, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor-incharge of the Entrepreneurship Development Cell of SOA University, said entrepreneurship was about identifying an opportunity and converting it into a commercial venture. Bill Gates dropped out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when he spotted an opportunity and the rest was history,he said. Prof. P.K.Sahu, Dean of the Institute of Technical Education and Research (ITER), the faculty of engineering of SOA University and Prof. Srikant Pattnaik, head of the department of Computer Sciences, also spoke.