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The Goa Network: Connecting Businesses and Startups



Panaji: The launch of The Goa Network (TGN) was held recently at Surendrababu Timblo Hall, GCCI, Panaji. The event featured distinguished guests including Mr. D S Prashant, CEO of the Startup and IT Promotion Cell, Government of Goa, Ms. Rafina Shaik, Founder of GOWOMANIA, WEBN, and Managing Partner at Goenkart, Mr. Tushar Sawant, Enterprise Development Manager at FiiRE, Mr. Amol Palkar, Managing Partner at Kena Capital Advisors LLP, and Dr. Kuldeep D’mello, Director of Smile Dental Clinics and Real Estate Consultant.The Goa Network is a platform for connecting startups and businesses based in Goa and aims to promote innovation, economic growth, and societal development by connecting startups with individuals, resources, expertise, and opportunities, thereby attracting Digital Nomads and startups to Goa. The event began with Mr. Amol Palkar, Managing Partner at Kena Capital Advisors LLP and member of The Goa Network, giving a brief presentation on the TGN platform. He emphasized its role in connecting startups and businesses in Goa to relevant parties for mutual benefit, positioning TGN as a vital bridge for knowledge sharing, education, incubation, investing, collaboration, communication, and support, thus fostering a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. He also highlighted that Goa is an ideal place to start new ventures. During the event, all attending founders introduced themselves and provided insights into their respective startups.Ms. Rafina Shaik, the Founder of GOWOMANIA, WEBN, and Managing Partner at Goenkart, shared her inspiring journey from the corporate world to entrepreneurship. She spoke about founding a women’s ecosystem in Goa, which now boasts 12,500 members. She also emphasized that the key to any organization’s success lies in purpose, passion, and process. Mr. D S Prashant, the CEO of the Startup and IT Promotion Cell, Department of Information Technology, Electronics & Communications, highlighted India’s vision of becoming a developed nation with a $30 trillion economy by 2047, achievable through the synergy of corporations, innovation, and rapidly scaling startups. In his keynote address, “Unlocking Opportunities: Goa Govt-backed Support Initiatives for Start-Ups,” he elaborated on “The Goa Startup Policy 2021,” designed to foster a vibrant startup ecosystem in the state fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, and positioning Goa as a preferred startup destination. He outlined various policy benefits, including financial incentives, infrastructure support, and market access, as well as schemes such as seed capital, research and development reimbursement, and salary reimbursement. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of incubators in supporting early-stage businesses by offering mentorship, resources, funding opportunities, networking, and affordable office space. Furthermore, Mr. Prashant discussed the importance of building a robust Startup & Tech Ecosystem through networking events such as the Founder’s Club, Masterclass, First Friday to build the creative community of Goa, Corporate Bridge, Startup Yatra Bootcamp, and MOG Sunday, which are all geared towards fostering a thriving entrepreneurial environment in Goa.Mr. Tushar Sawant, Enterprise Development Manager at FiiRE, provided insights into various government schemes during his presentation. He shed light on initiatives such as the CM Rojgar Yojana, Loan Assistance, Goa’s Tribals Employment Generation Program, PM Employment Generation Programme Scheme, and Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Enterprises Scheme.Participants raised questions regarding the applicability of certain schemes to Goa’s residents, the eligibility criteria for hospitality owners under the PMFME scheme, avenues for acquiring business mentorship, platforms tailored for designers, procedures for accessing startup schemes, and the government’s initiatives in fostering Goa’s creative culture.In response to these questions, Mr. D S Prashant elaborated on Startup and IT Promotion Cell’s initiatives, including networking events and mentorship opportunities offered by experts. He also discussed the government’s efforts to provide premises for startups, develop beachside co-working spaces, and progress towards implementing the Digital Nomad Visa.The event showcased the collaborative efforts in strengthening a thriving entrepreneurial environment and highlighted the potential for growth and development in the startup sector.

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