Letting the buds flower
The purpose of Auroville is to realise Human Unity. The flowering of prosperity through constant progress will security and peace of mind. This will encourage people to pursue larger goals. The purpose of startups in Auroville is to foster budding of new entrepreneurs, who will in turn bring prosperity to Auroville.
Startup Auroville is an initiative for entrepreneurship and innovation located in the city of Auroville in India. Startup Auroville is important because it promotes sustainable development, supports the local economy, encourages innovation, fosters collaboration, and aligns with Auroville’s values.
The sense of abundance in Auroville will help build the City while conserving the environment; will help newcomers enter Auroville while taking care of the longtimers; will help us reach the population of 50000 while holding a sense of community; and, will help us contribute to the world peace and unity while overcoming our small-scale struggles.
The purpose of the Startup Auroville is to provide a strategic direction to the new startups, create a congenial enabling environment, handhold them to turn into successful brands, and provide them tertiary services on a comprehensive basis.
The Startup Auroville will also assist in fostering a sense of True Aurovilianship, in all our budding enterprises. The new entrepreneurs will be made to note that the philosophy of Karmayoga means that work is not meant for one’s ego, but is an offering and opportunity towards higher consciousness. We will remind and remember the past initiatives, appreciating
the pioneering spirit & acknowledging their struggles. We will understand the ideal way to manage the present, by adapting to change and progress constantly. And, how do we use the startup work as a means to boldly spring towards future realisations.
In practical terms, the Startup Auroville will create an environment of easy startups & exitouts; create a pool of expert and experienced mentors to holdhold the new ones; provide training and capacity building opportunities; help incubate strategic startups that will help consciously move us towards a desirable economy; provide free access to various commons and services; and, create a grant and capital pool to invest in the new impetuses. These assistance will be provided to the startups in Auroville as means to help them in their budding phase.
Startup in Auroville means a unit of activity, incorporated in Auroville not prior to three years, with annual turnover not exceeding INR 20 lacs in any preceding financial year, working towards innovation, development, deployment or commercialization of new products, processes or services driven by technology or intellectual ingenuity.
- Provided that such entity is not formed by splitting up, or reconstruction, of a unit/activity already in existence.
- Provided also that an entity shall cease to be a startup if its turnover for the previous financial years has exceeded INR 20 lacs or it has completed 5 years from the date of registration.
- Provided further that a Startup shall be eligible for City Services rebate only after it has obtained written approval from the Startup Board, setup for such purpose, under FAMC.
The Auroville entities thus created by aligning with the Auroville’s values will help sustain our uniqueness which values sustainability, social responsibility, and innovation. Startup Auroville will also help outside entities align with the core Auroville values and further promote them in the entrepreneurial community. By promoting startups in Auroville, the initiative helps to support the local economy in the larger bioregion. This in turn helps to create job opportunities and contribute to the development of the region.
The initiative plans to foster collaboration among entrepreneurs, investors, and other stakeholders, globally. This collaboration will further help us Auroville create a supportive ecosystem for startups to progress and prosper.
Symbol of Startup Auroville
A successful collective housing model will also provide India and other developing countries in the Global South with a viable working solution to house the urban poor and migrants on a sharing and sustainable basis.
Need for budding startups
Auroville belongs to nobody in particular, thus it’s everyone’s responsibility to manifest it. The startups of Auroville will primarily work towards manifesting Auroville. As Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole, the ideas, the insights, the innovations, etc. belong to nobody in particular either. Our creations are copyleft, and Auroville will constantly reinvent itself to stay relevant in the everchanging world. We live and work in Auroville, with a sense that we are a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.
Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages. Thus research, prototype, incubation, etc. are all inherent part of our commitment to Auroville. The Startup Auroville with its ecosystem of risktaking, will promote youthfulness that never ages.
Startup Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past experiences and the future possibilities. The Startup Auroville ecosystem will help bridge these two spaces at all moments. To take advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Startup Auroville will actively look for collaborations, network opportunities, investment sources, etc. Startup Auroville will enable the new initiatives boldly spring towards future realisations.
Startup Auroville will invest in ideas/initiatives related to material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual human unity.
There are several reasons why we need Startup Auroville:
Promoting entrepreneurship: Startup Auroville provides a platform for entrepreneurs to start their businesses and turn their ideas into reality. By promoting entrepreneurship, it helps in creating job opportunities and contributes to the growth of the economy.
Fostering innovation: Innovation is crucial for the success of any economy. Startup Auroville provides an environment that encourages innovation and creativity. It fosters an ecosystem of collaboration and knowledge-sharing that helps entrepreneurs develop new products and services that can change the world.
Supporting sustainable development: Auroville is known for its commitment to sustainable living and development. Startup Auroville aligns with this philosophy and supports the development of sustainable businesses that create a positive impact on the environment and society.
Providing resources and support: Starting a business can be challenging, especially for first-time entrepreneurs. Startup Auroville provides resources and support to entrepreneurs, such as access to funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities, that can help them overcome obstacles and achieve success.
Strengthening the Auroville community: Startup Auroville is a community-driven initiative that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and experts from different fields. By strengthening the Auroville community, Startup Auroville contributes to the overall development of the City and its residents.
Setting up right environment
For the buds to flower well and beautifully, usually they need a favourable ecosystems. And, developing a startup ecosystem in any community involves a combination of courageous policies, individual initiatives, and community engagement. Setting up a startup ecosystem is a long-term process that requires commitment and collaboration from a range of stakeholders.
We require a coordinated effort by working groups, trusts/units, educational entities, investors and donors, and external expertise. Implementing Startup Auroville would involve several steps, and it would require a dedicated team with expertise in entrepreneurship, sustainability, and community building. By following the right steps, communities can create a supportive environment that fosters entrepreneurship and drives economic growth.
Entrepreneurship culture & conducive policies
A culture that encourages entrepreneurship can help to drive innovation and growth. Auroville can promote entrepreneurship through education and awareness campaigns, while trusts and units can support events and initiatives that celebrate entrepreneurship. Developing a culture that supports and celebrates entrepreneurship can inspire more people to start furtherance initiatives, which is sorely missed in our midst. This can include media coverage, public events, and other initiatives to promote entrepreneurship.
In general, we do celebrate the success of entrepreneurs and their contributions to Auroville, and have a general attitude of looking down upon them. As if the service units are a class above the commercial units. This is counterproductive at many levels. This does not encourage the existing the entrepreneurs, and almost exclusively, we look forward to their monetary contribution. Also, this discourages and dissuades the residents from taking up responsibility to generate abundance and prosperity. More so, for the younger generation. Startup Auroville will have programs to recognise the service of entrepreneurs, award them love, and community-vide gratitude.
Additionally, we need to encourage established businesses to innovate and collaborate with startups to create new opportunities for both. The governing board and working groups can provide incentives and resources to encourage startup innovation and entrepreneurship.
On the other hand, we need to create supportive policies and regulations that encourage entrepreneurship, such as contribution incentives, streamlined unit registration processes, and access to community contracts. Working groups can create/revive policies and regulations that promotes new and young residents to take up entrepreneurship. This can attract more newcomers who are entrepreneurs and investors to our community.
Governing board and IAC can play a crucial role in creating a supportive environment for startups by developing policies and regulations that promote entrepreneurship. This can include tax incentives from Government of India, access to national funding programs, and streamlined regulations to make Auroville go global.
Measuring and evaluating the impact of the startup ecosystem is crucial to identifying areas for improvement. Regular assessments can help to refine policies and initiatives and ensure that the ecosystem is growing in a sustainable and impactful way. Measure and evaluate the impact of Startup Auroville on the local economy, the startup ecosystem, and the community. Use this data to refine and improve the initiative over time.
Create supportive infrastructure
A robust startup ecosystem requires a range of supportive infrastructure, including incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, and networking events. These facilities can provide startups with access to mentorship, training, and resources. Governments, businesses, and investors can provide funding and other resources to support these programs. We would need to develop a funding strategy for Startup Auroville, which could involve seeking grants, investments, and sponsorships from local and international organizations. Access to funding is critical for startups to succeed. Governments and investors can also provide funding opportunities such as loans, and venture capital to support startups.
Apart from the funding for capital support infrastructure, startups need access to investments to grow and scale their businesses. FAMC can establish funds and grants for startups, and each trust and unit can invest and support startups in early-stage activities. Providing investments and support through seed money to help entrepreneurs start and grow their initiatives. The investments can be done through grants, loans, crowdfunding platforms, venture capital, and angel investors.
Further, establishing incubators and accelerators that provide physical space, resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to budding entrepreneurs can help turn their ideas into viable businesses and connect them with investors and customers.
We need to also create innovation hubs and spokes that bring together entrepreneurs, researchers, and investors to collaborate on new ideas and projects. This can help foster innovation and entrepreneurship by creating an environment where new ideas can be tested and developed. These hubs can provide access to technology and digital tools that can help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. This includes access to cloud computing, mobile devices, and online marketing platforms.
Develop talent and leadership
Building a strong talent pool is critical for the success of a startup ecosystem. Our community should invest in education and training programs to develop skills that are in demand in multiple sectors. Educational institutions may help develop an entrepreneurial mindset and provide the skills and knowledge necessary to start and grow a business to bring prosperity and abundance through entrepreneurship courses, mentoring, and other resources.
Providing education and training programs to help individuals develop entrepreneurial skills such as idea generation, market research, business planning, financial management, and marketing can be done through workshops, seminars, online courses, mentorship programs, and networking events. Alongside, providing mentorship programs that connect experienced entrepreneurs with new entrepreneurs will also be crucial to build upon the existing experience. This can help new entrepreneurs avoid the previous pitfalls and develop the skills they need to succeed in their initiative.
Complimentarily, we need to develop leadership skills which is critical for the success of any startup. We can start by identifying different leadership styles and help develop the strengths and work on weaknesses. As a leader, one need to set a vision for the startup and communicate it clearly. This vision should be inspiring and motivate others to work towards a common goal. As an initiator in Auroville, one need to lead by example. This means demonstrating the right behaviors we want to community to emulate – to show them that working hard and total commitment is possible towards work.
The reality is, developing leadership skills takes time and effort, but it is essential for the success of any startup. By building the right leadership, we can create an effective enterprise and build a strong and successful startup.
The first step is to define the mission and vision of Startup Auroville. This involves identifying the goals and objectives of the initiative, and determining how it will align with Auroville’s values and principles which promotes sustainable and socially responsible entrepreneurship. Next, we need to identify the stakeholders who will be involved in the startup. This includes project holders, investors, mentors, community members, and other key players in the startup ecosystem who could contribute to the initiative.
Collaboration is key to building a successful startup ecosystem. Governments, private sector players, and community can work together to create a supportive environment for startups in Auroville. Encouraging networking and collaboration among entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and other stakeholders can be done through events, conferences, online forums, and other platforms that bring together individuals interested in entrepreneurship in Auroville.
Developing networking opportunities can help startups connect with potential investors, mentors, and customers. Our working groups and trusts/units can develop events, conferences, and other opportunities for networking and collaboration. By establishing partnerships with local organizations and businesses we will be able to support and promote Startup Auroville in a better manner. This can include bioregional entities, educational institutions, and other organizations that can contribute to the initiative. Auroville’s partnerships with like-minded organizations, businesses, and institutions to promote its brand and mission can only happen when there is an alignment at all levels, with the ideals of our Masters. The collaboration can take different shapes like joint projects, sponsored events, to provide support to other sustainable development initiatives, etc.
To foster collaboration, we need to promote the initiative of Startup Auroville through various channels, such as social media, local events, and outreach to potential partners and stakeholders. This may attract the right kind of attention and garnet support for the initiative. This will help to build a network of supporters and advocates who can promote Auroville’s brand and attract more people to the community.
Events are a fantastic way to encourage collaboration among people and organizations. Networking events, workshops, and hackathons are just a few examples of events that can promote collaboration. Networking events offer a chance for participants to connect, share ideas, and explore potential partnerships. Workshops and training sessions can teach individuals the necessary skills to collaborate effectively. Hackathons can bring people together to work on specific projects or ideas, fostering collaboration and innovation. Whatever the event may be, it’s important to create an environment that encourages open communication, creativity, and teamwork. By organizing collaborative events, individuals and organizations can work together to achieve common goals and drive innovation.
Build Brand Auroville
Building a brand for Auroville requires a thoughtful and strategic approach that reflects the unique identity and culture of this spiritual community. Auroville is known for its progressive and inclusive approach to community living, as well as its commitment to sustainable living and harmonious & holistic development, and spiritually-oriented society. Auroville is a brand in itself, and to build the brand awareness and reputation of the new startups, we need to strengthen the brand of Auroville. It is important to define the key characteristics of brand Auroville and consistently communicate them across all marketing materials.
One of the first steps in building a brand for Auroville is to develop a clear and concise brand message that resonates with the target audience and evokes an emotional response. This message should reflect the values and aspirations of Auroville, and capture the essence of its unique identity. Creating a visual identity that reflects the brand message and identity is also crucial for building a strong brand, that are consistently used across all marketing materials.
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is also essential for building a brand. Our existing Auroville.com website showcases the unique aspects of Auroville and engages with audiences through social media to build awareness and attract the audience to the products and services. Collaborating with existing businesses and organizations is another important way to promote Auroville and build brand awareness. This can include partnerships with local talents, eco-friendly businesses, and purpose-oriented organizations to showcase the unique aspects of Auroville and promote sustainable and integral living.
Auroville should engage with the media to increase its brand visibility and reach. This includes issuing press releases, pitching stories to journalists, and responding to media inquiries promptly.
Auroville’s commitment to sustainability should be highlighted through its various eco-friendly initiatives such as waste management, renewable energy, and organic farming. The community’s efforts in protecting the environment and reducing its carbon footprint should be promoted to attract environmentally conscious individuals and organizations.
Auroville’s unique cultural diversity should be highlighted through its various cultural events, festivals, and programs. The community’s commitment to promoting intercultural understanding and harmony should be emphasized to attract individuals who value diversity and cultural exchange. Auroville can offer tours and workshops to visitors to showcase its unique features and initiatives. This can include tours of the community’s eco-friendly initiatives, workshops on organic farming or sustainable living, and cultural events and performances.
Auroville’s new startups need to also engage with the local community and its various social and community development programs to build trust and credibility in the neighbourhood. This will also help to create a positive image of Auroville in the local community and attract individuals who are looking for meaningful ways to contribute to society.
In all, building a brand for Auroville requires a holistic and collaborative approach that reflects the community’s values and identity. With a clear brand message, visual identity, online presence, and collaborative partnerships, Auroville can successfully build its startup brands and attract right audience who share its vision for a sustainable and inclusive future.
By developing a startup ecosystem is a long-term process that requires a sustained effort by all stakeholders. By taking these steps, Auroville can create an environment that supports and promotes entrepreneurship, leading to economic growth and innovation. Setting up of Startup Auroville would require a significant amount of effort and resources, but it could have a positive impact on the community by promoting sustainable and socially responsible entrepreneurship.
Caring for the new buds
Startup Auroville is an initiative of Auroville, intended to build a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation and Startups in Auroville that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate prosperous opportunities for abundance towards collective progress. Auroville through this initiative aims to empower Startups to grow through innovation and design.
In order to meet the objectives of the initiative, Auroville needs an Action Plan that addresses all aspects of the Startup ecosystem. With this Action Plan Auroville hopes to accelerate spreading of the Startup movement:
Building a strong entrepreneurial culture is essential to creating a thriving startup ecosystem. This includes fostering a culture of risk-taking, innovation, and collaboration, and encouraging entrepreneurship at all levels of society.
Easy Startup Environment
Promoting Startups in the Knowledge Sector
Faster Exit for Startups
Mentoring Modules related to:
Business processes in India
Import and Export modalities
Laws and regulations
Taxation and Audit requirements
Education and training are key to developing the skills and knowledge necessary for entrepreneurship. This includes providing access to training programs, mentorship opportunities, and other resources that can help entrepreneurs develop the skills they need to succeed.
Greater FAMC-SAIIER Partnership and Incubation
Centre of excellence in Entrepreneurship
Vocational training Centre
Innovation and Research
Launching of Innovation Focused Programs for Students
A supportive infrastructure is critical to creating a thriving startup ecosystem. This includes providing access to funding, incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, and other support organizations that can help startups grow and succeed.
Funding Support and Incentives
Create a startup fund with a corpus of INR 10 crore to provide funding support
Establish a credit guarantee fund for startups to enable them to take loans from banks
Contribution Exemption on Capital Gains
Contribution Exemption to Startups for 3 years
Capitalisation of various capital
Setting up of Research Parks on 5 economic sectors
Building Innovation Centres at schools and Institutes
Incubation Centres – Harnessing Private Sector Expertise for Incubator Setup
Handholding of strategic units
5 Seed Grant pa – Award – Annual Incubator Grand Challenge
Foster partnerships and collaborations: Partnerships and collaborations between startups and established companies can be mutually beneficial. Startups can benefit from the expertise and resources of established companies, while established companies can benefit from the innovation and agility of startups.
Events – inbound and outbound
Exposure tours – industrial clusters
Learn technique / expertise
Organizing Startup Fests for Showcasing Innovation and Providing a Collaboration Platform
Launch of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) with Self-Employment and Talent Utilization (SETU) Program in Auroville
Access to Startup India Hub
Subscription to Global Startup Networks
Foster a supportive regulatory environment: A supportive regulatory environment is essential to creating a thriving startup ecosystem. This includes creating policies and regulations that encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, and provide a stable and predictable environment for startups to operate in.
Intellectual Property protections
Streamlined Regulatory Processes
Mobile App and Portal for easy handling of financial transactions – FAMC
Legal Support and Fast-tracking Patent Examination at Lower Costs
Relaxed Norms of Public Procurement for Auroville Startups
Boldly Flower Forward
The future of startups in general looks promising, with several factors contributing to its growth and development in India. Startups in Auroville need to learn to adapt to the new trends that may shape the future of startups globally.
Increasing use of technology:
The use of technology, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the internet of things, is likely to continue to increase in startups. This will enable startups to develop innovative solutions to complex problems, streamline their operations, and improve their products and services. As more businesses move online, the importance of data privacy and cybersecurity is increasing. Startups that prioritize these concerns and develop solutions to address them will have a competitive advantage.
Rise of sustainable startups:
Consumers are increasingly conscious of the impact of their purchases on the environment, and startups are responding by developing sustainable solutions. This trend is likely to continue, with more startups focusing on sustainability and social responsibility.
Growth of remote work:
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of remote work, and startups are likely to continue to leverage this trend to access a global talent pool and reduce overhead costs.
Emergence of new markets:
Emerging markets, such as Africa and Southeast Asia, present significant growth opportunities for startups. These markets have a large and growing consumer base, and startups that can adapt their products and services to meet local needs are likely to succeed.
Continued support from governments and investors:
Governments and investors have recognized the importance of startups in driving economic growth and are likely to continue to provide support, such as funding, tax incentives, and incubation programs, to help startups succeed. The startup ecosystem of Auroville need to impress upon multiple stakeholders that Auroville entities hold high potential too.
If Auroville wants to build a self-sustaining economic ecosystem in the future, we need to invest on the startup todays. And, we need to do it in a systematic and strategic manner.
In collaboration with FAMC
The FAMC is one of the working groups of the Auroville Foundation, recognised by the Foundation Act, and specifically required to advise the Governing Board on the following:
- the utilisation of funds and management of assets.
- taxes and audits.
- the sale, acquisition and utilisation of immovable assets.
The FAMC also approves the creation and closure of Trusts and Units and the appointment and resignation of Trustees and Executives; it oversees the performance of Trusts and Units; and evolves guidelines and policies for the management of Trusts, Units and immovable assets such as housing and other public buildings and funds held by Auroville Unity Fund.