#SLUSH17 – FINNISH SMART CITY INNOVATORS TO WORK WITH CHHATTISGARH STATE, INDIA Bridging the gap between the Indian & Finnish startup & innovation ecosystems
Written by Laura Quinton, 3.12.2017
Located in the Centre-East of India, Chhattisgarh is emerging as a favoured destination for commerce and industry, given its rapid strides in the Ease of Doing Business, State political environment and open-door policy for investors and entrepreneurs. With a population of 28 million, Chhattisgarh is the 17th-most populated State in the country. It produces 15% of the country’s steel and its power sector is effectively developed. Whilst the capital, Raipur, is a fast-developing urban city, 80% of the total State population still live in rural areas with poor access to services.
In close cooperation with India’s NITI Aayog, Chhattisgarh State Planning Commission has been supporting cross-country dialogue on Sustainable Development Goals and Innovation R&D for the social and economic sectors. Focus areas being: Renewable Energy, Technology Enablement, Waste Management and Health Care.
GOInternational Finland invited the Government of Chhattisgarh to Helsinki this month, to explore how Nordic solutions (either directly or frugally innovated with Indian partners) could be potentially piloted to improve public service provisioning & transform quality of lives for citizens in Chhattisgarh. A high level delegation led by the Chhattisgarh Commerce & Industry Secretary, Dr. Kamal Preet Singh IAS joined as special guests at GOInternational Finland’s Smart City Bizhack India; the first Indian-themed event alongside the world’s leading start up event, Slush.
Smart City Bizhack India is part of GOInternational Finland’s flagship initiative– “The Indo Finnish Market Entry Acceleration Programme” that is actively driving cross-border collaboration between India & Finland (and the Nordics) on delivering smart cities and villages in India.
GOInternational Finland CEO Mohammad Shabbir:
“Finnish & Nordic companies can contribute to India’s transformation by means of merging Finnishstrengthsindisruptiveproduct development with India’s unparalleled skills in frugalinnovation ; and create solutions that can propel inclusive development in India,”
“At the same time, these co-created innovative solutions would be ideally suited for the rest of the developing world; therefore a global market for Nordic solutions. The objective of the acceleration programme is to facilitate growth through collaboration beyond borders with agile and frugally innovative solutions.”
Setting the challenges for Smart City solution development
Smart City Bizhack India as a Slush side-event, was 100% dedicated to unveiling the vast opportunities in the Indian market for Smart City Innovation. The three day event offered Series A Start Ups, SMEs and Corporations a bridge to access live marketplace opportunities for conducting business in India.
Chhattisgarh State was announced as the sample state for Finnish Innovation in India at the Slush Event. A 3-strong delegation from the State laid out the broad contours of the potential opportunities in Chhattisgarh for Finnish Innovation; including the opportunity to co-create & collaborate with Indian partners. Dr Kamal Preet Singh IAS, Secretary Commerce & Industry for Chhattisgarh, delivered a Keynote address outlining sample challenges.
21 Nordic Smart City Innovators entered the Bizhack Competition – exploring ways of frugally hacking their products & services to fit Smart City plans in Chhattisgarh. Experts and Mentors were on hand to steer this intensive workshopping stage and to help get solutions ready for the Indian market. During Slush Day Two: Make Business Happen, Participants, who entered the Bizhack, pitched their solutions to a judging panel and the winner was announced at the end of the day.
The Winner of Smart City Bizhack India was Cityfier after their solution, pitched by Head of Urban and Real Estate Development Unit,Jukka Kettunen, encapsulated the machinations of the judging panel to create a platform through which to launch tech-supported development in Chhattisgarh.
Cityfier is a tool utilizing latest game engine technology to measure distances between the qualitative components of a future neighbourhood. The tool can be used to compare different planning options and support the decision making. Jukka pitched that for master planning of big cities (citing Chhattisgarh’s Capital, Raipur) – where the biggest decisions concerning locations of new real estate are made – there are no valuation models available. Cityfier is a digital service where they combine master plans, urban research and housing market data for landowners, investors and developers. They essentially analyze and forecast the future value of a given location.
It was identified by the judges that Cityfier can help to identify and address infrastructural, institutional and social challenges predominant in urban India by supporting planning and development of Smart Cities in a smart, visual, evidence-based way.
Congratulations Jukka Kettunen! Cityfier will now be fast-tracked to the next phase of GOInternational’s Indo-Finnish Market Entry Acceleration Programme with a visit to India in the new year to take a firmer step towards securing tender.… NEXT STOP CHHATTISGARH!
This marks a convergence of will between GOInternational and Chhattisgarh, indicating a mutual desire to bridge the gap between the Indian & Finnish startup & innovation ecosystems.
At the Finland India VIP Roundtable, GOInternational’s closed-door session also held at Slush, top-level Government officials and key decision makers from the Nordics came together with the State of Chhattisgarh to discuss a potential Finnish-Indian Partnership for delivering sustainable quality of life. The goal was to kickstart the initiation of an official Memorandum of Cooperation between Finland and India concerning Smart City Innovation transfer.
In attendance were:
Kimmo Tiilikainen, Finnish Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing
Ari Tasanen, Counsellor to Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland,
Dr Kamal Preet Singh, Special Secretary for the Department of Commerce & Industries, Government of Chhattisgarh,
Smt. Alarmelmangai D, Director from the Department of Commerce & Industries, Government of Chhattisgarh,
Aditya Sharma, Product Lead, Invest India,
Vesa Riihimäki, Head of Startup & Growth in Nordea Finland,
Bhaskar Majumdar, Entrepreneuer, Investor, Global Start Ups,
Manash K Neog, Co-Founder, Director, Chase India
and a host of Nordic Start Ups, SMEs and Corporations.
The overarching consensus was the imminent need for a massive paradigm shift in the way that the world does business. Tasanen conceded that Finland is not short of money, but lacking courage to enter the Indian market. The Honorable Ambassador Vani Rao commended GOInternational’s initiatives in establishing long term linkages and systems between India and Finland through their Acceleration Programme. With Minister Tiilikainen compounding this need for a facilitator by explaining that conditions in Helsinki and Chhattisgarh are different. Transfer of Smart City know-how between the two countries is not about stamping a carbon copy from one place on to the other… He holds to high regard the innovation power of India and would like to see it combined with Finland’s experiences, so that the two countries can co-create something new.
In Spring 2018, all the companies in the Indo-Finnish Market Entry Acceleration Programmeare invited to come to the second BizHack in Chhattisgarh, India. There Nordic Innovators will be presenting their solutions at the Frugal Innovation Summit to an array of senior policy & decision makers to the Government of Chhattisgarh. This second stage is all about making business happen and initiating a follow up pilot phase.
For more info and interview opportunities please contact:
Laura Quinton, Communications Officer
00358 45 616 3133