The variety of startup incubators in India grew 15 occasions between 2000 and 2020, with southern and western states contributing essentially the most and non-metro cities gearing as much as change into future startup capitals.Prolific, expansive, and promising – these are some frequent adjectives used to explain India’s startup ecosystem. Incubators are a outstanding a part of and contributor to this ecosystem. In 2017, Nationwide Affiliation of Software program and Service Corporations discovered over 140 incubators in India and positioned the nation third on the earth for the variety of incubators, behind america of America and China. By October 2020, this quantity had multiplied. Whereas the variety of incubators is believed to be a lot greater, we now have listed and verified over 326 incubators in India. This interprets roughly to at least one incubator per 150 startups in India. Incubators are predominantly housed inside tutorial establishments (equivalent to Indian Institutes of Expertise, Indian Institutes of Administration, universities) or as a part of trade our bodies and organisations (equivalent to Nasscom) and analysis businesses (equivalent to Centre for Mobile and Molecular Platforms).Because the startup ecosystem is rising from Covid-19, we pause to mirror upon the evolution of startup incubation in India during the last 20 years. Incubation might be analysed in 3 ways – spatial or geographic unfold of incubators, affiliation and focus of incubators, and temporal or development of incubators over time. On this article, we deal with how incubators have sprung up throughout totally different areas of India together with their affiliations and focus.Geographic Unfold Of Incubators In IndiaThe development within the variety of incubators comes predominantly from the southern states (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala) and the western states (Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Goa). There might be a number of causes driving this skewed regional development, together with blossoming enterprise exercise. As an after-effect of Covid-19, incubation might transfer to digital platforms in a considerable method. Therefore, the placement of incubation centres might maybe even be decided by the supply of inexpensive and high quality expertise and infrastructure.At current we discover incubators throughout the geographic panorama of the nation, together with the areas which have even remained bodily or socio-politically troublesome to achieve (such because the states of Assam, Manipur, and Jammu and Kashmir).Tamil Nadu (46), Maharashtra (38), and Karnataka (34) have the best variety of incubators. The Nationwide Capital Area has the very best bodily density, with one incubator each 138 sq. kilometres. Whereas the excessive variety of incubators in Maharashtra and NCR might be linked to those being centres of financial exercise, in Tamil Nadu, the excessive density of incubators is linked to that of educational establishments. 84% of incubators (about 39 in quantity) in Tamil Nadu have been hosted by tutorial establishments. As anticipated, this excessive density of educational institution-based incubators matches the focus of upper schooling establishments within the state.If we had been to zoom in farther from the states into the places of incubators, we might discover some promising traits. Over 60% of the 326 incubators are positioned in non-metro cities; of those, over 70% (about 160 incubators) are positioned in cities and cities that aren’t state capitals. This pattern foretells a extra balanced future for the startup ecosystem in India. To reiterate, the placement of incubators in smaller cities can also be impacted by a motion in direction of digital incubation.Incubators are additionally present in smaller cities and cities with populations of lower than 6,00,000, equivalent to Bagalkot, Karnal, Koovapally, Ajmer, and Berhampur. Most of those incubators are housed inside greater schooling establishments, and it’s crucial for them to develop their remit of actions past know-how commercialisation. Many of those smaller cities and non-metros have a thriving ecosystem of household companies. Whereas enterprise communities in these cities could also be thriving in restricted pockets, the startup ecosystem could be in its childish phases. Incubation centres arrange in these cities and cities should contemplate partaking with the native household enterprise ecosystems to create market linkages, funding, and different assist mechanisms for the incubated startups. The incubators might then change into the germination mattress, not only for startups, but in addition for all the startup ecosystems within the respective cities, cities, and areas.Nearly half the incubators in our dataset are affiliated with the Division of Science and Expertise, Authorities of India. Different ministries and departments which have energetic incubator programmes embrace –The affiliation of incubators over a time frame signifies a sample associated to their age – a number of the oldest incubators have been affiliated predominantly with both DST or MoMSME. Within the final 10 years, MeitY and AIM have scouted and onboarded incubators with fervour, underneath their schemes (TIDE, launched in 2008 by MeitY and the Startup India Initiative, launched in 2016, being operationalised by AIM).As a rule, an incubator is affiliated with a number of businesses. This can be attributable to causes of monetary sustainability or a quest for the incubator to higher use its out there assets (equivalent to expertise and bodily infrastructure). Nevertheless, this multiplicity of affiliation can also add to the stress on the incubator to ship upon the mandates of all of the schemes in addition to report progress to a number of businesses.4 challenges and questions are essential to mirror upon relating to the way forward for incubation: Do incubators create entrepreneurs, enterprises, or ecosystems? What are legitimate measures of incubators’ efficiency? How may incubators change into well-functioning and efficient organisations? How can incubators stay steadfast of their mission?This text comprises excerpts from Sharma, S, Vohra, N, and Shukla, S. 2021, The Previous, Current and Way forward for Begin-up Incubation in India. Within the ebook Shifting Orbits: Decoding the Trajectory of the Indian Begin-up Ecosystem, edited by Thillai Rajan A, Srivardhini Okay Jha, Joffi Thomas, and Rohan Chinchwadkar, 62–73. Universities Press (India) Pvt.Rohan Chinchwadkar is an Assistant Professor at SJM College of Administration and Affiliate School at DS College of Entrepreneurship, IIT Bombay.The views expressed listed below are these of the creator, and don’t essentially signify the views of BloombergQuint or its editorial workforce.