Pune Becoming an Innovation Hub – Financial Times

Financial Times thinks that Pune is becoming an innovation hub.

The city’s economy (and real estate market) is now driven by the presence of two large and growing sectors: automotive manufacturing and information technology.

Why is the Pune story so compelling? First is the ecosystem already in place:

Willy Praet, a Belgian expat who moved to Pune nearly five years ago, is managing director of the India operations of Kongsberg Automotive, a Norwegian automotive components manufacturer. He says he found “the perfect supplier base for our products in Pune and the 50km area surrounding it.”

Second is the easy of recruitment, since we have over 40 engineering colleges:

“Also, the presence of engineering colleges makes recruitment easier.”

And, Bombay the financial and commercial capital of the country is very expensive and easily accessible via the expressway. It quotes Samir Patil, founder of http://Styloot.com on this point:

“We chose Pune because the cost of living is low, and the quality of life is high. Mumbai was unviable because the costs of living for the developers would have been too high and we wouldn’t have found the technology talent. And had we been in the US, we would not have been able to create this depth of technology with seed funding.”

And, Pune is also one of the top cities in India if you’re interested in design:

Hrridaysh Deshpande, the director for the DYPDC Centre for Automotive Research and Studies, agrees that Pune is poised to become a hub for innovation. “There are more than 70 design entrepreneurs, several design schools and many clients. We plan to apply for ‘world design capital’ status for Pune, to the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.”

Obviously, there are challenges, the primary among them being the lack of infrastructure. The traffic, lack of public transport, and the lack of an international airport are cited. But, on this point, the article quotes builder Rohit Gera’s stoic approach to the city’s shortcomings:

“My definition of a developing nation is a place where people live before the infrastructure is in place,” he says, suggesting that it is only a matter of time before the roadblocks to growth are removed.

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