ET has a series of articles on this. Right from Coimbatore to Belgavi, Udupi and Mysore to Ahmedabad/Baroda. the once old centres of politics and capitalare making a come back in the start-up space. As the existing cities like Bangalore. NCR Delhi, Mumbai etc just crumble under pressure, people are looking at options elsewhere.
So where do you go? Places which have some history for entrepreneurship, capital, some available infrastructure and so on. These cities are fitting the list as they have been doing these for ages.
No mention needs to made of Baroda and Ahmedabad. Their history as commercial and political capitals goes back a long long way. Coimbatore was first the textile hub and then emerged a leader in machinery goods as well. Mysore was one of the most progressive princely states and this led Bangalore to emerge as a tech hub till all hells broke loose in the city. Belgaum was always a key political place which became a commercial one as during British era. It is now being promoted as the second capital of Karnataka.
Some might wonder what Udupi is doing in the list? Well, there are few places in the country which have given us three service industries – restaurants, education (Manipal is a stone throw away) and banking (this might be surprising but place was home to two big banks – Syndicate and Corporation). Given most start-ups cater to services business and need capital, Udupi is where these cultures have always been. Just that they were lost as most of development has been around big metros.
This is all interesting and fascinating stuff. We have so little knowledge of city based economies which is ironic given ultimately this is what matters. It isn’t economics in India but economics in urban and rural centres that matters. All this eventually adds to become Indian economy. We need to encourage more scholarship and research around city/regional economies. We have very little sense of these critical economic ideas. Ultimately it is rise and fall of certain industries/services in these places which determine the fate of any national economy..