The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi interacted with startups and addressed ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit’ today via video conferencing. Ministers from BIMSTEC countries and Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the start-ups are changing the demographic characteristics of today’s business. He pointed out that 44 per cent recognized startups have women directors and number of women working in these start up is very high. Similarly, 45 per cent startups are in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, working as the brand ambassadors of the local products. Every state is supporting and incubating startups as per local possibilities and 80 percent of districts of the country are now part of the Startup India mission. Youth from all types of background are able to realize their potential in this ecosystem.
In 2014 only 4 Indian startups were in the ‘unicorn club’ now, more than 30 startups have crossed the 1 billon mark, Modi added.
Noting the fact that 11 startups entered the ‘unicorn club’ in 2020 during the Corona time, the Prime Minister underlined their contribution to the Aatmnirbharta during the crisis. Startups played a major role in ensuring the availability of sanitizers, PPE kits, and related supply chains. They played a sterling role in meeting local needs like grocery, medicine delivery at doorstep, transportation of frontline workers, and online study material. The Prime Minister appreciated the startup spirit of finding opportunity in adversity.
The Prime Minister, noted the vibrant energy in the startup space in BIMSTEC counties like Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand. The Prime Minister noted that this century is a century of the digital revolution and new-age innovations. This is also the century of Asia. Therefore, it is the demand of our time that future technology and entrepreneurs should come from the region. For this, the Prime Minister stressed, that Asian counties who have a will to collaborate should take responsibility and come together.
This responsibility naturally falls on BIMSTECF countries as we work for one-fifth of humanity, said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister also launched a booklet titled ‘Evolution of Startup India’ detailing the experiences of India’s 5 year journey in startup space. He recalled the initial challenges which were overcome to create one of the world’s biggest startup ecosystem with more than 41 thousand startups. Out of these startups 5700 are in IT sector, 3600 in the health sector and about 1700 are active in the agriculture sector.
The Prime Minister pointed out new possibilities in food and agriculture area as people are becoming more aware of their diet. India has paid special attention to the growth of these sectors as an Agri Infra Fund has been created with a capital base of one Lakh crore. With these new avenues, startups is collaborating with farmers and playing a significant role in taking products from farm to table with better ease and quality.
The Prime Minister said that the biggest USP of the startup world is its disruption and diversification capacity.
Disruption, as they are giving rise to new approaches, new technology, and new ways; diversification, because they are coming up with diverse ideas bringing a revolution, is diverse sectors with unprecedented scale and substance. The greatest feature of this ecosystem is that it is guided more by passion than pragmatism. This ‘can-do’ spirit is evident in the way India is working today, said Modi.
The Prime Minister also announced the launching of the Startup India seed fund with one thousand crore rupees so that there is no shortage of seed money for startups. This will help in starting and growing new startups. Fund of funds scheme is already helping startups raising equity capital. The Government will also help startups in raising capital through guarantees. India is working for a startup ecosystem based on the mantra ‘Of the Youth, By the Youth, For the Youth’, We have to fix our goals for the next five years and these goals should be that our startups, our unicorns should emerge as global giants and lead in the futuristic technologies.