There has been a significant rise in the number of start-ups in India in the last few years and a large number of start-ups have been launched across diverse sectors such as fintech, AI (Artificial Intelligence), medtech, edtech, hospitality, automobiles and more.
There was an addition of more than 1,300 start-ups in 2019. Apart from spurring innovation, start-ups have the potential to create direct, as well as, indirect employment. An estimated 60,000 direct jobs and 1.3~1.8 lakh indirect jobs were generated by the start-ups in 2019.
Close to 500 million internet users are from rural and smaller towns of India. This has resulted in reducing the rural-urban divide enticing entrepreneurs to build solutions for these consumers. Many new-age internet firms are aiming to connect with the next billion users, which will spur another set of start-ups.
Indian start-ups are transforming the automotive industry in India by working on innovative solutions that are tailor-made for the Indian consumers. Electric vehicle start-ups are leveraging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), etc. to provide consumers with a connected mobility experience.
The Government of India has also taken adequate steps to promote the culture of entrepreneurship in the country. Startup India Initiative (or Startup India Programme) was launched by the Government in 2016 for supporting entrepreneurs by building a robust start-up ecosystem, providing them funding support, creating incubation and forging industry-academia partnerships. The Government also launched ‘GeM Startup Runway’, a unique concept launched by GeM (Government e-Marketplace) in partnership with Startup India. The platform provides an opportunity for start-ups where they can directly get orders from the universe of Government buyers.
Under the Startup India Programme, the Government has also created the ‘Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS)’ with a corpus of INR 10,000 crore for funding promising start-ups.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has been supporting start-ups through the CII Startups Coalition, a platform for building a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem in India. The platform helps in democratizing access to opportunities by connecting different ecosystem stakeholders such as founders, investors, mentors, service providers, etc.
CII will be setting up the National Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Start-ups in Hyderabad by partnering with the Telangana Government and Pratiksha, a trust run by Mr S. Gopalakrishnan, Past President, CII. CII has also teamed up with IIT-M (IIT-Madras) for nurturing and promoting innovative green start-ups across the country.
Although impacted by the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, the Indian start-up ecosystem is also helping India deal with the pandemic crisis. A Mumbai based start-up, amidst the Covid-19 lockdown, is providing emergency rides to frontline helpers, medical patients and essential service providers. Action COVID-19 Team (ACT) comprising founders of Indian start-ups and members of investment advisory firms has launched a programme promising a grant of INR 100 crore to support innovators working on solutions to control the pandemic.
Start-ups are working at digitising the mom-and-pop stores and small retailers to make sure that their business is not heavily affected due to the pandemic and lockdown. The CII Start-up Council along with venture investors is seeking support from the government to help the start-ups tide over financially while also supporting the entrepreneurs to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on businesses.
Post COVID-19, the business landscape is expected to change dramatically, and start-ups will have the opportunity, driven by their size, nimbleness and innovation, to shape the Indian economy.