There was a time when surnames mattered, now they don’t”! Honorable Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the above in the inaugural speech of the ‘Startup India conference’ which was held on 16th January to mark the launch of the ‘ Startup India Movement ’.
Some staggering facts marked with pride underline the start up movement in India. And, you can see for yourselves.
As of today, India ranks 3rd globally with 4200 startups. A total of USD 18 billion was pumped into Indian startups between 2010-15, from which $9 billion came flying in 2015 alone.
It doesn’t end here. Almost 9 Indian startups have been valuated at more than a billion dollars.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech said
‘Startup does not mean billion dollar company where thousands of people work. It is about employing even five people and developing India’.
It has to be said, truly meaningful words such as these not only uplift the morale of an entire country but enable us to think of India from a larger compass; one where a good idea and its implementation doesn’t sit on an ergonomically designed cabin in Mumbai, Bangalore or Delhi alone.
With startups like Ola Cabs, Oyo Rooms, Flipkart and others that have already made huge waves in the Indian economy, it is no surprise that the Startup Movement of India is among the powerful revolutions the country has witnessed in a long time. The government too is doing its bit, chipping in with programs such as Startup India, Stand-up India among others, aimed at helping young and budding entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.
But, the landmark conference that took place on the 16th of January cannot be rendered complete without celebrating the fact that it signified a giant stride our government has taken in the direction of promoting entrepreneurship and the spirit of collaborative and creative development.
This can be further substantiated by a bucket load of promises as made by Prime Minister Modi, some that include:
- 80 per cent reduction in patent fee for start-up businesses.
- Startups will be exempted from paying income tax on their income for the first three years
- No inspection for 3 years of startup businesses in respect of labour, environment law compliance post self-certification
- To make it easier for startups to exit, we have brought bankruptcy bill in Parliament
- Overall funding of upto 10,000 crore rupees
What made the icing on the start-up cake icier weren’t just our PM’s refreshing inclusions as stated above. He emphasized on the potential that the bio-tech sector carries, as already seen and felt in the international markets. He further added:
“For biotech: 5 new bio-clusters, 50 incubators and 150 technology transfer offices”,
Indeed the Indian startup system has become a happening place and the startup India conference was evidence to this tectonic shift.
The guest list of the ‘Startup India Conference’ comprised of some really powerful people like Finance Minster Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman, Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank and Krishnaswamy Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, Biotechnology.
A special Q&A session focused on young entrepreneurs soon followed. It gave them a chance to ask some of the toughest questions to a panel that comprised of both Indian policy makers and industry-experts.
The entire event was streamed live by the webcast.gov.in website. For both entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike, the conference served as a huge morale booster. The PM in his speech remarked
“When I was listening to Ritesh (founder, Oyo rooms), I wondered why a ‘chai-wala’ did not think of starting a chain of hotels”
But many entrepreneurs still find it difficult to scale their business idea(s) owing to the ‘License raj’, an ideology that Arun Jaitley, describes as ‘a raj where the government gets to decide which kind of businesses can and cannot be run’. In his speech, Mr. Jaitley promised that the government was working hard to amend and introduce laws that would help remove red-tapism, a facet that has often been the bane of many an authentic business idea.
This generation of entrepreneurs will be remembered as freedom fighters, struggling toward creating an economy that will encourage people with ideas. And for all the young go-getters out there, this is perhaps the best time to get into the startup-market. Today’s conditions are similar to the dot-com boom of the 90’s which swept America and then, the world by storm. However, at the same time, must it be said that this could also be a bubble which will rise high enough only to burst later upon which Ritesh Agarwal, CEO and Founder of OYO Rooms says:
‘A bubble burst will be good for us, it will tell us exactly where we stand’.
No matter what the valuations or the market conditions, what builds a successful business is the morale and spirit of the people working behind it. And if this mega event is any indication of the things to come, then it can be very easily said that Indian entrepreneurs are undoubtedly a promising lot.