Niti Aayog's Amitabh Kant lists 6 challenges and opportunities for Indian startups

At the 11th edition of E-Summit - a two-day national event held at IIT-Bombay, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant spoke today about the challenges and the opportunities that the country provides startups. The E-Summit is a body that fosters, nurtures and encourages an entrepreneurial atmosphere for budding entrepreneurs in the campus. It is held so that the internal pool of prospective entrepreneurs can interact with the entrepreneurial network that converge at the campus from across the country.

1) Kant pointed out the advantage India has with a young population below 32 years that account for 72 percent of the population unlike the ageing population in the west. "The challenge for India is to grow at 8-9 percent for three decades or more so as to lift the poor out of the poverty line," he said. One of the ways, he suggested was for the young to get entrepreneurial. The government is helping by scrapping old rules that existed for over 60 years. The number of forms for registration for a startup has been reduced to three now, Kant said. Competition fosters growth and innovation, believes Kant. The competition within states in India to become the number one startup state has also thrown up various solutions for agriculture, water management and other issues, he said.

Amitabh Kant. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Amitabh Kant. Image courtesy: IBNLive

2) Globalisation is the key to success and for that, it is important to dream big, said Kant. Countries will grow if they continue to penetrate global markets. Size and scale is important and hence, living as we are in a globalised world, it is important for India to become integral to the global supply chain. He urged startups to use the domestic markets as a springboard to go global.

3) Different studies have shown that there is tremendous energy in the startup movement in India. By 2022-23, India should have 100,000 startups at a valuation of Rs 75,000 billion. There is a huge amount of work being done by the young generation by going entrepreneurial, but Kant said for India to grow at 8-9 percent, gender parity is essential. Women entrepreneurs in India contribute only 17 percent to the GDP while globally it was 30 percent, he said. He cited the example of Meera Ganesh, co-founder and CEO of healthcare startup, Portea Medical who he said had created 15,000 jobs through her startup venture. Women entrepreneurs have to make it big to make a difference to the country and ecosystem, Kant said.

4) India has become a global centre of innovation with Bangalore and Hyderabad leading in innovations as it is linked with multinational companies (MNCs) based there. Many companies have set up their plants in India, like Renault for instance, because the country provides frugal engineering and innovation at a cost that no other country can offer, said Kant. "That is why IITs have been educating students to do great engineering at frugal costs," said Kant to an audience comprising largely of students from the campus.

5) Pointing out that India will be confronted with challenges like plastic, sewage, water management, etc, unlike the West which has always innovated for the 'rich and the famous', said Kant. Silicon Valley may have the highest number of innovations for the least amount of problems, he said. Praising the digital revolution that has been flagged off by demonetisation, Kant said that India will be a 'data rich' country and he believed financial decisions would be then taken with the help of data and not on the discretion of a bank manager. "We are on the cusp of a revolution," he said.

6) The other big challenge for the country is urbanisation. Around 600-700 billion people will migrate to urban areas for which the country will have to create regions that are 2.5 times the size of America, Kant said. The challenge then is to create cities that become models to the world. "Electrical vehicles, climate change are critical for India and need innovation," he said.

Kant was hopeful that the entrepreneurship summit at IIT-B would enable the country to create a startup ecosystem that will capture the attention of the rest of the world.

Published Date: Jan 28, 2017 17:09 PM | Updated Date: Jan 29, 2017 12:26 PM

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