A nation of youngsters, India boasts of a population driven by passion, innovation and the ability to take risk, and be adventurous. All the traits that a potential entrepreneur should possess to succeed in a business venture.
Giving a flame to the Indian entrepreneur spirit, PM Narendra Modi crafted a historic moment in the business world with his thoughts on the Startup Action Plan. “My govt is committed to boost innovation in the country,” he said. With this line he won the hearts of entrepreneurs who had congregated at the “Startup India, Stand Up India” launch mega event at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on January 16.
This initiative is directed to bring an important change in the mindsets of people, spoke Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at the event. The programme supports job creator mentality thus will solve the problem of unemployment, felt the Prime Minister. Even if one can employ five people…then a good contribution would be considered toward the nation.
The programme comes in the wake of the realisation that our government agency Nasscom promotes 10,000 startups each year. And these scores of start-ups, if they are guided and aided well by the government can really push the accelerator of the Indian economy. India is already known for being a great market and the benefits of pro business plans will bounce off and reflect in other sectors as well.
So now, all that the government wants to do is to provide a favourable environment for the start-ups to flourish on Indian soil and to dissuade the innovative minds from going to foreign lands.
To get an understanding of the pain points of entrepreneurs, PM Modi asked entrepreneurs what the government should not be doing in order to make the Startup action plan hurdle-free for the entrepreneurs.
Also, to give startups opportunities here, PM Modi assures of a minimum government and maximum governance stance.
In this direction, Jaitley said, the role of the state will be restricted. And to further facilitate the start-ups, a new tax regime will be in place for them. The ‘Startup India, Stand Up India’ initiative pronounced by the government of India is a landmark for entrepreneurs. Solving the starting up hassle, Modi said: "You will be able to register a startup in a day on a mobile app.”
A financial sop came in the form of a startup fund of Rs 10,000 Crore and waiver of capital gains tax for start-ups.
Usually the businesses are hard on profit in the beginning years, so the announcement that there will be no income tax on startups' profits for three years, came as a huge relief to entrepreneurs.
A quick rundown on some key measures announced by the govt to boost entrepreneurs
a) A compliance regime for startups based on self certification
b) Startups will not be subjected to inspection for the first three years
c) Startups can now begin operations in one day registering through a mobile app
d) A fast track mechanism for startup patent applications
e) Faster exit facility for startups, should be able to exit in 90 days
f) Launch of Atal Innovation Mission to boost incubators, provide seed capital to start-ups
g) Setting up 7 new research centres model on the lines of IIT Madras
h) Innovation programmes in schools to focus on 500,000 students
i) Encouragement of startup fests in the country
How do Indian startups need to grow and prosper?
Answers were provided by leading entrepreneurs and government dignitaries who guided the thought process on Startups, sharing their experience and expertise in mega sessions that preceded the Startup India launch.
Citing employment generation as government’s top priority, Amitabh Kant, Secretary, DIPP reiterated, thus innovation is important for India.
“India can be bigger in momentum than China in next 10 years,” observed Masayoshi Son, founder & CEO, Softbank. He said India is one of the few countries that has a huge domestic market that can ‘fight back’.
To smooth the progress of start-ups, Prashant Saran Member, SEBI opined, “We have done away with the problems startups face.”
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman serving the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said, government’s fund-of-funds will help startups.
Talking about the need of Indian start-ups, Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO Olacabs, shared, “Lack of skilled manpower was one of the biggest challenges we faced.”
One important string of the ecosystem is team. Kunal Bahl, CEO, Snapdeal remarked, “The biggest challenge startup faces is to get the right team member in early days who’ll stick through the tough times of the company.”
Speaking about enrolment of women entrepreneurs, Sairee Chahal, Founder SHEROESIndia, said: There’s been a 50% jump in women participating in Startup ecosystem in last 2 years.”
At the ‘Stand-up India, Launch Pad-presented by Google’– 5 startups pitched live at #StartupIndia. The innovative ideas that these have come up with are:
Kaalink: Checks pollution levels; SlamdunQ: Using smartwatches and smartbands to develop applications to improve sports performance; Guru-G: A learning app to discover new teaching techniques; Reap Benefit: Helping youth focus on to solve everyday problems, developed affordable solutions like water less urinals and organic enzyme to convert food waste into compost etc; and Cardiac Design Labs: A cardiac diagnostic mobile solution.
Among these, Guru G was awarded People’s Choice Award marking a direct entry to Google Launchpad week. And the winner was Cardiac Design Labs, winning $100k in Google credits and direct entry to Google Launchpad week.
Digitization is an important medium that will change India’s future. To speed up, Rajat Tandon Senior Director, NASSCOM (10k Start-Ups accelerator) stated, “We’re encouraging startups to go to Tier 2 and 3 cities as well. We want entrepreneurs to get access to the technologies and an audience.”
To budding start-ups, Deepinder Goyal Founder, Zomato advised, “You need to find a latent need and make a good product which addresses it.”
Lessons to entrepreneurs
Travis Kalanick, Founder Uber, handed out some tips to entrepreneurs. He said that entrepreneurship is all about doing the impossible. So focus on selling and storytelling or in other words, always be jugaading. Also, make magic and do things to get the people talking. Know the distinction between perception and reality and meet it with innovation. And, find a problem and address that to be successful.
Nikesh Arora President & COO, SoftBank, let out a vital tip to Startup Founders: Stay focussed on solving customer’s problem instead of money. One of the areas I’ve been interested in and where I haven’t seen skilled solution is education – there’s a huge amount of technology which can be applied here, he said.
Voicing on capitalising entrepreneurship, Sachin Bansal Founder, Flipkart, said, “As competition heats up in the market your expertise which fuels the growth needs to go up which needs capital.”
Year 2016 is slated to trigger execution for Indian start-ups. With the government’s pro startup measures, India has a high potential for value creation.