By Sumit Jain
In recent years, the Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem has come alive and is thriving – driven by a burgeoning domestic market, global funds and breakthrough technology. The numbers are testimony to this growth trend. From just over 3000 startups in 2014 to a projection of more than 12000 startups by 2020, this is certainly not a passing trend. It’s a revolution. And it is going to change the business landscape in India.
The growth in the startup industry has made a telling impact on certain critical areas such as education, healthcare, employment, agriculture etc. contributing majorly to the Indian economy by enhancing quality of life, building innovative solutions, generating employment opportunities and better return on investment for stakeholders.
The ability to adapt and innovate with cutting edge technologies has played an instrumental role in transforming India’s image as the repository of big ideas. Today, India stands as one of the major technology hotbeds offering fascinating opportunities for emerging businesses to establish and thrive in with their innovative ideas and disruptive approach. Most of these start-ups have entered the industry either to unearth an entirely new market or are filling gaps in the existing markets with innovative products.
A predominantly young population, increasing smartphone penetration with faster network connectivity and social media has been drivers of change, empowering young entrepreneurs to think out of the box. According to a KPMG report, an estimated 50 per cent of Indians are under the age of 25 and the number of mobile internet users is expected to grow to 250 million by 2016, which makes India a force to reckon with for tech-related innovation.
In 2015, the start-up industry received an estimated $4.9 billion – up a whopping 125 per cent from the previous year. Over 71 per cent of these funds went to IT companies. The fact that Indians feature among the leading boards of major global tech giants like Google and Microsoft only reinforces the reputation of India as the country with talent that is adept at solving problems using technology.
Prime Minister Modi announced the launch of Startup India, Stand up India last year. It augurs well for the start-up sector in the country and gives much-needed assurance to budding entrepreneurs that the establishment is behind them. It’s a reassurance that the government would support innovation with its policies. This would prove to be a major enabler for the start-up ecosystem resulting in breakthrough solutions, products and services.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion is spearheading the government’s efforts to provide impetus to the start-up sector in urban as well as rural India. It will work with banks to make funding easier for startups and small ventures.
The government also addressed the problem of obtaining regulatory permissions to start businesses by introducing the e-biz portal – a single window clearance system that integrates 14 statuary permissions at one source. This would ensure the ease of setting up business thereby further promoting entrepreneurship.
While the government’s intent to promote entrepreneurship is welcome, providing greater impetus through policy will help propel it further. The need of the hour is for a network of state-funded incubators, especially in the rural parts of the country, where they can benefit by micro-entrepreneurship at the grass-root levels. Implementation of GST would help standardize and simplify state taxation and boost commerce.
India is the third largest country in terms of start-ups, after the US and the UK and our journey has just begun. The country is brimming with new energy, ideas and talent to take it to the next level. While there is general buoyance when it comes to the start-up industry and its potential, it is worth remembering that the most critical aspect of an ecosystem that actually works on all fronts is what will decide the pace and scale of the potential growth.
(The writer is CEO & Co-Founder, CommonFloor - a real-estate portal)