Union Minister of State (MoS) for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman
Image: Nguyen Huy Kham/Reuters
Almost a year and a half since Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Startup India initiative in January last year; his government has now started the Startup India Hub aimed at an empowering the startup space in the country. Union Minister of State (MoS) for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman formally launched the portal in the capital on Monday.
“We are here to help you. We want you to succeed. Startup India is on your side,” said Sitharaman. “We are now running at pace with all of you (startups) and you can expedite us further.” The minister also shared future plans of organising a startup summit for SAARC countries in order to facilitate dialogue and communication. “We are looking at organising a SAARC countries’ meet for startups, where mutually beneficial ideas for innovation can be worked out,” Sitharaman said. “We’ll create the space for startups to interact, but the topics, format, who to invite etc. have to be decided by the startups themselves.”
Recently, she negotiated with Germany under an existing arrangement to start an exchange between German and Indian startups. “We are currently working on the modalities of how Indian startups can exchange ideas with German startups,” she said.
Signaling further collaboration between the government and startup entrepreneurs, Sitharaman called for assistance in better branding products and ideas from India. “We are finding ourselves short on qualified people when we think of branding products from India. I would want startups to help the government in that. I invite all of you to come forward with us and brand India, brand Indian projects and bring uniformity and novelty to our approach,” she said.
The Startup India Hub would enable startups gain access to knowledge, mentors, resources, appropriate government schemes and a host of other useful services. “By taking continuous feedback, we have been able to innovate our policies. We hope to do better than what we have done so far,” Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Secretary, Ramesh Abhishek said.
The launch was preceded by a panel discussion on ‘Navigating the startup ecosystem’ moderated by Rajat Tandon, President, Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA) and had T-Hub founder Srinivas Kolipara, Sheroes founder Sairee Chahal, Reliance GenNext Hub’s Abhishek Prasad, TiE’s Executive Director Geetika Dayal and Blume Ventures’ Principal Arpit Agarwal as speakers.