The Government will facilitate and do whatever it takes to ensure that the world’s best start-up ecosystem is in India, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here yesterday.
Addressing the Start-Up India States Conference, Ms Sitharaman said the gathering of entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders and change catalysts was aimed at finding avenues to establish and foster relationships between all stakeholders of the start-up ecosystem.
“Start-up India initiative is designed to foster innovation, create jobs and facilitate investment. Government is committed to make this initiative a scalable reality and to provide an environment for our start-ups to thrive in,” she added.
The Minister said India was buzzing with entrepreneurial activity like never before and is at the forefront of an entrepreneurial revolution. It has been pegged at third place behind the United States and the United Kingdom in terms of the number of start-ups.
Close to 4,400 technology start-ups exist in India and the number was expected to reach 12,000 plus by 2020, driven by a young and diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem, she said.
“India is the world’s youngest start-up nation with 72% founders less than 35 years and remarkably innovative ventures are making a mark in India. These numbers are indicative of the positive entrepreneurial temperament of India. This is not only today’s reality but is indeed, a fantastic opportunity,” she said.
Describing start-ups as the next big economic force in India, Ms. Sitharaman said through the Start-up India initiative, the government wanted to ensure that the momentum was accelerated.
“We are determined to make it a start-up revolution and to ensure that every aspiring entrepreneur is able to achieve his or her potential,” she added.
In order to guide start-ups, particularly in their early growth stage, the Startup India Hub was activated on April 1 to resolve queries and to provide hand holding support. The hub has been able to resolve more than 13,500 queries received from start-ups through telephone, email and Twitter.
Recognizing the need for incentivizing innovative start-ups the Finance Act, 2016 has made provision for start-ups to get income tax exemption for three years in a block of five years, if they are incorporated between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2019.
Funding is perhaps the most important input because from day one any entrepreneur will need funds to develop his ideas and give it a concrete shape. A ‘fund of funds’ of Rs.10,000 crore for start-ups has been established which is managed by SIDBI.
The fund will invest in SEBI-registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) which, in turn, will invest in start-ups. Thus, this fund acts as an enabler to attract private capital in the form of equity, quasi-equity, soft loans and other risk capital for start-ups, she said.More than 250 incubators have been recognized by the Government to provide recommendation to start-ups. In order to augment the existing list of incubators, a module to recognize incubators has been launched.This would enable incubators to obtain recognition from Government of India, allowing them to issue recommendation letters to start-ups. Seven proposals for Research Parks, 16 proposals for TBIs and 13 proposals for Startup centers have been recommended by the National Expert Advisory Committee (NEAC) formed by MHRD. These proposals shall be implemented in the current financial year, she added.