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Government Launches Startup India Hub Portal, Plans SAARC Startup Summit In Next Six Months

About 1,333 startups have been recognized and just about 39 have been given tax exemptions since January 2106 under the Start Up India initiative, the government said.

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Government Launches Startup India Hub Portal, Plans SAARC Startup Summit In Next Six Months
Government Launches Startup India Hub Portal, Plans SAARC Startup Summit In Next Six Months
Government Launches Startup India Hub Portal, Plans SAARC Startup Summit In Next Six Months

The Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of  India, intended to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and  Startups in the country that will drive sustainable economic growth and  generate large scale employment opportunities.The Government through  this initiative aims to empower Startups to grow through innovation and  design. 

In order to meet the objectives of the initiative, today the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion came together, joined hands to launched the  virtual startup hub:- a one stop solution platform to solve all the queries, help entrepreneurs to make connections and gather accurate information for stakeholders of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in India  to discover, connect and engage with each other.

The Startup India Hub was inaugurated by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of  State for Commerce and Industry along with Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary DIPP, and Deepak Bagla, CEO of Invest India and Rajeev Aggarwal, Joint Secretary DIPP.

Startup India Hub was operationalised on April 1, 2016, to  resolve queries and provide hand holding support to startups.The news of the portal coming up was announced on January 16, 2017. The portal will have startups, investors, funds, mentors, incubators, accelerators, government bodies, academic and general users.

Startup India Online Hub - The Idea Behind It

As stated by Startup India Hub team, it is the first government website in India to be built on an open API architecture allowing seamless  integration of content from Government and private stakeholders across  India and the world. It can be called the 'Linked-In' for entrepreneurs  where people can chat, share ideas or meet over a coffee. 

The  virtual website has been developed by a Noida-based digital technology startup which won as a tech vendor. It has been divided under heads such as Startups, Enablers and Forum, with easy-to-filter sub-sections to get a quick snapshot of the relevant information.

The Hub attempts to solve the problem of information asymmetry and lack of access to knowledge, tools and experts, especially in the nascent ecosystem across Tier II and Tier III towns.The Startup India Hub will also look into connecting cities, startup hubs, facilities, seats, resources and mentors.

The portal will also provide feedback channels like on social media platforms, cross-communication provides  regular updates from the startup world with information from over 20 media channels.The platform aims to impart education to aspiring entrepreneurs at a grassroots level and provide a digital infrastructure  for applying to all government-related activities. 

The website  talks about over 60 of the Government related schemes has been placed in a summarised format. The Startup India Hub team has also introduced an AI chat bot named Sara on the online platform during the pilot testing.

As stated by Aditya Sharma, Manager Startup India Hub, said that, "the platform will be managed by a 15 member Startup India Hub team under the direct guidance of the Department of Industrial Technology and  Innovation (DIPP)."

During the discussion, Abhishek Prasad, of Reliance GenNext Hub said when they entered the startup system, they hired a lot of people through references and walk-ins but with time they  have matured and are now smarter when it comes to hiring. He added that the criteria for hiring now are passion for work and determination to  learn.

As of now, the DIPP has asked for Rs 2000 crores for three years, for collateral-free loans for up to Rs 5 crores. The government is also planning a SAARC level startup meet in South Asia in another six  months, said Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State (Independent Charge)  for Commerce & Industry said at the launch.

The Launch and Panel Discussion In New Delhi

PM Modi's ‘Startup India, Stand Up India’ last year on January 16, 2016; the initiative aims to build a strong  ecosystem nurturing, innovating startups in the country. It also aims at drive economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities  in the country.

The launch event of the Hub was kickstarted by a panel discussion on the topic, “Navigating the Startup India Landscape.” The panel was moderated by Rajat Tandon, President of IVCA and included honourable names such as Srinivas Kollipara of T-Hub, Sairee Chahal of Sheroes, Abhishek Prasad of Reliance GenNext Hub, Geetika Dayal of TiE Delhi, and Arpit Agarwal, Principal at Blume Ventures.

The panel discussion ranged from the selection criterion adopted by the different kind of investors and how one can reach them. Also, the panelists discussed how a platform  like Startup India Hub can help in grooming startups in the Tier II/Tier  III cities. As stated by Geetika Dayal, TiE Delhi, “Platforms like  Startup India Hub will certainly help us reach the remotest corners we  have not been able to reach yet.” As a mentor she has been actively  engaged with women entrepreneurs, youth and early stage founders as well as creates a bridge with policy-makers, academicians, corporates and  investors. 

Arpit Agarwal added on the note of transparency and  mentoring, "We have not done a great job, I see a lack of good mentors in the ecosystem, I also see a lack of genuine spirited learning when we point out some mistakes or gaps in startup teams, all they look forward to, when they come to us is they need funding.They don't want to  listen to anything else which we can help them with, or they can improve  upon."

The discussion was followed by an address by Ramesh Abhishek who presented the Startup India journey to date and referred to  the changes  included in the Startup India policy and new initiatives taken. He brought in the data and statistics of the funds of fund  utilized up till now. For example- Rs.2000 crore has been deviated to 'Credit Fianancing Schemes' for startups and MSMEs.

Startup India Hub Current Partnerships

Along  with the homegrown stakeholders, the Startup India Online Hub has also  partnered with NYC-based tech incubator Collaborizm. As mentioned on the company blog post, “We have already started selecting top projects led by Indian makers for The Hub to support, and they are already providing detailed mentorship around angel funding, manufacturing aid, and legal help to the project team  members.” In his closing remarks, Joint Secretary Rajiv Aggarwal  requested, "all the members of the ecosystem to register on the hub and give a hand to whoever needs help or guidance,advice,ideas or financial resources should be shared within an economy."


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