As Silicon Valley heavyweights queue up to be a part of the “Start-Up India celebration” on January 16, India’s aspiring entrepreneurs will be watching out for what the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government will have for them in this grand mela.
With 4,200 enterprises, India already ranks third in the world in terms of the number of start-ups, behind the US and the UK. Investors, venture capitalists and angel investors worldwide see the country as the next destination for budding start-ups.
Saturday’s meet, which will see the government and the private sector brainstorm together on a common platform, is likely to build a new era of job creators. Present at the Vigyan Bhavan on the occasion will be finance minister Arun Jaitley, secretary, DIPP Amitabh Kant, minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman and other senior government officials, and 40 leading CEOs, such as SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son, WeWork’s Adam Nuemann and Uber’s Travis Kalanick.
Here are five things to watch out for from this meet:
1. Compliance Relief: As cited by the investors, one of the biggest challenges faced by entrepreneurs in India is the time and effort taken to start a venture. Even worse are the requirements to close an enterprise down. Folding up is synonymous with start-ups, and given that failure becomes an inspiration and learning for the next venture, the action plan is likely to streamline compliances and procedures on both fronts.
2. Simplified tax structure: The government feels start-ups do not need any tax breaks, but hopeful investors ask why, if stock market investments do not attract taxes, does investing in start-ups get taxed. Not just this, to push women and youngsters to steer the journey from ideation to reality, tax breaks are what can add momentum to the start-up revolution in India, they say.
3. Fund raising: Often cited is that India is not short of ideas, but what curtails growth is the lack of funding, fund raising channels and most importantly, a collateral to cite for an entrepreneur. Seed funding, another important aspect of funding, is not yet developed in India. Ideas that need the right funding and investment to prove the concepts and their worth is the challenge. Government grants can be a great source of seed funding but that alone cannot be catering to the start-up fetish. Though government has been proposing schemes and initiatives to be a part of the action plan which will be for collateral free loans, but will this alone be able to solve the concerns? That needs to be heard out.
4. Skill Development beyond technology: Technology driven start-ups are already making a move, be it in the e-commerce drive or the virtual reality space. But, for start-ups to be working at the grassroots, other areas such as agriculture, bio-technology and many more are yet to be exploited by the youth. Thus, a special drive for start-ups in these unheard of areas for start-ups will actually build the culture in India.
5. Job Creation: “70% of jobs in US are created by start-ups” this is what Silicon Valley CEOs cited to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as they landed in Delhi a day before the grand event. With such examples and huge rates of unemployment in India, the action plan for job creation will be a major area in the plan.