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National Start-Up Day: Celebrating India’s Effervescent Entrepreneurial Spirit

January 16, announced as National Start-Up Day by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recognises the important role start-ups play in driving Indian economic growth and creating jobs

National Start-Up Day: Celebrating India’s Effervescent Entrepreneurial Spirit

Ravisha Poddar

POSTED ON January 16, 2023 4:33 PM

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the national flag at the Red Fort in 2015, he also unveiled a new vision for the country’s economy. It was aimed at boosting the country’s entrepreneurial potential, enabling talented Indians to put their dreams into action by nurturing game-changing ventures.

To fuel the PM’s plans, the Start-Up India initiative was launched on January 16, 2016. With an objective to build a strong ecosystem that encouraged innovation amongst indigenous organisations.

Following this in 2021, PM Modi announced the day to be National Start-Up Day. This day recognizes entrepreneurs who have built businesses based on innovative ideas. Moreover, it underlines the role that start-ups play in driving the country’s economic growth and helping in job creation.

According to MyGov, a citizen engagement platform, India has become the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world with more than 88,000 start-ups spread across 653 districts. The sector has generated over nine lakh job opportunities and is home to over 107 unicorns. About 23 unicorns emerged in 2022, a Tracxn report stated. According to data compiled by Finbold till November 2022, the US leads the start-up industry globally with 704 unicorns, followed by China, which had 243 unicorns.

When The Going Gets Tough 

However, just having a path-breaking idea is not enough to start a business. It also requires a significant amount of capital, the right talent pool, good contacts in the sector and mentors to guide the way. Entrepreneurs must also be willing to take risks and overcome obstacles. 

This is why National Start-Up Day gains significance, it provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of those entrepreneurs who have broken the mould. 

According to Nishith Rastogi, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Locus, “National Startup Day is a reminder of the boundless potential of entrepreneurship to create employment, drive meaningful innovation, and enable strong economic growth for the progress of our nation.

Between January to June 2022, India added 14 new unicorns, according to the Hurun Global Unicorn Index 2022. However, the subsequent funding winter hit the sector badly and soon news of layoffs and the shutting down of unprofitable verticals started doing the rounds. 

However, some entities, like Shiprocket and OneCard, still managed to break into the coveted unicorn club in the July to September period. Krutika Lal, co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) of Aretto also believes that “the country’s start-up ecosystem has seen a shift from skepticism to nationwide adoption in the past decade, and is now entering a new phase of exponential growth.”

“New designs, innovations, and ideas are constantly emerging and the audience is more open than ever to embracing local, homegrown start-ups,” she added.

Learning From The Past

National Start-Up Day also presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to reflect on the state of the ecosystem. This includes discussions on the challenges that entrepreneurs face, such as access to capital, talent and markets, as well as the role of government in supporting start-ups.

“There is a stronger acknowledgment of Indian start-ups’ role in solving core problems of emerging economies to bridge the socio-economic gaps. For instance, the digital adoption across small and medium businesses and have witnessed that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recorded more than two billion transactions with a cumulative value of transactions exceeding Rs 15 trillion on our platform,” said Ravish Naresh, CEO and co-founder, Khatabook, underlining how start-ups are resolving grassroots issues. 

Interestingly, the development of the start-up ecosystem is not confined to metros, which have long been synonymous with words like ‘start-up’ and ‘entrepreneurship’. On the seventh anniversary of National Start-up Day, the tier II and III cities accounted for nearly 52 per cent of recognised start-ups in the country, as per MyGov.

The pandemic highlighted how during adversities start-ups were successful in creating a flywheel of continual innovation. Amidst the ongoing fears of recession, these entrepreneurs are bound to once again put on their thinking hats and find innovative ways to survive and thrive.

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