TechSparks 2019: India needs startups to turbo-charge the growth engine, says Karnataka Deputy CM

Speaking at YourStory's flagship event, TechSparks, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr C N Ashwathnarayan tells founders to come up with new ideas ‘to solve the country’s problems’ and assures them of government backing to ‘grow and thrive’.

TechSparks 2019, India's biggest startup conference and YourStory's flagship event, got off to a rousing start on Friday morning with an inspiring keynote address by Dr C N Ashwathnarayan, Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka and Minister for Higher & Medical Education, IT & BT, Science & Technology.

Stating that across the world, startups were at the heart of a country’s growth and development, the minister said that the Indian government needed startups.

“They bring innovation, changing dynamics, and new jobs into the business environment, adding value to every sector. Today, when there is a concern about the economy and jobs, startups are doing a fabulous job in generating employment. Reports suggest that the Startup India initiative has created nearly two lakh direct jobs since its inception in 2016,” he said.

He added that people in government across the world agreed that policymaking and regulation hasn’t kept pace with innovation and tech advancements, but assured that his government would follow “our beloved PM Narendra Modi’s maxim of ‘less government and more governance’ to create a strong startup ecosystem”.

Dr C N Ashwathnarayan said with India aiming to grow to a $5 trillion economy by 2024, the country needs startups to turbo-charge the growth engine. He asked startup founders to come up with new ideas “to solve the country’s problems” and assured them that the state government would “help the ecosystem to grow and thrive”.

His advice to founders was simple: “Don’t chase investors. Chase your dreams and come up with new ideas to solve the country’s problems. Eventually, investors will chase you.”

The minister urged startups to collaborate with the government to improve the status quo in the country. Giving an example of how governance can be bettered by adopting new technology, he revealed that collection of property taxes in Bengaluru had gone up after leveraging technology.

Bengaluru has a legacy of providing an enabling environment for innovation, and this style of governance has been existing since the days of the IT revolution,” he said, adding that the conducive entrepreneurial ecosystem coupled with supportive governance that exists in Bengaluru cannot be seen elsewhere in India.

“Today, you will see Bengaluru hosting a wide array of startups working in different sectors from AI and ecommerce to healthtech, foodtech and blockchain. Our state government has played an instrumental role in shaping this ecosystem,” he said.

Speaking on the need to pursue eco-friendly growth, he said cleantech startups needed to support the government in this mission. He added that startups working in social and defence sectors were doing inspiring work.

“Some are helping clean manholes and drains, an issue that has dominated headlines because of frequent urban flooding. I learnt about startups that are working on traffic problems and other urban problems,” he said, adding that the smart city dream could not be made a reality without the support of startups.

Congratulating YourStory, India's biggest and definitive platform for startups and entrepreneurs, for launching a mentorship and guidance programme for founders with YS Academy, he said, “Behind a strong startup ecosystem is an education system that encourages innovative thinking and mentorship.

Aswathnarayan also said he expected startup hub Bengaluru to host at least 50 unicorns by 2024.

“India’s Silicon Valley has transformed from a pensioners’ paradise to founders’ paradise. Earlier, people came here to retire. Today they are coming here to start up. I see the founders of unicorns like Swiggy, Udaan, and Ola participating in TechSparks. I firmly believe that we will see 50 unicorns emerging from Bengaluru and participating in TechSparks 2024.”

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)

YourStory's annual extravaganza TechSparks brings together the best and the brightest from the startup ecosystem, corporate world, policymakers and, of course, the investor community. Over the past decade, TechSparks has grown to become India's most loved tech and startup platform for knowledge sharing and networking. A big thank you for all your support over the years and a big shoutout to our sponsors.


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