Why the National Startup Awards might be the break entrepreneurs are looking for

After a stellar lineup of startups awarded last year, the National Startup Awards are back in 2021 to shine the light on startups that made a difference with their innovative solutions in a year of unprecedented events.

A business environment unconducive to growth, wary investors and a country under lockdown — these were just a few of the challenges that startups in the country braved as the COVID-19 pandemic raged on across the world. However, many of these startups moved from strength to strength to emerge not only stronger, but also left a positive impact on society with their products and services.

To acknowledge their zest for innovation and boost the growth and innovation within the startup ecosystem, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) first launched the National Startup Awards under the Startup India initiative in 2020. The National Startup Awards (NSA) recognises the contribution of startups and ecosystem enablers that are building innovative products or solutions, which in turn can generate employment, create wealth and also result in measurable social impact.

The National Startup Awards 2021 will be conferred in 15 different categories and a winner will be declared in each of the 49 sub-categories, which includes sectors like travel, agriculture, education and space. The DPIIT will also honour an incubator and an accelerator as part of these awards. NSA 2021 will also honour startups who have distinguished themselves in special categories.

One of the new categories introduced this year looks to recognise startups that have demonstrated excellence with innovative solutions in the prevention, diagnosis, therapeutic and monitoring of COVID-19. Other specialised categories focus on startups led by women and those which germinated on college campuses.

To apply, click here as registrations close on January 31.

How startups will benefit

A winner would be selected in each sub-sector of every category and would go on to win a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh. The winners and runners-up will be given priority while participating in various national and international startup events sponsored by the DPIIT. The winning accelerator and incubator will be eligible for a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh each.

Winning startups will not only benefit by way of attracting more business, financing partnerships and talent, but will also serve as role models for other entities and budding entrepreneurs. They will also be inspiring other entrepreneurs to come up with similar ways of ensuring societal welfare.

The awards also serve as an opportunity for startups to interact, network and learn from peers. As you can apply free of cost, the occasion can be used as a chance to learn about the dynamics of an ever-evolving industry.

Startups who feel that their innovation has spurred an impact on the society should go ahead and register for the NSA 2021 today as the registrations close on January 31.

Who can apply

Participating startups should be recognised by DPIIT, and they will have to submit either a certificate of incorporation or a partnership deed at the time of application. The startup must have a hardware or software product or process solution available in the market, among other requirements.

For incubators and accelerators, the DPIIT would be entertaining applications only from those that are structured as an independent entity — a company, trust, or a society. They should also have been operational for at least two years as of January 1, 2021. Participating incubators must have graduated a minimum of 15 startups, while interested accelerators should have mentored at least 10 startups.

If you are a startup, incubator or accelerator wishing to participate in the NSA 2021, you can apply for the award by registering at startupindia.gov.in. Hurry up, the last day to register is January 31.


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