Piyush Goyal to ensure dedicated startup helpdesk; urges Indian businesspersons to support startups via domestic fund

At the Resurgence TiE Delhi-NCR conclave, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal called on Indian businessmen and established entrepreneurs to earmark a portion of their wealth for a domestic fund to help early-stage homegrown startups.
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Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said he will ensure that the Ministry and Invest India — the country's investment promotion and facilitation agency — pioneer a dedicated startup helpdesk that can work across ministries and states to sort out any difficulties that they face.

The Minister, who delivered the inaugural address at the opening day of the four-day Resurgence TiEcon Delhi – NCR online conclave, also called upon Indian businesspersons and established entrepreneurs to assume a leadership role in supporting startups through a focused domestic fund that is professionally run and managed without any government interference.

"I've always believed that our Indian business persons should dedicate a portion of their wealth and value to support Indian startups, particularly early-stage startups. I believe if all our businesspersons come together and pool their resources — maybe an initial Rs 10,000 crore fund, which is domestically driven and professionally managed — to handhold our indigenous startups and help them overcome their initial difficulties, then I think we can really do great service to the startup world," the Minister said.

As part of the inaugural session, moderated by Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, InfoEdge India (Chair), the Minister also called on established and successful entrepreneurs like Sanjeev to take up the "mission" of supporting early-stage Indian startups through a domestic fund, while urging them to earmark just one percent of their valuation and pool it into such a fund.

"I encourage more and more of our businessperson and all those startups that have done well in life: if you could all earmark just 1 percent of your valuation and pool it into a domestic fund, I think our startups will not have to sell ourselves cheap to international investors and will really be able to get true value by the time they go to the market for listing or for a larger fundraise."

Dedicated startup helpdesk

On being asked about the role of the recently created National Startup Advisory Council, Piyush Goyal said the advisory council will act as a bridge between policymakers and startups, so the government can work on a real-time basis to help startups succeed.

Earlier this month, the government nominated 28 non-official members to the National Startup Advisory Council to advise the government on measures needed to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country.

"It (National Startup Advisory Council) is a body for the startups, and will work relentlessly to help them government and policymakers to act accordingly to the needs of the startups,” the Minister added.

The Minister also urged InfoEdge's Sanjeev, who is also part of startup advisory council, to bring up the matter of creating a dedicated startup helpdesk.

"This is the first idea to be brought up immediately," the Minister urged Sanjeev, after emphasising that he will ensure that Invest India pioneers a dedicated startup helpdesk.

"I'm very happy to have the Ministry and Invest India dedicate a helpdesk for our startups. We have a Joint Secretary who is looking after this activity. I'll make sure that Invest India pioneers a dedicated startup helpdesk which can work across ministries and across states to act as a bridge to sort out any difficulties that our startups may have."

On the relevance of the Ease of Doing Business scores (which are done by the World Bank) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), mid-sized companies, and startups, Piyush Goyal said the ministry is working closely with policymakers to ensure on-the-ground that the impact is felt by entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses.

“We’ve had state-level rankings and now will go at the district level to rank different stakeholders," he said.

He also called on Indian startups to innovate in the field of chip technology, design, fabrication, alternate new energy sources, urban mobility, cybersecurity and drones, while expressing great hope for Indian youth.

“I've always been enthused by the entrepreneurial spirit and the energy of our youngsters, and TiE has been at the forefront of this. Getting together with the technology youngsters, engaging the technology startups with the rest of the world, I compliment TiE for the wonderful work that it has been doing over the years."

Earlier in the day, in his welcome address at the event, Rajan Anandan, President, TiE Delhi-NCR & MD- Sequoia India, spoke about how TiE has been promoting entrepreneurship over the past 29 years and given back by supporting entrepreneurs across the world.

"Next year will be the 30th anniversary since founding TiE, which is incredible because very few institutions get stronger every year and TiE has been able to do that for nearly three decades in a row, especially since its a non-profit."

Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Sequoia India

Resilience, recovery, resurgence

In his inaugural remarks, Piyush Goyal also spoke about the need for Indian private and public sector to come together to support Indian startups in the "maximum" way possible to ensure "...that the energy of our entrepreneurs is sustainable energy and drives the wheels of motion of this economy forward."

“The Indian economy today is making a comeback and presenting opportunities for growth. As a nation, India has shown huge resilience, during the lockdown; in the recovery phase, after the unlock started; and I'm sure in the post-COVID world, India will show a huge resurgence going forward. So resilience, recovery, and resurgence are typically how a startup also demonstrates its skills, its capability to take on the world, and emerge successful."

He also highlighted the need to celebrate failures as much as successes in the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Minister said,

"Of course you may find some failures along the way but failure is only a stepping stone to success. I think we must, as a nation, as an entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, should celebrate failure also so that we encourage more and more of our youth to become job creators and not just job seekers.”

(With inputs from Trisha Medhi)

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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