The Thriving Start-up Ecosystem in India and the Platforms Available for Growth

The start-up ecosystem has developed rapidly in India over the past decade. The government and private sector have embarked on several projects to provide a platform for young entrepreneurs to work on their ideas and innovative projects.

With a keen eye on enhancing the start-up infrastructure in India, the government has initiated the establishment of over 50 Atal Incubation centres. Several government schemes have been initiated such as a venture capital fund for start-ups with a Rs 10,000 crore fund, an eighty-percentage rebate for start-up companies in filing patents (377 start-ups benefitted by this), and an exemption of income tax for 3 years for approved start-up companies.

Through these schemes, the government hopes to provide future entrepreneurs with a supportive environment and eco-space to develop their ideas and convert them into successful business propositions.

The private sector in India has also come forward to set up several incubation centres. These centres work on a pay as you use model or enable partnerships with the entrepreneur for start-up equity.

These initiatives have transformed India into one of the world’s fastest-growing start-up ecosystems with the identification of over 71 Unicorns Startups in 2021.

The push from the government and the private sector has created a buzz around entrepreneurship, especially among the youth who are in the final year of their graduation in several academic institutions. Engineering graduates are leading the way in setting up start-ups at several co-working spaces provided by the government and the private sector.

However, the youth soon find that the initial excitement of setting up a new venture is short-lived as they face several challenges in the creation and growth of these start-ups. The young graduate discovers that there is a lot more to taking a start-up from ideation to a viable business, and are often lost in the myriad of legal, accounting, and marketing challenges. These functions present the biggest hurdles in operating and growing a young company.

The government and private sector have focused on setting up several incubation centres to provide an end-to-end solution for young entrepreneurs. But reality has shown that these centres often lack expertise in support functions such as legal, marketing, finance, and technology (Business Today, Feb 2021). Such centres ultimately act as a co-working space for these entrepreneurs, devoid of other support, which has led to high incubator mortality.

It is with this background that Vidyashilp University has created a program focused on providing a comprehensive solution to young entrepreneurs who are opting to ‘start-up’ a business rather than seek employment. The program titled “Start-up Founders Program” is a 10-month program based on Design Thinking and Lean Start-up Canvas.

The rigorous training program consists of selectively curated courses (knowledge, practice and skill-based) specifically for the start-up business environment. These courses and modules will be delivered by experienced start-up founders and industry experts. The program is expected to provide an opportunity for students to interact with several founders who have succeeded in building their ventures.

The Start-up Founders Program has milestones that will prepare a student in areas such as legal matters, valuation methods, marketing solutions, technology options, and operation flow. These are the areas of challenge that entrepreneurs are likely to face in their journey from an early start-up to the phase of maturity. Entrepreneurs enrolled in the program will be mentored in the development of financial projections and the final business plan to ensure they provide the right pitch to a potential investor.

The program will culminate in a final presentation of the business plan by each student or by a group of students to a panel of funding agencies, VCs, and angel investors who will evaluate these businesses and participate in these start-ups if suitable. This partnership will boost the growth of the start-ups and provide them with a platform for future growth.

Dr. Umesh Mahtani
Professor, School of Business Studies
Director, Start-up Founders Program
Vidyashilp University
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