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Aim to bring investments from chip giants into India: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Pitching the India innovation story at a global stage is necessary and appropriate. The country is at an inflection point for growth and the need is to showcase to more investors and corporates around the world that this India innovation story is really durable and sustainable, said Union Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Electronics & Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

“We aim to bring in investments from the big semiconductor and electronics giants,” said Chandrasekhar at the India Global Forum’s annual summit ‘The New India Inc’ held in Bengaluru.“We have newly discovered ambitions post Covid. It is very necessary to (showcase investors) the story of innovation, entrepreneurship and the role of the government and public policy in creating this kind of an ecosystem is real.”

Though places such as Bengaluru and Delhi have become the hub for startups and entrepreneurs, Chandrasekhar said the biggest challenge now is to ensure that this whole digital and technology opportunity doesn’t get concentrated in just a few cities in India.

“There are 1.2 billion Indians, a large number of that large percentage of that are youth. This genie that has been unleashed by our honourable Prime Minister’s (Modi) vision is a genie that has essentially catalysed the young Indian everywhere,” said Chandrasekhar. “So the challenge really from a ministerial and the public policy level is to be able to ensure that these opportunities (for) entrepreneurship and startups like in Bengaluru are available in other cities like Mysuru, Hubli, Dharwad in Karnataka and other parts of India. That is a very important thrust area for us at the Government of India. Inclusion of people onto this clearly emerging and expanding phenomenon of innovation and entrepreneurship is in my opinion, priority number one.”

He said it is important for the growing success of the Indian startup ecosystem to be projected all across the world. He said in the next 2-3 years, India will witness a deeper and wider expansion of the innovation ecosystem in India, which is unprecedented in the history of the country. “This is something where most countries are going to be awestruck. I’m not saying that because I or anybody else wants to take credit for it. But it is truly the unleashing of the Indian potential.”

Chandrasekhar said most young Indians now want to get into entrepreneurship and not be dependent on somebody else to define the future. There are failures and risks, but despite all of that more young Indians want to join this journey.

“That in my opinion, is a big tectonic cultural change in the last 6-7 years,” said Chandrasekhar. “Of course, I think any mountain that you attempt to climb is not going to be a walk in the park. People will learn these things from their own personal experiences. There is no little button that says, press here to be an entrepreneur and press there to be a multi-billion dollar unicorn.”

Also, on the second day of India Global Forum’s Annual Summit themed ‘The New India Inc.’, Manoj Ladwa, founder and chairman, India Global Forum, in the presence of Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, announced an ‘Investors Network’ with the most pioneering founders and entrepreneurs as mentors as well as a dedicated Fund for 75 Women Entrepreneurs.

“The next 25 years are essential for India’s development as we celebrate our 75th year of independence; consequently, we wanted this year’s Budget to stimulate the power of youth and entrepreneurs,” said Nirmala Sitharaman, Government of India, Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs. “We could still manage 40-45 unicorns as a country during the pandemic. This demonstrates the power of youth, which we recognize.”

Members of the ‘Investor Network’ include Anmol Nayyar, Partner, DMI Finance; Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Aarin Capital; Nikhil Kamath, Co-Founder, Zerodha and True Beacon; Prashant Pitti, Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip; Prashanth Prakash, Partner, Accel; Ramakant Sharma, Co-Founder & COO, Livspace; Ruchi Deepak, Co-Founder, ACKO; Sujeet Kumar, Co-Founder, Udaan; Umang Bedi, Co-Founder, VerSe Innovation (Dailyhunt & Josh) and Kunal Shah, Founder, CRED.

“For a woman, access to capital, talent and technology, are one of the most formidable challenges even today,” said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, executive chairperson, Biocon. “In the venture capital world, the line for questions for a woman seeking funding and a man seeking funding is extremely unfair.”

Divya Gokulnath, co-founder and director at edtech giant Byju’s said with the pandemic, there could be a disproportionate impact of the gender gap in education. “Studies show that 67 per cent of girls did not attend the online school,” said Gokulnath. “The gender gap is in the number of years of education that girls and boys receive which widens with progressive years, which we have to improve.”

“I am very optimistic about the fact that the next decade is going to belong to women entrepreneurs,” said Vineeta Singh, CEO and founder, Velvette Lifestyle.

At the event, Meenakshi Lekhi, Union Minister of State for External Affairs & Culture, highlighted the increasing need for diplomatic intervention to support businesses on day one. “These are changing times for business diplomacy. The global change agreement, the regional trade agreement and the bilateral change agreement are paving the way forward,” said Lekhi. “The future will be dominated by diversification of not just the markets but diversification of supply chain mechanism as well. Therefore, it makes business sense along with political and human sense to diversify as much as possible to avoid unification which creates an extremely difficult situation when disruption happens at a large scale. Since democracies have prices to pay, they must work together to support and benefit people from each other in terms of technology, science and development.” Business Journal

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