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The less the government interferes in the startup ecosystem, the more potential the latter will have to become successful, Union minister Piyush Goyal said here on Sunday. India may have a billion problems, but it also possesses billions of brilliant entrepreneurs to solve the issues through extremely cost-effective solutions, he added.

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The Minister of Commerce and Industry was addressing a gathering during a visit to the Science and Technology Park at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU).

India has the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. India had about 50,000 startups established in 2018. Around 8,900  to 9,300 of these are technology-led startups.

“Look at the IT sector. It is successful in India because the government has no role to play. Allowing entrepreneurs to operate with less amount of government interference or involvement will them help come up with cost-effective and affordable solutions, and to improve their quality and designs. Crutches only help them in the short run. If we really want to let this ecosystem grow and go to great lengths, then we have to let it work on its own,” he said.

If I take the list of unicorns, almost none of them have taken the government’s support to become what they are, he added. However, the Government can play an important role in their growth by reducing taxes.  The charges for startups and women entrepreneurs in patent filing, etc. have reduced significantly over the years.

As of  December 2021, India is home to more than 70 start-ups having crossed the valuation of USD 1 billion.  A unicorn is a privately held startup company that has a  valuation of more than $1 billion. 

The minister said it was encouraging that 46 per cent of the startups registered with the DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) have women as part of the ecosystem, and expressed hope that women will lead the startup culture in Maharashtra.

Recalling the contribution of social reformer and educationist Savitribai Phule, Goyal said she had started the first school for girls in Pune and hence it is befitting that women entrepreneurs showcase their work in the Sci-Tech Park here.

“Today, we have the startup ecosystem across the length and breadth of India. 45,000 startups have been registered in India. It is the third-largest (startup) ecosystem in the world,” he said.

As per the DPIIT registrations, Pune has 3,200 startups, while Mumbai has 3,274, the minister said, adding, “This healthy competition between Pune and Mumbai should continue.” “I like the idea of rating the incubators and escalating funding to those that do a good job. The Modi government recognised the power this country has and the Startup India programme was initiated. Today, we have grown to be the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world,” he said.

Likening the incubators to parents, he said they are like guides and support systems that the startups need.

Stating that Pune is in a unique position to support the startups due to the presence of industry, IT and the finest academic institutions, the minister added that it is now time to increase the international collaboration in the startup ecosystem.

“It is heartening to note that out of the 79 unicorns in India, four are in Pune. The Sci-Tech Park in SPPU has 153 startups,” the Union minister said.

“Industry, academia and research will take the country forward. In terms of unicorns also, India has done extremely well with 79 such setups. Every time I give a presentation, their number changes. Pune also has four unicorns, which is something to be proud of with many more in the making,” Goyal said. 

It is the enterprising spirit of the young boys and girls and entrepreneurs that truly defines success, Union minister Piyush Goyal said.

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