Dr. CHINTAN VAISHNAV
Startups have become the engine for innovation-fueled economic recovery, reorientation, and growth while building a distributed yet collective future in alignment with each nation’s evolving needs and value system. The global startup economy is worth nearly $3 trillion out of the total world economy of ~$90 trillion and is growing exponentially.
The role of startups in driving innovation that responds to the rapidly changing global scenario has been starkly evident during the pandemic, not only contributing to saving lives, but also leading the way back to economic vitality. Increasingly, startups are offering platforms and tools to foster collaboration and innovation across borders, assisting economies in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Thus, they play a key role across the world in terms of job creation, technological advancement, long-term growth, and crisis management.
The Startup-20 Engagement Group, initiated under India’s presidency of G20 in 2023, aspires to create a global narrative for supporting startups and enabling synergies between startups, corporates, investors, innovation agencies and other key ecosystem stakeholders. India’s startup ecosystem stands today as the world’s third largest, with 107 unicorns, more than 83,000 recognised startups, and an ever-expanding innovation ecosystem to support them.
Via the newly initiated Startup-20 Engagement Group, India aspires to help the world develop an inclusive framework to support innovative startups through strategic collaboration across the G20 nations. While each of the G20 nations is building its startup ecosystem internally, this group will work together to enable startup financing models and bring coherence and co-creation, especially for sectors of global importance.
For the inception year of this Engagement Group, India has identified three common pillars:
Foundations and Alliances: There are multiple definitions of startups and their work throughout the G20 economies, through the first pillar, consensus-based definitions and terminology will be assessed to prepare a Handbook for Startups to solidify the foundation of Startup20. Moreover, this pillar also aims to generate frameworks and encourage cross-country collaboration to give rise to global alliances among stakeholders of the startup ecosystem in the G20 economies.
Finance: The second pillar will focus on policies and frameworks to ease startup financing and create a supportive environment by providing networking and pitching opportunities.
Inclusiveness and Sustainability: The third pillar will concentrate on setting up mechanisms to accelerate startups addressing critical SDG gaps or representing groups whose inclusion requires special focus (e.g. women entrepreneurs, PwD individuals) — in sectors of common interest of all other nations.
Startup 20 envisions hosting events and sessions to achieve its mandate of developing the startup ecosystem across the G20 nations. These activities will span over six events, starting with the opening event on January 28, 2023 (at Hyderabad) and the Summit on July 3, 2023 (at Gurugram). There are multiple intervening events proposed in different parts of India as well. In addition, a large startup showcase is envisioned to exhibit India's startup ecosystem to the world.
Through this Engagement group, the official policy communique that captures the recommendations commonly agreed to by the G20 nations will be compiled and presented. In addition, several publications on the guidelines, best practices, frameworks, and strategic recommendations that result from the above interactions will also be procured. Further, India also aspires to create a ‘Global Innovation Hub’ capable of anchoring such activities and results from this engagement.
Through the G20 presidency, India envisions bringing to the world the spirit of One Earth, One Family, One Future. In the same spirit, the Startup 20 Engagement Group aspires to create and sustain a global narrative for supporting startups and making them a part of our collective future through inclusive and diverse participation.
(The Author is Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission, and Chair of Startup20)