Centre Moots SAARC Meet For Startups


New Delhi, Jun 19 (PTI) India is planning to organise a meet of startups of the South Asian region for exchange of new ideas and promoting interaction among them.

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also sought views of Indian startups to hold this programme.

“I will be working towards having a SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nations meet for startups. There are so many complementarities among us in the South Asian region,” she said while launching a startup India hub portal here.

She said the event can act as a platform for exchanging ideas, which can be mutually beneficial and can be worked out.

She asked startups to give ideas about the people who can be invited for the meet.

If the ministry would get feedback and suggestions in the next couple of months, the meet can happen by December, in which SAARC country startups can come to India and share ideas.

SAARC members are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Further, to promote the startup ecosystem in the country  Sitharaman will write to all the Members of Parliament to help budding entrepreneurs.

Citing an example, the minister said she used her MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) fund to create a co- working space for startups in Mangalore.

“I will write to all the MPs…(particularly) in districts where people are approaching their MPs saying can we have some space and where there is a demand of startups,” she added.

The ministry is also planning to work in certain districts to identify schools and help them qualify to get tinkering labs under the Atal Innovation Mission.

She added that the ministry is working on modalities to facilitate exchange of ideas between startups of India and Germany.

The ‘Startup India Virtual Hub’ is an online platform for all stakeholders to discover, connect and engage with each other.The minister said it is a part of an effort to create a marketplace where all the stakeholders can interact, exchange knowledge, and enable each other to grow.It will streamline the life cycle of existing and potential startups, helping them access the right resources at right time.

The portal will host startups, investors, funds, mentors, academia, incubators, accelerators, corporates, government bodies and more.The Hub attempts to solve the problem of information asymmetry and lack of access to knowledge, tools, experts, especially in the nascent ecosystems across Tier II and III towns.It would also facilitate learning & development, networking, mentorship and funding for startups.