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How the Startup Landscape Is Evolving In Punjab Things are changing in the state with the government, a few catalysts and incubators taking it upon themselves to weed out the issues faced by startups and entrepreneurs

By Pramod Bhasin

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Innovation and entrepreneurship are the rudders of growth in an economy and India is no exception to this rule. While it is relatively a late entrant in the startup ecosystem, India has become the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. More than a hundred unicorn companies are part of this large ecosystem, which is witnessing a 12-15 per cent year-on-year growth. The country has the largest youth and adolescent population globally; a UNFPA projection claims that we will continue to have the youngest population till 2030. This large pool of human resources can propel the country at a sky-rocketing pace. Developing a conducive entrepreneurial atmosphere is a step in the right direction, for we will be able to create job-givers rather than job-seekers. While the government has been pushing for it through programmes like Startup India, if private players, PPP organizations, investors and other stakeholders join hands, the aspirational youth of our country will be able to do things that can leave a lasting influence. We need to channelize their aspirations and ambitions in the right direction to help them join the startup revolution. IMPunjab has been at the centre stage of several developmental initiatives, and it is gearing up to board the startup bandwagon by creating a greenhouse for young entrepreneurs.

Startups and micro, small and medium enterprises are the pillars of any economy that ensure economic growth, job creation, competitiveness and wealth creation. Punjab has been a leading state with cross-sectoral growth and profitability. It is blessed with people who are willing to transform every potential opportunity they get. Punjabis are hardworking people who have found their way even in the most challenging times and places. They are innate risk-takers, starting businesses and startups to bring the change they want. With this zeal, Punjab is witnessing the emergence of startups in various sectors such as IT, agriTech, healthcare, education, food, renewable energy and many more.

Many booming startups of today, say, Flipkart, Zomato, Jugnoo, Bonn, Ola Cabs, Mother Sparsh, PayMart, etc., have one thing in common. People with Punjabi roots founded them. However, these companies started operations outside the state because their home state did not have a favorable ecosystem that could have supported them. They had to rely on the resources available in other states. We could not provide adequate and appropriate support when they required it the most.

However, things are changing now; the government, a few catalysts and incubators, have taken it upon themselves to weed out the issues faced by startups and entrepreneurs. Emerging startups and young talents who seek their support are getting the required help. There is a need to bolster the burgeoning ecosystem further and create a close network of all the incubators, mentors and industry specialists to guide young entrepreneurs and emerging talents.

Moreover, the educational universe of the state is expanding by the day. Many educational institutes of repute are opening up their centers in the state while existing educational institutions in the state are developing the potential of talented youth studying there. As the Punjabi diaspora is increasingly trying to return to its roots, Mohali and Chandigarh are becoming their preferred locations. They are bringing in investments that can propel the startup growth in the state.

Additionally, incubators and catalysts are motivating youngsters to take the plunge. The mentors encourage the young entrepreneurs to work on their ideas and take them to the next level. Flourishing startups that have knowledge of the industry and know the inside-out of it and have gone through their share of struggles to reach where they are right now. They are joining hands with these catalysts to help young startups by guiding them with their insights and solutions. Through continued mentoring and support, they are assisting in identifying the challenges and motivating them to find a solution. Ironing out of hindrances like these will lead to the germination of startups in several domains across Punjab.

The startup ecosystem in Punjab is evolving at a rapid pace. Our state is brimming with young talent; with the development of an efficient ecosystem capable of competing with other startup ecosystems in the country, we will soon transform Punjab into a startup hub.

Pramod Bhasin

Chairman, IMPunjab

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