A framework has already been established with Bangladesh and plans are afoot to rope in Bhutan and Nepal for such an initiative
The initiative will back exchange visits between 50 startups from India and the neighbouring nations and will boost entrepreneurial cooperation in the region
In the past, India has signed pacts and collaborated with a slew of countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, the UAE and others to fuel local startups
To foster entrepreneurship in the region, India reportedly plans to roll out a startup exchange programme with its neighbouring countries.
Government officials privy to the matter told the Economic Times that such an exchange framework has already been established with Bangladesh, while plans are afoot to rope in Bhutan and Nepal for such an initiative as well.
The officials said that while some exchange programmes have already been conducted with startups from Nepal and Bhutan, the new initiative has been designed to build a more structured and broader annual cohort with the two countries.
They added that the programme will boost entrepreneurial cooperation in the region. As per information available about the contours of the partnership with Bangladesh, the initiative will back exchange visits between 50 startups from India and the neighbouring nation.
The framework has been envisaged with fueling partnerships, business relations and knowledge exchange with the neighbouring nations.
Besides, the programme has been formulated to enable the exchange of ideas in new and emerging tech domains. In addition, it plans to facilitate the establishment of incubators and give ‘the much-needed fillip to the economy of the region’.
“The idea is to facilitate the exchange of ideas in the new and emerging areas such as tech and innovation in the region and also incubators,” an official said
Noting that the project could ‘energise and create a robust interface’ between startups of India and the neighbouring countries, the official added that the exchange initiative will help shore up MSMEs in the region and support global value chains that are looking to shift base to Southeast Asia.
People familiar with the development said that there was a renewed interest among the neighbouring countries for such a programme owing to the number of unicorns that have emerged in India in the past three years.
India’s Startup Collaborations
The startup exchange programme is part of a growing number of startup collaborations that the Indian government has formulated with countries across the globe. With an eye on fostering talent and learning from best practices across the globe, Indian authorities have reached out to hubs across the world to spur the local startup ecosystem.
Last year, India and Qatar unveiled a Startup Bridge initiative to connect the startup ecosystems of the two countries.
Prior to that, India and Germany also signed a partnership to work in the area of artificial intelligence (AI) and to advance startups and research in the field. Before that, union minister Piyush Goyal also called for strengthening economic ties between Indian startups and their Australian counterparts.
In the past, India has also signed pacts with countries such as Israel, the Netherlands and the UAE to spur innovation and fuel new-age technologies.
India’s startup ecosystem has seen a big boom in the past few years. Despite the macroeconomic pressures and funding winter, homegrown players continue to grow in numbers. India is currently home to more than 96,000 DPIIT-registered startups, 196 government-recognised accelerators and 1,000+ incubators.