Opinion

The survival of start-ups amidst the pandemic

’Start-ups are the engine of exponential growth, manifesting the power of innovation. Several big companies today are start-ups of yesterday. They were born with a spirit of enterprise and adventure kept alive due to hard work and perseverance and today have become shining beacons of innovation.” PM Narendra Modi

 Start-ups play a very vital role in several aspects, some being, job creation, innovation, and taking a business forward however due to the pandemic the growth and the job creations had come down which impacted several sectors. There have to be quick fix policies where funding and appropriate support is extended for the start-ups. Start-ups have always played a vital role in economics and seeing how several start-ups brought in their innovations. There were several firms that were quite fast in terms of responding to the pandemic, they extended a lot of support to other countries by providing them with education, health services via digital innovations example: introduction of no-contact for food delivery, COVID-19 trackers, and by also empowering them with AI solutions. Data shows that young firms provided employment to about 20 percent however they only create almost half of new jobs.

There is no doubt that start-ups have faced consequential confrontations:

It is usually the start-ups who face challenges during pandemic such as lack of funding, customer reduction. The small-scaled companies still are able to sustain themselves through some means. Start-ups need to be supported financially because there’s been a massive drop in the demand as well during the pandemic. There are some countries putting emphasis on funding for start-ups such as India, France, and few other countries. Indian government collaborated with various stakeholders in order to support start-ups, by organizing webinars, and assisting incubators to go virtual, France has set up funding of EUR 4 billion to start-up liquidity.

Funding sources for start-ups to fight against COVID-19 by the Indian Government:

  • Grant opportunities: The action COVID-19 team (ACT) has set up a grant of INR 100crores which has been launched by India’s start-up community taking ideas and innovations to the next level also ideas that could be immediately confronted. ACT is seeking scalable solutions from innovative start-ups and NGOs who are in need of grants to fight the outbreak of COVID.

Find more details here: https://actgrants.in/

https://www.iusstf.org/assets/sitesfile/image/counselling/announcement_1677132591.pdf

 

  • Equity: Omidyar network India called for proposals in order to get a rapid response capital to face the difficulties against COVID by keeping a fund of INR 7.5 crores for this initiative. More details:

https://www.omidyarnetwork.in/blog/omidyar-network-india-announces-rapid-response-funding-for-covid-19-commits-rs-7-5-crore-us-1-million-towards-solutions-focussed-on-next-half-billion

 

  • BACoAf: Bexley advisors COVID-19 action fund has also been set up and is a bridge to funding for the innovators who have been offering solutions for various challenges. Read more here: https://www.bexleyadvisors.com/bacoaf

 

Here is the link to the COVID resource section in the start-up India government website: https://www.startupindia.gov.in/content/sih/en/covid-19_resource_section.html

In a time of crisis, the importance and relevance of start-ups increase too. It is expected that start-ups will bring out innovations and solutions especially when the world needs them. An entrepreneur is a good one who seizes opportunities by offering problem-solving reasonings to society. For example during the recession, a drop is seen in business and at the same time, several businesses emerged successful in a time of crisis. Crisis provide entrepreneurs a variety of opportunities where start-ups can come forward and speak on the challenges and how to overcome them to help more and more start-ups. The onus actually lies on the policymakers, to create more awareness and to bring in more schemes to let start-ups come forward. Policymakers should bring in more incentives for innovative start-ups also to ensure that funding will be available for entrepreneurs to tap out their potential in order to boost them as well.

How can start-ups overcome challenges?

  • There should be short-term financial assistance that needs to exist in order to give a boost to start-ups at least at the initial stages
  • Awareness should be raised and initiatives should be taken by the bigger firms and the government with the help of various support programmes.
  • Giving proper incentives to motivate other people to take risks with a sense of security and knowing that they would be provided with assistance in terms of resources and initial start-up seeds.
  • By breaking the barriers and emphasizing skills and online training to help people develop entrepreneurial skills.
  • The administrative pressure for start-ups should be reduced by bringing out simple policies to accelerate the transitions and by reducing regulatory unpredictability.

Hardships were there and several start-ups faced difficulties whereas some emerged and made it to the Unicorn club, a term used for a privately held start-up having a value of over ONE BILLION $. PM Modi has launched the start-up India seed fund of INR 1000 crore to support the start-ups with the initial funding, under this scheme start-ups will be able to raise equity capital.

Entrepreneurship under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi

The entrepreneurial sector has grown immensely compared to what it was in the Congress-ruled era. PM Modi took it upon himself to inspire people to come out and take the risk of being entrepreneurs and to keep innovating to make society better and for people to come up with solutions. It has been that during the Congress era people did not even talk much about entrepreneurship, there were definitely start-ups however they weren’t given much emphasis and neither were the upcoming start-ups backed as much by the then government itself. In 2019, prior to the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi was quick to tweet promising incentives to entrepreneurs however was never fulfilled however it was the PM Modi-led government that initiated several funding packages for start-ups to grow and to innovate.

Help among the chaos 

Mumbai: A part-time teacher and an auto-rickshaw driver who stepped up and to help people with the Chinese Virus that took so many lives. Dattatraya Sawant is picking up and dropping off people from the hospitals free of cost. He told the media that he will keep on helping people till the pandemic doesn’t go away.

All of us, in our individual capacities, have to step up and become warriors like Dattatraya Sawant, the real heroes. Let us all come together and help our community.

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