Boosting-up the Startup Ecosystem in India

Innovation in India is not just limited to certain sectors. We have recognized start-ups solving problems in 56 diverse industrial sectors with 13% from IT services, 9% from healthcare and life sciences, 7% from education, 5% from professional and commercial services, 5% from agriculture and 5% from food & beverages.

As per Invest-India, India has emerged as the 3rd largest ecosystem for start-ups globally with over 77,000 DPIIT- recognized start-ups across 656 districts of the country as of 29th August 2022.

India ranks 2nd in innovation quality with top positions in the quality of scientific publications and the quality of its universities among middle- income economies.


Indian Startup Ecosystem has seen exponential growth in the past few years (2015-2022 till date):

  • 15-fold increase in the total funding of start-ups
  • 9-fold increase in the number of investors
  • 7-fold increase in the number of incubator

The Indian unicorns are flourishing in the fast-paced and dynamic economy of today. These start- ups are not only developing innovative solutions and technologies but are generating large-scale employment.

Till FY 2016-17, approximately one unicorn was being added every year. Over the past four years (since FY 2017-18), this number has been increasing exponentially, with a whopping 66% Year-on-Year growth in the number of additional unicorns being added every year. As of 07th September 2022, India is home to 107 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 340.79 Bn. Out of the total number of unicorns, 44 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 93.00 Bn were born in 2021 and 21 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 26.99 Bn were born in 2022.

In order to ensure that optimism surrounding a large number of Startups remains firm with the belief that most of them will be successful in their critical initial five years and go on to become unicorn, we need the ecosystem to remain dynamic, pragmatic and full of synergies.

Some of the following initiatives tools for the Indian Startups

A. Startup India Hub by DPIIT: For  operationalising the framework for recognition of entities and following the agenda of the Action Plan, Startup India Hub was launched in April 2016 to provide a one -stop digital platform for the entire startup ecosystem in order to enable knowledge exchange and access to resources.

For entrepreneurs, the Hub is envisioned to be their friend, mentor and guide during their startup journey.

The portal provides the following services:

  • Startup recognition: Startups can seek recognition online and apply for associated benefits such as tax exemptions, prioritized status in public procurement, etc.
  • Introduction of the Application Management   System: The Hub allows stakeholders such as accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, corporate entities and government bodies, to seek registration on the portal to host programmes and challenges for all recognized startups
  • Partnered Services: Startups can avail of free (limited) services across verticals such as legal, cloud, banking, customer experience, software enterprise, patent & trademark facilitation, etc.
  • Online Courses: Free courses ranging from programming to management and entrepreneurship are available for all registered users on the platform.
  • Knowledge Bank: Users can avail answers and solutions to vital questions such as, “How to Register a company” or access Startup India’s regularly updated glossary, market research reports from other organizations, etc.
  • Tools & Templates: The portal offers a repository of various legal, HR, and other such templates that can be utilized in an entrepreneur’s journey from idea to enterprise.
  • Government Schemes: This section is dedicated to collated schemes and grants offered by the Central and State Governments for all entrepreneurs. The section holds more than 68 schemes that can be filtered by types of incentives being offered, relevant Ministry, Department, and sector focus areas.
  • Query Resolution: The Hub hosts a query resolution mechanism that addresses inquiries from various stakeholder groups, and this process is monitored by the Startup India team.
  • Handholding support: Through the Hub portal, Startup India also caters to one-on-one facilitation support to existing startups,  innovators, and other ecosystem members
  • Blockchain-Based Certification: The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) launched a Blockchain-based Certificate Verification Platform on 6th October 2020.

B. International Collaborations and Startup Participation: To help connect the Indian Start-up ecosystem with global ecosystems through various engagement models, Start-up India has launched bridges with over 10 countries (Finland, Russia, UK, Singapore, Israel, Portugal, Sweden, Korea, Japan and Germany) that provide a soft-landing platform for start-ups from the partner nations and aid in promoting cross- collaboration.

The partnerships and collaborations with other start-up ecosystems have also proven to be overarching propellants to India’s start-up enthusiasm by fostering partnerships, knowledge exchanges, and fund support mechanisms.

C. Empowering the States: Since 2016, the Department  for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has taken various steps to support and encourage States in developing their start-up ecosystems to further institutionalize and strengthen India’s culture of entrepreneurship.

D. Incubators and Accelerators: Incubators play a vital role in converting ideas into a business model for successful commercialisation. Atal Incubation Centres, Indian Angel Network (IAN) Incubator, iCreate Incubator and Amity Innovation Incubator are some of such entities in the Start-ups ecosystem.

Roles of SEPC in boosting-up the Startup Ecosystem in India:

Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) is set by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. It is an apex body that facilitates service exporters of India. This is the only export promotion council catering to the entire services sector exports.

SEPC as a nodal organization for Services Export Promotion serves India’s Service Sector through four major activities classified as under:

  • Trade Intelligence
  • Export Development
  • Export Promotion and
  • Enabling Business Environment

These broad activities entail the following for all stakeholders:

  • To create business opportunities for the services exporters-aspiring ones and the existing ones.
  • To act as a platform between Government and Industry to provide policy inputs, take up issues of industry and provide insight on global markets (existing and emerging) in terms of opportunities, challenges and regulatory frameworks.
  • To facilitate exports by formulating business enablers like incentives and designing suitable market-oriented promotional events and activities.
  • To provide various grants and schemes announced by the Ministry of Commerce, related line Ministries and State Governments.

SEPC strives to play a very crucial role in the overall ecosystem of Startup in the services sector. Mandated to serve all services sector including 12 services as identified under Champion Services sector.

The following initiatives are planned:

  1. Launch of i-RISE (Ideas, Resources, Incubation, Strategies for Exports) programme: For upcoming start-ups in services, SEPC plans to bring together all stakeholders of the ecosystem.
  2. Improving Market Access: SEPC would provide knowledge on international regulations, market information, new regulations, different taxation policies, unique social and business dynamics. These are impediments in the quest for an international venture of any startup to compete overseas, SEPC will work towards having India’s regulations and standards recognised as a benchmark in overseas countries. Some of the sectors like healthcare, fintech, engineering consulting, bookkeeping and accounting, architectural services are having huge potential in international markets.
  3. Platform for connecting between stakeholders of Startup ecosystem: SEPC can play a significant role in connecting venture capitalists, incubators, tech firms and various government agencies- national and international to provide need- bases opportunities and solutions.
  4. Identifying suitable upskilling programmes: This would serve the need for necessary talent acquisition and training needs for workforce in start-ups.
  5.  Industry Institute Partnership: SEPC can take the lead in bridging the gap.
  6. Implement a mentorship  programme between successful entrepreneurs and young aspiring entrepreneurs
  7. Support in Funding: Most start-ups find raising funds as the most difficult part in their dream of turning ideas into a commercial business model. SEPC strives to:
    • Engage more knowledge partners within the ecosystem to educate startups on funding intricacies
    • Implement a more systematic approach to matchmaking startups and investors
    • Organize road shows to educate stakeholders in the venture capitalist ecosystem on the latest technology and gather input from venture arms.
    • Set up a panel to coach grants applicants and investigate obstacles faced by banks and venture capitalists Streamline and accelerate the grant application process: Work closely with the government and related agencies on the same
    • Provide support and tools for startups during valuation stages


Over the last five years, the rise of Indian entrepreneurship has been nothing short of remarkable. The ecosystem at large has collaborated in unprecedented ways in preparation for the next development phase under Atma Nirbhar Bharat. The guidelines outlined in Startup India: The Way Forward will enable the Indian startup scene to expand even faster. It outlines concrete steps that, when taken together, will act as powerful catalysts in moving all relevant parties towards the common goal of making India a global startup hub.