ET Startup Awards 2020 | The power of ideas, resilience win the day for startups


Bengaluru: I’ve been present in many of these programmes in Bengaluru. This time, we are talking to each other virtually, but I’m delighted that The Economic Times has chosen to continue with the tradition of the ET Startup Awards, which celebrates the most innovative and bold entrepreneurs.

Last year, the awards were truly a delight when we recognised some outstanding achievements of our young entrepreneurs, and the energy in the room gives a powerful imprint of success. I laud the efforts and the dedication of the jury for choosing the winners, and the various identified elements being recognised

today will truly demonstrate the vision, the courage, and the never-say-die spirit of our young startups.

I congratulate the winners and I wish you grow beyond boundaries and bring laurels not only for yourself, but also for the nation. Recognition is a fuel which furthers growth, gives a powerful inspiration and incentive for success. Your story shall be the story of India’s growth in the 21st century. It should be the story of four Is—Ideation, Innovation, Implementation and Impact.

I believe in the power of ideas. Solutions may be simple, but their impact can be enormous. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, India needs local solutions with global applications. The philosophy of Steve Jobs—of making technological products beautiful and innovative—led to several inventions, which everybody desires across the globe today. Despite dropping out of college, he started the journey of Apple from a garage, as they say, to become a trillion-dollar organisation.

An entrepreneur is someone who starts with a big dream, but not necessarily with large resources. This mismatch is not an issue, but rather an inspiration, a fuel for innovation. Our entrepreneurs have to brave emotional, mental, and physical challenges as they work towards new ideas but they have shown the determination to succeed.

During the ongoing pandemic, we have seen the power of our young and enthusiastic boys and girls who rose to the occasion. We saw cost-effective solutions for vaccines’ storage and transportation, we saw innovation in cold chain technologies. We saw innovation in how to transport, technologies for pre-screening and monitoring of patients. There were so many ideas, and I cannot help but mention some of the achievements

as the jury decided on who the winners of today’s awards are.

The fact you could come out with cost-effective and durable solutions to address the pandemic by creating a testing kit in two weeks, is truly demonstrating the ability of the young entrepreneurs who created that test kit, worked day and night, and finally crunched one year’s production into two weeks. The upskilling of technology to provide affordable education has reaped rich dividends during pandemic period.

We’ve seen not only the valuation of our online portals go sky-high but they also have actually served in maintaining and ensuring continued education without loss of time for our young boys and girls. Women entrepreneurs have also written extremely successful stories during this period. Innovation and advanced

payments-based technology, developing the green fuel that can power engines on satellites and launch vehicles to hurl payloads up to 150 kilos into an orbit of 550 kilometres is something we are all proud of.

These innovations can propel India towards development and help the world in its development efforts. We can provide cost-effective and efficient solutions to the rest of the world.

Startups are only the first step in a long journey of success that I foresee for all of you. Since 2016, Startup India has been a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups. This has catalysed the culture of innovation even in the rural areas. Government can, at best, play the role of an enabler in the development of startups, but the fact that each one of you is working to find solutions to real life problems, makes us all extremely proud.

I’ve appealed to the captains of Indian industry to also consider larger involvement of businesses in the financing of startups, particularly early-stage, because I believe a lot of good ideas that come out of our startup ecosystem get sold at abysmally low valuations, and international players, with an eye for

opportunity, are picking up some very good startups, picking up large stakes at an early stage.

I hope the Indian industry will take my appeal seriously.

I suggested they create a Rs 10,000 crore somestic fund, managed professionally which can identify opportunities that come out of the startup system at an early stage so that they can help startups write a new destiny for India’s success and help expand their horizons through innovation, through inventions, through their collaborations and create opportunities in newer sectors to help India truly achieve the status of a self-reliant nation—Atmanirbhar Bharat.


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