In a significant move to support and accelerate the success of tech startups in India, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) Secretary, Shri S Krishnan, officially launched the LEAP AHEAD initiative. This groundbreaking initiative is a result of a joint collaboration between the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Delhi-NCR, introduced at the LEAP AHEAD summit.
A Game-Changer for Tech Startups
The LEAP AHEAD initiative is poised to be a game-changer for tech startups in various stages of development. It would help in scaling, growth, product diversification, and expanding into new geographical locations. These startups can now access funding support of up to ₹1 Crore and participate in a comprehensive three-month mentorship program. The progra combines both virtual and in-person sessions for a well-rounded learning experience. Moreover, this initiative will provide startups with invaluable access to a vast network. Along with personalized guidance through one-on-one mentorship sessions with seasoned investors and industry experts.
Secretary MeitY’s Vision
Secretary MeitY, Shri S Krishnan, expressed his thoughts on this initiative, emphasizing the opportunities for entrepreneurship in India. He pointed out that India has transformed from being known as a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) destination into a global capability center and Research and Development (R&D) hub. India now stands as a leader in digital public infrastructure, which can be leveraged by entrepreneurs to build successful enterprises. Shri Krishnan also highlighted the enthusiasm and potential among the youth in smaller cities, emphasizing the need to support and encourage them. He also encouraged more women and people from tier 2/3 cities to become entrepreneurs.
A Multi-City Initiative
Shri Arvind Kumar, DG of STPI, elaborated on the core focus of this initiative, which centers on mentorship and co-investment. He mentioned that, in addition to Delhi, the LEAP AHEAD Startup Summit is planned to be held in Bhubaneswar, Vijayawada, and Chandigarh.
Praise for STPI
Shri Sushil Pal, Joint Secretary at MeitY, congratulated STPI for launching the LEAP AHEAD initiative, which is a part of the Next Generation Incubation Scheme (NGIS). He acknowledged the remarkable growth of startups in India in recent years.
Mentorship, Funding, and Expansion
Dr. Saurabh Shrivastava, Chairman Emeritus of TiE Delhi-NCR, highlighted the significance of this collaboration in providing not only funding but also mentoring and market access to startups. This mentorship aims to help startups scale and grow, with a target of mentoring 75 companies over three months and securing funding for about 15 of them. The initiative aims to extend its impact by taking these showcases to over 30 cities.
The LEAP AHEAD initiative will enable startups to establish a product-market fit, identify customer segments, develop growth strategies, ensure business compliance, recruit leadership talent, and raise funds. With a strong focus on nurturing startups and fostering entrepreneurial brilliance, this event marks the first step in extending the LEAP AHEAD Accelerator Program to cities like Vijayawada, Chandigarh, and Bhubaneswar.
Panel Discussions and Networking
The launch event featured three pivotal panel discussions on the path to a product-oriented nation, accelerating innovation, and navigating the investment landscape. Esteemed panelists from the industry shared insights with young entrepreneurs in the audience. The event also served as a platform for valuable networking, connecting entrepreneurs with peers, potential investors, and influential thought leaders within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
A Knowledge Report Unveiled
During the event, a knowledge report titled “From Startup to Scale Up: The Role of Digital India and Opportunities Ahead” was unveiled. This comprehensive resource showcases success stories of startups that have harnessed the potential of Digital India to create innovative solutions addressing societal challenges while driving economic growth and job creation.
MoUs and Funding
The event witnessed the exchange of seven Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between STPINext and ecosystem enablers. The event also marked the felicitation of Build for Bharat IoT Challenge winners and the disbursement of ₹6.1 crore to 20 startups. This funding comes from NEXTGen Technology Fund1 established under the NGIS scheme with STPINEXT as the anchor investor and other contributors.
Several key figures, including Shri Ashok Singh, Executive Vice President of Investor Relations at Mumbai Angels; Shri Prem Bharthasarathy, Managing Partner at Pontaq Ventures India LLP; Shri Devesh Tyagi, Senior Director at STPI; Shri Subodh Sachan, Director of Innovation and Startups at STPI; and Ms. Manjusha Chourasia, Scientist ‘E’ at MeitY, were present at the occasion.
About STPI and TiE Delhi-NCR
STPI, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, is dedicated to promoting software exports, nurturing the tech startup ecosystem, and supporting the IT/ITES industry’s dispersion. STPI plays a vital role in strengthening the startup ecosystem in India through its Next Generation Incubation Scheme (NGIS) and 22 domain-specific Centers of Entrepreneurship innovation. For more details, visit www.stpi.in.
TiE Delhi-NCR has been at the forefront of creating a positive ecosystem for entrepreneurs and investors. The organization conducts a wide range of programs to support entrepreneurs, including TiEcon, Startup Expo, TiE Institute, TiE Young Entrepreneurs, and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) across various sectors. For more information, visit www.delhi.tie.org.