The global COVID-19 health crisis has mobilized a strong network of startups to essentially focus all their energies to developing critical healthcare equipment and essentials by ingeniously modifying their resources and collaborating with the larger startup network. These gadgets include Respirators, Ventilators, Sanitization Utilities, Custom Robots, Custom Drones, Rapid test kits and a lot more. This notably highlights the robustness of the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem and also the willingness to work towards the greater good of mankind and not for short term profits or cash grabs. Most of them almost deviated from their original goal to support the society, responding positively to the call by the government.
The funding agencies including government departments also swung into action by inviting for Covid-19 challenge proposals and offering liberal funding. Of course, it may take some time to come up with practically usable gadgets and test kits, but all the young entrepreneurs are working round the clock. There are set forth regulatory requirements for the healthcare gadgets and as most of the young entrepreneurs are new to this field, hand holding and mentoring by experienced professionals is the next immediate need of the hour. On healthcare equipment, patient safety is of utmost importance. All of the experts within the country would gladly associate with startups and contribute towards this societal need.
TThe breakaway from the traditional mindset of working for large companies and leading a ‘safe’ and ‘predictable’ lifestyle is fast changing. In the earlier times, being an ‘entrepreneur’ in India was equated to being jobless and this uncertain career path for societally discouraged. Being an ‘entrepreneur’ in countries like the US is admired and appreciated for following one’s passion and working towards building something that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Indian society has not yet reached that level but seeds of such a way of thinking has been sown.
India has the potential to become a global fertile field of startup ideas. It has one of the largest and youngest workforce in the world and an ever increasing disposable income of the Indian middle class combined with a strong cultural and familial support system. While India has been known globally as tech support and development center, it is slowly moving towards being the global startup hotspot. This is also reflected by huge investments by major startup investment firms like Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital in Indian startups catering to Indian markets. The venture capital and private equity space has also seen tremendous growth and traction with increasing understanding of the importance and potential gain from supporting startups. Social entrepreneurship has also seen a huge boost from large organizations like the Tata Group, supporting noble initiatives working towards solving real world problems.
The undying spirit and never say die attitude ingrained in the Indian youth mindset along with an environment which promotes technical and real world problem solving is the center stone of a promising future. I have very little doubt in my mind that India will be the startup capital of the world.
At this moment, I salute and appreciate the hard efforts put in by various startups and entrepreneurs to selflessly contribute during this pandemic.