The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal launched the US Startup SETU – Supporting Entrepreneurs in Transformation and Upskilling programme in the Bay Area of San Francisco. The initiative would connect start-ups in India to US-based investors and start-up ecosystem leaders with mentorship and assistance in various areas including funding, market access and commercialization.
The programme was launched at a luncheon interaction focused on specific issues related to start-up ecosystem in India. The meeting focused on ways to encourage domestic incorporation and mentorship of early-stage Indian startups by successful diaspora members in the Bay Area.
SETU is designed to break the geographical barriers between mentors based in US that are willing to invest in entrepreneurship and sunrise startups in India. The interaction will be supported through the mentorship portal under the Startup India initiative MAARG, or the Mentorship, Advisory, Assistance, Resilience, and Growth program, which is a single-stop solution finder for startups in India. The portal has been developed with the idea to be accessible from every corner of the country to connect with a mentor. A mentor will offer human intelligence in guiding the startups. It may be noted that till date, more than 200 mentors have been successfully onboarded on MAARG across the globe.
The core functions of MAARG are to improve ease of access, use Artificial Intelligence for Matchmaking, schedule meetings virtually, host masterclasses, provide a custom dashboard for relevant information, analytics, features, etc., host cohort-based programs that will allow startup ecosystem enablers to be become a part of the program and enable outcome driven activities.
The minister held frank and fruitful discussions with venture capitalists and industry leaders in the area during several meetings he held in the Bay Area. Venture capitalists and other investors expressed optimism about the business outlook in India.
“One of the key takeaways is that the Bay Area is very bullish on India, very excited about the potential that India, Indians and Indian startups and Indian businesses have to offer. Very excited about the talent available in India. They see huge potential in the large market that India is, 1.3 billion aspirational Indians,” Shri Goyal said after the meetings.
“There were suggestions about mentorship. We’ve launched the SETU programme where we are looking at supporting entrepreneurs through transformation and upskilling intiatives. We’re also looking at a programme that the startup advisory council had initiated in India in which mentorship is being initiated particularly in tier-2, tier-3 and tier-4 towns and remoter areas. Lot of good suggestions have been brought to the table,” he said.
It is estimated that about 90% of the start-ups and more than half of the well-funded startups fail in their early days. Lack of experience in handling the business is a key issue, and founders require the right guidance for taking a decision and moral support.
As India heads towards becoming a supreme start-up destination, the right guidance at the right time is paramount. The Government of India invites the stalwarts, seasoned experts, and industry leaders to give back to the nation by adding value to a startup’s journey.
MAARG is inviting applications from Mentors across the world. Till date, more than 200 mentors have been on-boared on MAARG across the globe. The applications have come from distinguished individuals representing the industry and the startup ecosystem.