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STPI launches LEAP AHEAD initiative to boost Indian tech startups

November 7, 2023 6:44 pm

STPI launches LEAP AHEAD initiative to boost Indian tech startups

Collaboration between STPI and TiE offers funding and mentorship for startups, fostering entrepreneurial growth.

In an endeavour to bolster and expedite the success of tech startups in India, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) Secretary, S. Krishnan, inaugurated the LEAP AHEAD initiative. This collaborative effort between the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Delhi-NCR was launched at the LEAP AHEAD summit. The initiative is poised to be a game-changer for tech startups in various stages, including scaling, growth, product diversification, and expansion into new geographic markets. It offers funding support of up to ₹1 Crore along with a comprehensive three-month mentorship programme, incorporating both virtual and in-person sessions for a well-rounded learning experience. Moreover, the initiative will grant startups access to a vast network and personalised guidance through one-on-one mentorship sessions with experienced investors and industry experts.

MeitY Secretary, S. Krishnan, emphasised the timeliness of the LEAP AHEAD initiative, highlighting the evolving entrepreneurial opportunities in India. He underscored that India has transitioned from being recognised solely as a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) hub to becoming a global capability and research & development center. India now stands as a leader in digital public infrastructure, which can be harnessed by entrepreneurs in multiple ways to build successful enterprises. Krishnan also expressed the importance of nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit among youth in smaller cities and encouraging the participation of women and individuals from tier 2/3 cities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Arvind Kumar, Director General of STPI, stated that through this initiative, technology startups will gain market entry, experience rapid growth, and diversify into new horizons. The program primarily focuses on mentorship and co-investment, with plans to hold the LEAP AHEAD Startup Summit not only in Delhi but also in Bhubaneswar, Vijayawada, and Chandigarh.

Sushil Pal, Joint Secretary of MeitY, congratulated STPI for introducing the LEAP AHEAD initiative, part of the Next Generation Incubation Scheme (NGIS). He praised the exponential growth of startups in India and their contribution to the country’s success.

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Dr. Saurabh Shrivastava, Chairman Emeritus of TiE Delhi-NCR, emphasized that the collaboration with STPI goes beyond funding to provide mentoring and market access. TiE Delhi-NCR’s involvement aims to help startups scale and grow. Alok Mittal, President of TiE Delhi-NCR, aligned the program with TiE’s mission to foster ecosystems. The initiative seeks to mentor 75 companies over three months and secure funding for approximately 15 of them. Additionally, the program aims to expand its impact by taking these showcases to over 30 cities.

This initiative equips startups to establish a product-market fit, identify customer segments, develop growth strategies, ensure business compliance, recruit leadership, and raise funds. With a strong focus on nurturing startups and fostering entrepreneurial brilliance, the LEAP AHEAD Accelerator Programme will extend to cities like Vijayawada, Chandigarh, and Bhubaneswar.

The launch event featured three pivotal panel discussions on the path to becoming a product-oriented nation, accelerating innovation, and navigating the investment landscape. Esteemed panelists from the industry shared their insights with young entrepreneurs in attendance. The event also facilitated valuable networking opportunities, connecting entrepreneurs with peers, potential investors, and influential thought leaders within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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 leveraged Digital India’s potential to address societal challenges, drive economic growth, and create jobs. The event also witnessed the exchange of seven Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between STPINext and ecosystem enablers, felicitation of the Build for Bharat IoT Challenge winners, and the disbursement of ₹6.1 crore to 20 startups, cumulatively, from NEXTGen Technology Fund1, established under the NGIS scheme with STPINEXT as the anchor investor, along with other investors.

Ashok Singh, Executive Vice President, Investor Relations, Mumbai Angels; Prem Bharthasarathy, Managing Partner, Pontaq Ventures India LLP; Devesh Tyagi, Senior Director, STPI; Subodh Sachan, Director, Innovation and Startups, STPI; and Manjusha Chourasia, Scientist ‘E’, MeitY, were also present at the event.

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