Start-ups ecosystem better, but few women involved: Sitharaman

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New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) Noting the palpable change in the Indian eco-system in developing a more congenial ethos for start-ups, Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday, however, lamented that a very small number of women were involved in such innovative entrepreneurship.

“A big change socially is that parents are giving up the fear of failure, whereas an earlier generation of Indian youngsters were oriented towards exams,” Sitharaman said at an event here organised jointly by UberExchange and industry chamber Ficci.

“This change in mindset favours making a change of course, and, therefore, creates a conducive environment for start-ups,” the minister said.

“Such an initiative is welcome, because the number of women entrepreneurs in start-ups, however, is very low in India,” she added.

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UberExchange is a start-up mentorship and accelerator programme for budding Indian entrepreneurs.

Sitharaman wondered if the reason for the situation is a disconnect between women and the ecosystem for start-ups being created by the government.

“Or is this state of affairs because women are rejecting it (start-ups)?” she posed.

Declaring that the government’s mission is to facilitate and remove obstacles, Sitharaman said the legislation like the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has been brought in to ease the “winding down” of business, which is just as important as the ease of doing business.

“Start-ups today realise that these allow for accomplishing things. In India start-ups are not just confined to tech start-ups, but they are in other field like water management, where old systems have decayed,” the minister said.

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“These start-ups are using technology to revive and restore these old systems, creating immense benefit for people,” she added.

Sitharaman also said that in a bid to extend funding support for start-ups, the government has established a Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS).

An FFS corpus of Rs 10,000 crore could potentially be the nucleus for catalysing Rs 60,000 crore of equity investment and twice as much debt investment, the government said earlier this year.

Besides, in April this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Stand Up India campaign to boost entrepreneurship among the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women by facilitating loans in the range of Rs 10 lakh to Rs one crore.

Modi said Stand Up India will help in creating 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs as every bank branch will provide two such loans without collateral for setting up a new enterprise.

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