Expectations from the Government's Start-up Policy
Expectations from the Government's Start-up Policy

The stage is set. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil an action plan of the ‘Start-up India, Stand-up India’ programme tomorrow in the capital. The initiative, which is aimed at encouraging nascent companies in the country, elicited fast responses from many of them. Retailer Media spoke to the budding start-ups in the country, and here are a few reactions from them a day before the policy:

1. Mukesh Singh, Founder, ZopNow
“It's a great initiative and a long overdue one! Our expectations are - easier access to capital, initiatives to improve skill building and better policies that bolster secondary markets for investors looking to exit their investments.”

2. Neeraj Jain, CEO &Co-founder, Zopper
“The expectation is to expedite policy execution. There have been many initiatives in past too but hardly any execution. The govt should put an execution plan in place along with the policy. Also, the overall idea should be to simplify things for entrepreneurs. When someone is starting up, there is just too much work to do and resources (both financial and human) are in very short supply. Any support from the Govt which will help channelize the available resources in the right direction will be highly appreciated.”

3. Samar Singla, CEO and Founder, Jugnoo
“I see an immense potential for entrepreneurship. Youngsters will be more open to join start-up ecosystem and contribute in its growth. With all the buzz coming in, this campaign will showcase India as the hub for innovation and technology at a global level. Also, a positive change in regulatory norms is expected.”

4. Rahul Mehra, CEO & MD, AWL India Pvt. Ltd.
“This is a great way to start the New Year. Our first and foremost hope is that of the GST bill being passed at the earliest, as it will not only ease the process of doing business but will also encourage more investments in the Logistics sector. Till now, lack of pace in infrastructure development has fuelled the growing frustration of logistics startups, as it hurts the last-mile delivery. This is the opportune time for India Inc to pick up on the ongoing momentum and become an economic powerhouse.  A boost for the Logistics sector will undoubtedly stimulate more “Make in India” initiatives inviting global investors to India. Certainly, the need of the hour is to come good with the promises that have been made on boosting ‘enablers’ such as logistics, infrastructure and rural connectivity.”

5. Karthick Prabu, Chief Product Officer, RoomsTonite
“With PM Narendra Modi's new initiative, we expect the access to funds for high-growth start-ups to expand. This would also empower the youth by encouraging entrepreneurial and management mentorship across India. There would be wider scope for collaborations between larger companies and start-ups that are limited in the present scenario.”

6. Shefali Walia, Founder, Chief Traveler, WeTravelSolo
“I am sure Start-up India initiative by Indian government will prove to be a perfect platform to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation. In past one decade, the Indian start-up ecosystem has seen a transitional change with lot many new minds have joined the ecosystem with some of the most creative ideas. Start-up India initiative will help many more hidden talent in converting ideas into start-ups; formulate favorable policies for them and to promote technological innovation.”

7. Swati Bhargava, Co-founder, CashKaro.com
“While start-up policies are helpful for youth to bring up new ideas leading to more innovation and economic growth of the country, we expect a comprehensive approach by the Govt. while considering the following: Ease of Regulatory Compliance - Startups are hesitant to engage with the government as they expect there to be more bureaucracy than support. With launch of Startup India policy, we expect positive steps from the Government to address certain impediments like taxes, regulatory framework and issues with capital, which in-return will carve out some of the biggest success stories in the Indian startup ecosystem. Initiatives to give access to seed funding - India has enough entrepreneurship zeal but lacks funding opportunities. We expect Government to act as a facilitator for the upcoming start-ups by giving an access to seed funding and also develop incubation centers for new ideas.”

8. Arjun Zacharia, CEO – Wooplr
“With India poised to be one of the fastest growing economies, the Prime Minister’s 'Startup India, Stand up India’ initiative is a welcome move. I believe, one key element of the program, simplified availability & access to credit allows a larger group of new & existing small enterprises to solve problems not of scale but of distribution. Capital access is a critical cog for these small businesses to scale. For example, simplified access to credit allows a micro-textile business based out of rural town to raise capital to scale faster; by taking advantage of locally available fabrics and design skills the business can become agile & respond to the evolving Indian consumer's demand with ease.”

9. Sudarshan Purohit, Co-Founder of Zenify.in
“My expectations would be around the government’s policies for the startup. Fund raising process from ROC should be made easy and short, as of now the documentations and policies are cumbersome  in the process of  receiving the initial  funding Expecting a quick resolution from the government departments; ex; service tax, police regulation, housing regulatory local authorities. Fundamentally, there are a lot of delays from such departments which really affect the progress. Availability of loans and its process from the major banks which should be minimized compared to the current epic process. Government should recommend banks to sanction the loan at the earliest without further delay.When the government announces its initiatives for  startups, my  recommendations would be  to create  a separate government body exclusively for the development of the startups as it is done for the energy department (IREDA).”

10. Nidhi Agarwal, Founder & CEO, KAARYAH
“Startup India, Standup India will certainly lead to job creation as the entire campaign aims to motivate Indians to start businesses on their own and become job creators. Having said that, it would be great if the government could come out with measures to simplify taxation and legal requirements. It will enable us to focus on our core job of growing our business and generating employment for more and more people.”

11. Geetanjali Khanna, COO, Fastudent
“Interstate movement of goods should be simplified by unification of state taxes and laws. Ecommerce and aggregation of goods being the biggest trend in 2015 and still going strong requires this boost to ensure continued benefits to the end consumer. Also, the introduction of transparency in educational policies is a must to foster entrepreneurship in education technology sector in India.”

12. Ashwin Jayasankar, Country Head of Wego.com
“In terms of startup ecosystem, India is in the top five in the world. PM Modi's startup initiative will definitely help this growth and make it easier to create an opportunity for success with many startups. Bank financing and job creation go a long way to encourage entrepreneurship and employ necessary talent.”

13. Sidharth Gupta, Co-Founder of Treebo Hotels
“Start-up India, Stand-up India is a visionary initiative launched by the PM. As an entrepreneur it is a heartening recognition of the role that start ups will continue to play in the development of the country. With their innovative business models and use of technology, start ups are solving some deep rooted problems for consumers. For example, we at Treebo are helping make travel more comfortable and accessible for more Indians. I hope that this initiative will provide start ups an even more conducive environment to flourish in. In particular, I am looking forward to a friendly and unambiguous regulatory framework that recognises the fact that conventional statutes may not be able to govern today's new-age business models appropriately. Providing greater flexibility in structuring such business models, a more accommodative and practical tax regime, and focus on furthering consumer interest would be some characteristics I would hope to see in this framework.”

14. SaurabhTondon, COO, BetterPlace Safety Solutions
“The push towards a digital India, a more inclusive framework to include all section of the society, making Aadhaar a key focus area and ensuring the investment climate continues to be investor friendly are all key components that need to work together to ensure that the vision of Start-India Stand Up India is realized. Naturally we are quite excited and believe that a complimentary public private ecosystem is a must to ensure solid execution on the various initiatives.”

15. Shailesh Jain, Co-founder, Mirraw.com
“Start-up India is a great initiative by the government to boost the Start-up Eco system in the country. As part of the initiative, Government should look into easing the process of starting a business by making the entire process technology based. Also, Indian start-ups are in need of better infrastructure. We also need to re-look at our education system and incorporate a more practical fact driven system. Subjects like entrepreneurship should be made part of the curriculum.”

16. Greg Moran, Co-Founder and CEO, Zoomcar
“We operate in a pretty unique vertical so we would be most interested in seeing the streamlining of the arcane tax and inter-state laws around transport.  This would help make the customer experience much smoother. We are hoping to see rationalization of taxes, particularly looking out for the removal of tax on ESOPs.  This would be a huge boon for startup hiring and would surely benefit the entire ecosystem substantially.”

17. Ajith Mohan, Founder, Furlenco
“It's a great initiative and as an entrepreneur I expect that starting up should be made more hassle free. Also, I feel that what might apply for a normal company should not be applicable to startups. There should be some definition for a startup based on revenue and transactions. In fact, a startup should be cocooned and nurtured from harsh realities of regulations eg: IT sector gets some Tax exemptions, similarly SEZ's were created to encourage businesses to set up with specific perks attached. The same way SUEZ (Start-Up Economic Zone) should be created with a set of perks and trade laws to nurture the startup entrepreneurship in India.”

18. Girish Aivalli – Rural Agri Ventures – MD & CEO 
“Startup India will be PM Modi’s sure-footed policy nudge for entrepreneurs, professionals & investors alike to stand up and start building India. Let’s hope the new policy eases the gaps in raising low-cost debt, multifarious taxes and complex regulations which are major hiccups for start-ups. Apart from the predominant tech and urban-oriented models, I do wish the new policy boosts rural and agribusiness entrepreneurship – that alone will help the Indian economy in the long run.”

19. Bhartesh Chhibbar, Founder, HeyBiz
“Promising Indian startups are changing the face of Digital India and marketing business (especially offline business). Start ups are now on the radar of the government and introduction of these new policies will help provide the much needed boost to the Indian start up ecosystem.”

20. Ankita Tandon, Chief Operating Officer, CouponDunia
Today, India is the land of opportunities for young entrepreneurs. People from diverse sectors like engineering and others are choosing start-up as a career and in fact many of them have the entrepreneurial zeal and the spirit to set up their own business as well as compared to the past few years. Also, a growing number of Indians are returning home due to plethora of opportunities available for entrepreneurs. CouponDunia is one such example. In theory, everything is perfect. However, in reality, there are a lot of challenges faced by start-ups in India. The general ease of doing business in India is not yet in place. The pace at which start-ups operate is very fast whereas government processes are lengthy and often take a long time for clearance formalities and paperwork. Through the 'Start Up India, Stand Up India' initiative, we expect our government to simplify all these processes and make it easier for the start-up community to not only set up but also scale up their business. Our Government should  also encourage micro-entrepreneurship by investing and dedicating an exclusive fund for entrepreneurs apart from the one’s provided by the VCs and angel investors. Furthermore, the government should address the challenges faced by start-up companies and set up proper compliance and redressal forums for addressing these issues. Any start is a good start.”

21. Ameen Khwaja, Founder & CEO, LatestOne.com
“Majority of the startups and e-commerce companies rely heavily on external sources of funding however, such funding’s are only available from key foreign players. Presently investment by Indian players in the startups and e-commerce industry is at a very superficial level and Indian banks and financial institutions need to be encouraged to participate in funding of startups.. This step will facilitate the wealth created by such startups and e-commerce companies to stay in the Indian economy. The Indian laws particularly for listed entities are impossible for any startups to get listed on Stock Exchanges.  It is also impossible for an entrepreneur to take the stock in his Company through Sweat Equity because of the existing tax laws which are taxing Sweat Equity upfront by considering it as “deemed income”.  They must make sure that tax laws are amended for entrepreneurs/technocrats to own substantial percentage of the company by virtue of Sweat Equity and ESOP’s but not taxed upfront.”

22. Umang Srivastava, JMD, Bonita India
“The mere mention of the new policy for startups has created an anticipation and positive energy in the sector. With the PM’s strong faith on the potential of the Indian startups, we are hopeful for the policy to provide concrete road maps for the existing and upcoming startups in India. Currently, with technology as the key enabler, India is witnessing a rapid establishment of startups in the country. We are happy to notice that besides recognizing the potential of the startups, the government has also realized the importance of startups for the growth of economy and in generating employment in the country. Despite the demand, many entrepreneurs are hesitant to establish a startup owing to the existing roadblocks such as high interest rates, hassles in fund approval and regulatory constraints. Therefore, with the new policy, we not only expect the government to ease the regulatory compliance, but also exempt the startups from the taxes imposed by the central and state government. A change in tax regulation can boost further investments into the startup segment. Besides, we are also hopeful about the government announcing some concrete measures to deal the skilled labor crisis that exists in India. While India being a country of young has a pool of manpower, it is a challenge to depute skilled labor due to poor education facilities at the grass root level.”

23. Krispian Lawrence, Co-Founder & CEO, Ducere Technologies
“The ‘Start Up India’ movement initiated by the government is an excellent step towards encouraging entrepreneurship and helping to foster a healthy start-up ecosystem in the country.  There are, however, a few areas that need attention. Despite its laudable effort to ease the company incorporation process and  emphasis on manufacturing in India, not enough focus has been put on encouraging product innovation. India is in a unique position to create innovative technologies, and the government should simplify the processes and protocols for companies to develop intellectual property and file patents. Currently, it takes an average of seven years to get an utility patent issued. This is extraordinarily slow, and creates massive impediments in the innovation process, which is the bedrock on which start-ups are built. Additionally, the government should also offer tax incentives on filing foreign patent applications as well as on attorney fees when doing so. We are extremely hopeful that this impressive initiative, with some key additional steps, will provide a conducive ecosystem and encourage start-ups to take the chance to not only innovate in India, but also most definitely to ‘Make in India’."

24. Rahul Agarwal, Co-Founder and CEO, MebelKart
“We welcome the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s commitment and enthusiasm in recognizing the impact of the startup ecosystem in India. India is 3rd largest hub for startups in the world and it is just a matter of time before India becomes the leading startup nation worldwide. The technological disruption brought about by startups will play a key role not only in the way we function but also in defining business models and generating employment across the country. We are hopeful that with the Government’s involvement, we can look forward to ease of policy regulations, tax exemptions and quick implementation of GST. Going forward it will be crucial for the government, trade associations and startup ecosystem to all work together to create innovative and path breaking products and companies which can change the world.”

25. Suvro Ghosh, Founder, Lazoi 
“The challenges that Indian start-ups are facing today are manifold whether in terms of reach or speed of internet or in terms of technology. Because in long term reach as well as technology advancement will be very important for start-ups to grow and flourish in India. So if we can deliver in that front and reach to farthest corner of India especially in rural areas by 2020 as planned, start-ups itself will put the established behemoths into shame in creating new jobs for aspiring gen x of this country as this new generation is tech-savvy and have fire in their belly to learn and deliver and the term ‘developing country’ will fast disappear and India will very much come into big league in world economy by increasing per capita GDP substantially and can also help subsidiary industries to grow. Because it’s the power of innovative ideas and challenge of entrepreneurship to push the country’s growth to the next level. So, what essentially needed is more encouragement from Government and private level to nurture the innovative ideas and make them grow; which automatically will create more jobs year after another and make the economy robust.”

26. Ashis Nayak, Co-founder – Bumper
“As expected the taxation norms and other hurdles will be relaxed thereby making it easy to startup. Currently it's the same for all levels of businesses. More product/manufacturing based start-ups will come up in India. India is considered to be a service software hub. This should help in changing the mindset of Investors and with investments flowing in, we can expect quality product companies to emerge from India. Also, Govt curated funding will be a new phenomenon in the startup space if the new scheme is well implemented. Easy availability of foreign capital is another big ticket action point of the programme.”

27. Suman Howlader, CEO & Founder of CarZippi
“A friendly taxation scheme such as creating tax slabs or tax holiday for initial days and introducing time and amount bound rebates to help startups survive though the initial hard times.”

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