Roundtable to strengthen Indo-German collaboration in the start-up ecosystem

India

Representatives of the start-up ecosystem of both India and Germany met at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in New Delhi on 2 November 2023. They exchanged views on cooperation opportunities, looked back at activities in 2023 and planned for 2024. The discussions focused on challenges and solutions to strengthen collaboration between India and Germany on start-up opportunities.

Alexander Reck (German Embassy New Delhi) opened the event. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

India’s start-up ecosystem has grown exponentially in the last years due to an increased capital inflow. As of October 2023, India is home to 111 unicorns. Germany has emerged as a vital hub for a variety of start-up sectors in Europe, including fintech and B2B startups.

Against this background, the German Indian Startup Exchange Program (GINSEP) and MeitY Startup Hub (MSH) started a close collaboration in 2021. The collaboration was facilitated through the Indo-German Digital Dialogue between MeitY and the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV). It has since been strengthened through joint activities.

Harnessing the potential of the Indo-German startup ecosystem

To harness both countries’ potential, GINSEP and MSH organised a roundtable for knowledge sharing and networking among representatives of the German and Indian start-up ecosystem. The aim was to explore synergies, identify priorities and plan collaborative activities while providing a platform for start-ups to connect.

Alexander Reck, Counsellor at the German Embassy New Delhi, opened the roundtable. He emphasised the importance of such cooperations to exchange valuable knowledge and explore concrete joint activities.

The roundtable participants met in New Delhi. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

Current initiatives to support startups

Julian Zix, Project Lead at GINSEP, presented the activities and services offered by GINSEP, including a plan for an upcoming soft-landing project: GINSEP offers a three-month-long workshop for Indian start-ups to build their capacities and enter the German market. The 2024 project would cater to start-ups in the field of energy transition, fintech, digital health, mobility and industrial digitalisation while focusing on female founders.

Omkarnath Rath, Programme Director of MSH, presented MSH’s initiatives that promote incubation services for start-ups. MSH also provides training, capacity building, funding as well as investor and industry connections to start-ups. As part of the G20 Digital Innovation Alliance (G20-DIA), MSH supports innovators that have digital solutions for sectors like ed-tech, health-tech, agri-tech, fin-tech, secured digital infrastructure and the circular economy.

Julian Zix (GINSEP) presented GINSEP’s activities and services. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

Deepening the cooperation by planning joint initiatives

The presentations of GINSEP and MSH were followed by an open discussion. The roundtable participants exchanged their views on main challenges as well as possible solutions to improve collaboration between the Indian and German start-up ecosystems. They agreed that there is a need to design initiatives that support female founders, to create a platform that offers clarity on funding mechanisms and enables a smooth flow of funds, and to organise outcome-oriented delegation visits for improved matchmaking of start-ups.

The roundtable concluded with closing remarks from Julian Zix and Jitendra Vijay, CEO of MSH. Both agreed to deepen the cooperation and organise Indian delegation visits to Germany, which would be arranged after identifying targeted themes and conducting a start-up mapping. They plan on having an ongoing conversation to further develop their partnership and jointly promote the Indo-German start-up ecosystem.

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