The Covid-19 pandemic is usually termed a ‘one in a hundred years’ crisis that has globally impacted the lives and livelihoods in unprecedented manner. As the crisis has global nature, India and Nepal are severely impacted as well. While the world is self-assured to see a sort of re-set, it is the time for the government and industry to reckon the urgency of figuring out their immediate priorities, including on supporting the Startups, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Exports, the backbones of the economy. A change in approach is much needed at this point of time, before the fundamentals of the world order go into reset mode, there should be determination to revive the Startups, MSMEs and Export Ecosystems to support the much needed demand factor of the economy. This is the time for proactive collective action to come out of the trying time with a blueprint for revival of the economy.
As the economic rebounding is the need of the hour to brave a new world in post-pandemic times, under the aegis of its India-Nepal Centre (INC) and in association with the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and Nepal SBI Bank Ltd (NSBL), PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) hosted the India-Nepal Startup Summit 2022 (in virtual mode) to bring the important stakeholders of bilateral economic cooperation on a common idea platform from both India and Nepal to discuss some of the most crucial aspects concerning investment and partnership to support the thriving Startup Ecosystem in both India and Nepal. The session was attended by the key policymakers from both the government and industry to ideate the way forward for an ever closer cooperation between India and Nepal with focus on fostering the startup ecosystem in both countries.
Amb Mr K V Rajan, Chair, India-Nepal Centre, PHDCCI & India’s Former Ambassador to Nepal mentioned that we must constantly revisit the critically important aspects like simplification, handholding and funding aspects of startups. Innovation by the young must be encouraged, guided and rewarded. The regional and subregional boost of an integrated supply chain is equally important in the quest of becoming Global. The Summit’s Chief Guest H.E. Mr Ram Prasad Subedi, Chargé D'Affaires, Embassy of Nepal in India reflected on the broad trends concerning the bilateral economic cooperation between India and Nepal and identified startup cooperation as a very important factor of economic development. Mr Dipak Kumar De, MD & CEO, Nepal SBI Bank Ltd (NSBL) said that India continues to be the most formidable economic partner due to deep bilateral ties. Foreign investments and approval are the real issues. However, Indian investment in Nepal has been significantly impressive. NSBL is the partner in Nepal’s progress and it looks forward to supporting the startups, he added.
While counting India and Nepal as very important partners in economic progress, PHDCCI President Mr Pradeep Multani assured India-Nepal Centre’s unwavering support for the thriving Startup Ecosystem in both India and Nepal. Mr Anil Khaitan, Former President, PHDCCI highlighted that The startup boost over the past decade in India has been exponential. The start-up India programme launched by the government led to such positive momentums in the startup ecosystem. The economic reforms have also put India in a position where people have become job creators rather than job seekers, he added. Mr Rohit Gupta, Vice President, CNI informed that there are many interesting start-ups in Nepal working across various fields ranging from logistics to e-commerce. However, there is a need for a favourable investment climate to help start-ups of Nepal flourish.
Dr Badri Narayanan Gopalakrishnan, Head-Trade & Commerce, NITI Aayog said the startups in Nepal are thriving and there is high potential of engagement. Mr Anukool Bhatnagar, CGM & Head-Nepal Desk, State Bank of India (SBI) mentioned that as a health emergency, Covid-19 has given us all a fresh perspective to look at innovation aspects especially in the start-up sector. India and Nepal have interlinked businesses, people-to-people ties, two-way logistics, shared market fundamentals and also have a similar vision to become self-reliant. The key focus of SBI right now is on sectors of green energy, agriculture, tourism, healthcare, IT electronics and logistics—and it is very much willing to further deepen its banking footprints in Nepal. Mr Biswas Dhakal, President, F1 Soft International Pvt Ltd and Founder of eSewa said that Nepal’s SME sector is the main source of employment generation in Nepal. The SME sector however in Nepal still remains in the informal sector and access to the formal working capital remains elusive for Nepal’s start-ups, he added. Mr Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary General, PHDCCI highlighted Nepal’s success stories in the startup domain and referred to the vast potential that should be explored by the startups in both India and Nepal with collaboration and partnership.
The Summit was curated and coordinated by Mr Atul K Thakur, Nodal Coordinator, India-Nepal Centre, PHDCCI, and attended by among others Mr Pranav Poddar, Co-Founder & Director, Syenergy Environics; Mr Kazem Samandari, Serial Entrepreneur; Mr Varinder Singh, Co-Founder, Golden App Pvt Ltd; Mr Aditya Tripathi, Secretary, PHDCCI.
In partnership with the economic diplomacy establishments of both sides, industry associations like CNI and other industry stakeholders, PHDCCI’s Bilateral Economic Think Tank “India-Nepal Centre” has been working as an Apex Industry Chamber of India with a very deep presence in Nepal. Both at policy and grassroots levels, India-Nepal Centre has been working for fostering economic cooperation and development partnership between India and Nepal