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Why Saudi Arabia is excited about India’s unique train journey showcasing startup ecosystem

Jagriti Startup G20 Yatra catches global attention

The ongoing two-week Jagriti Startup G20 Yatra 2023, a unique initiative, which is now entering its last leg, has particularly caught the attention of investors from Saudi Arabia. The yatra, marking an 8000 km train journey across India in an effort to take the G20 Delhi Declaration forward before passing on the baton to Brazil later this month, is expected to foster entrepreneurship spirit in the smaller towns of the country.

The initiative has hit headlines especially in Saudi Arabia with the Kingdom’s focus on Vision 2030. Among other things, the thrust of the Vision 2030 is to promote startups – both domestic and foreign. India now has the third largest startup ecosystem in the world.

In fact, Saudi Arabia’s startup incubator HealthGena, the co-organiser of the journey that kicked off on October 28 from Mumbai, is hoping for greater collaboration with the Indian startup ecosystem.

Alaa Hanifah, Project Manager, HealthGena told Arab News that the initiative provided a unique opportunity to strengthen relations with Indian entrepreneurs and look for potential business ventures, partnerships, and investment opportunities in India’s technology, sustainable development, and e-commerce industries.

“My expectations from this journey are to gain insights into different business models, learn from the experiences of other entrepreneurs, and potentially discover new opportunities for partnerships or investments,” Hanifah said.

India and Saudi Arabia are now forging partnerships in new areas with an aim to boost economic engagements, trade and connectivity. The two nations recently launched the Startup Bridge programme, a platform that will serve as a hub for resources and knowledge knowhow for entrepreneurs of both countries.

The train journey, sources said, will end on a high, providing a platform for Indian startups to showcase their strengths with unique onboard pitch sessions, informal meetings, discussions and workshops. The journey will also provide Indian startups an opportunity for cross-border collaboration.

There are about 500 people on board. This includes about 60 delegates from G20 countries and besides Indian participants who were part of the Startup20 engagement group that was part of the G20 frame under India’s presidency are part of the Jagriti StartUp G20 Yatra.

Cities including Bangalore, Varanasi, Vizag, Deoria, Delhi and Ahmedabad among others are part of the Jagriti Startup G20 Yatra route. Each location has been carefully chosen to showcase India’s vibrant entrepreneurial landscape and cultural diversity, a government release said earlier.

Sectors such as tourism, healthcare, education, agriculture, and energy have been identified for the startup ecosystem in India.

Startups have been in focus for the Narendra Modi government. In 2016 Prime Minister Modi launched the Startup India Initiative. In January, speaking at the inaugural session of the Inception Meeting of the Startup 20 Engagement Group of the G20 in Hyderabad, Union Minister Piyush Goyal underlined the need for the world to join hands in supporting the startup ecosystem and facilitate incubation of startups across the globe. He said that the global startup ecosystem must be inclusive, supportive and sustainable to address global challenges.

Also read: India-Saudi Arabia add food security, pharma to fire growing ties