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Fourth edition of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Startup Forum held in New Delhi

SCO meeting (File Photo)

The fourth edition of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Startup Forum was organized here in New Delhi earlier this week. The initiative focused on broadening startup interactions among the SCO Member States, fostering an environment conducive to innovation, promoting job creation, and inspiring young talent to develop innovative solutions.

The plenary session of the forum held on Tuesday witnessed physical participation from SCO Member States including a delegation of SCO startups, nodal agencies for startups at the Member States, senior government officials and diplomats.

Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Rajesh Kumar Singh delivered the keynote address highlighting the role of the Startup ecosystem in boosting the economy of a nation.

Joint Secretary, DPIIT, Sanjiv addressed the delegation about India’s startup journey and initiatives for promoting startups by the government of India.

A showcase opportunity at the SCO Pavilion was provided where over 15 SCO startups showed their products and services.

The showcase provided networking opportunities designed to inspire, educate, and empower these entrepreneurs. In addition, the delegates also attended a workshop conducted by Startup India on ‘Establishing a Seed Fund: A Strategic Approach to Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship’.

The workshop included an interactive session to understand various models of setting up seed funds to support early-stage startups. The workshop provided participants with comprehensive insights into the strategic planning and execution involved in setting up a seed fund.

All Member States agreed to create a Special Working Group for Startups and Innovation (SWG) at the Summit of SCO Heads of State in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022.

Given the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in driving and diversifying an economy, India had proposed this initiative in 2020 to create a new pillar of cooperation between the SCO Member States.

The SWG was created with the vision of fostering collaboration among SCO Member States, to not only benefit the startup ecosystem, but also accelerate regional economic development. In 2023, after multiple rounds of meetings chaired by DPIIT, the Member States decided to approve and adopt the Regulations of the SWG to be permanently chaired by India in SCO.

DPIIT has organised various initiatives for the startup ecosystems. By leading such engagements, India undertook an opportunity to expand the innovation footprint, knitting the whole ecosystem together and inspiring other SCO Member States to take up similar programs.

The startup engagements are organised by India with the objective of empowering the local startup ecosystems in the SCO Member States and providing value to startups through mentoring and enabling access to investor and corporate engagement activities.

Going forward, India will host the second meeting of the SWG in November 2024 and SCO Startup Forum 5.0 in January 2025.