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“印度创业”成绩平平,有些创企甚至不知自己上榜

互联网经济国际资讯监管与政策

“印度创业”成绩平平,有些创企甚至不知自己上榜

2016年1月,印度总理莫迪宣布推出一项名为“印度初创企业行动计划”(Startup India Action Plan)的政府倡议。据悉,本次倡议将为印度创企带来多项帮扶措施,比如税收减免、快捷文件处理、融资和其他合作计划等。

据统计,印度目前共有2万多家创业企业,而这次印度政府的这个创业计划本该为正在崛起的印度创业市场带来巨大的发展动力。然而计划推出两年之后,仅有少数企业获得了帮扶,而且基本也局限于宣传和关系网络方面。一句话来说,印度政府计划现在看来真的是有点雷声大雨点小的意思。

针对目前该计划的发展状况,Quartz与多家印度创企、投资方和业界专家进行了对话,希望借此帮助大家厘清项目推出至今所带来的改变。

身在福中不知福

印度初创企业中心(Startup India Hub)网站"体系"下列出了3800余家企业。经Quartz联系,某些企业甚至不知自家公司位列其中。

其中一些来自金奈、班加罗尔和新德里的企业表示,其虽知晓印度初创企业项目,但并不确切知道注册该项目带来的好处。

LoanTap是一家向有薪人士提供贷款的在线平台,注册了印度初创企业计划(Startup India)项目。该公司联合创始人Vikas Kumar表示:"假如说我与100家创企交谈,可能只有五家知道什么是印度初创企业计划(Startup India)。就算它们大概听过这一项目,也并不完全理解。公众对该项目的了解仍然很少。

社区化社交网络网站LocalCircles近期进行的调查也显示了相似的结果。

成立九月的数字媒体应用Clip App联合创始人Nav Agarwal表示:"我(在这个项目发布会上)感受到了一些发展动力,除此之外好像也没什么了。"

不过,的确有不少创企注册了这个项目。在线技术学习平台Guvi就是其中之一,然而其创始人Arun Prakash也表示,项目自启动之后基本没有什么进展。

电商市场GoCoop也在网站名单之列,其创始人Siva Devireddy说道:"我们受邀参加Startup India计划,仅此而已。"

同时,早起投资企业India Quotient联合创始人Madhukar Sinha表示,许多够格享受项目裨益的企业却因繁冗的程序不在名单之内。

此外,专家认为,所承诺的税收减免与孵化支持仍未转化为现实。

税收优惠或政府设立的1000亿卢比(约15亿美元)创企基金(Fund of Funds for Startups,FFS)均未能打动企业。印度工商业国务大臣CR Chaudhary于2017年12月18日在给人民院的书面回应中写道,1000亿卢比中仅有10%的资金被发放至75家企业,每家企业收到337020卢比。

1月16日,印度产业政策与促进司(Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion)表示其计划为FFS注入更多资金,使总投资额达220亿卢比(3.46亿美元)。

总之,在资金方面,项目帮助的企业只是少数。

幸运的少数

然而,某些企业则"中了大奖",并对项目赞不绝口。这些企业对目前收获的宣传与关系裨益激动不已。

节能吊扇创企Atomberg Technology创始人Manoj Meena表示:"我们因此与产业政策与促进司搭对了线,它们会帮助我们推广产品。"

Meena称,售卖电子产品需从政府机构出获取几项证书,连入项目网帮助加快了这一程序。Atomberg还被指派了一名来自Startup India团队的顾问,可随时就政府项目为其提供建议。

LoanTap的Kumar表示,不仅企业获得的合作机会有所增多,成为Startup India成员还增加了企业的可信度,资本对待企业的态度和方式也与之前完全不同。

提升空间

尽管政府雄心勃勃,如想要为体系引入更多资金、纳入女性企业家,仍有许多难题需要解决。

首先,需更加提升项目知名度。Clip App的Agarwal说道:"我们不知道科技创企是否合格(入选该项目),还是说项目只真对实业创企。"

此外,目前的益处仅适用于已盈利企业。

医疗保健创企Care24注册了该项目,其创始人Vipin Pathak说道:"许多孵化项目都应成型。”

许多人起初都有着绝佳的想法,但因缺少资金而放弃。如果能从孵化中心获得即便是最小额的支持,也会有所帮助。

企业希望获得透明的地方也是税收。项目启动时,莫迪承诺就创企投资高于市价,即买方愿对创企所投资的金额。但仍存在某些疑问。

Kumar说道:"所有人都知道这是个难题,每个创企都面临同样的问题,因为所有的投资都高于市价。所以,即便政府什么都不做,但解决了这一问题,也大快人心。政府应更加严肃地处理这一问题。"

India is home to over 20,000 startups, but few are even aware of the benefits of the government’s ambitious Startup India programme.

On Jan. 16, 2016, Narendra Modi launched the Startup India Action Plan amid much fanfare. Addressing an audience of over 1,500 entrepreneurs and investors on that day, the prime minister announced a gamut of benefits for startups ranging from tax exemptions and faster processing of documents to funding and mentorship.

The initiative was touted to be a game-changer in the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem. But it didn’t seem to stir much except the wind.

Two years on, only a handful of entrepreneurs have actually benefited. Even to those whom the initiative has been helpful, it’s been largely limited to getting publicity and networking.

Quartz spoke to over a dozen startups, investors, and industry experts to see what has changed since.

Blissfully ignorant

The Startup India Hub website lists over 3,800 firms under its “ecosystem.” Some of those whom Quartz reached out to were surprised they were on the list.

Several entrepreneurs from Chennai, Bengaluru, and New Delhi, while aware of Startup India, said they “don’t really know much about the benefits” of registering for it.

“If I talk to, say, 100 startups, only five will be aware of what (the) Startup India initiative is. While they’ve vaguely heard of it, they’ve not really understood it. At the street level the knowledge is still low,” Vikas Kumar, co-founder of LoanTap, an online platform that provides loans to salaried individuals, told Quartz. LoanTap is registered with Startup India.

A recent survey by community-based social networking site LocalCircles reflects a similar sentiment.

“The kind of motivation I got (from the Startup India launch event)…that’s the only thing I’ve received,” Nav Agarwal, co-founder of Clip App, a nine-month-old digital media app, said.

Many startups, however, did register. For instance, there is the online technical learning platform, Guvi, which joined the herd. But its founder Arun Prakash says there’s been no movement in the programme since then.

“We were invited to the launch of (the) Startup India programme and that’s about it,” said Siva Devireddy, founder of e-commerce marketplace GoCoop, which, too, figures on the Startup India Hub website.

Meanwhile, many firms that qualify for the benefits have stayed away, thanks to the cumbersome process, said Madhukar Sinha, co-founder of early-stage investment firm India Quotient.

Moreover, promises of tax exemptions or incubation support have not yet translated into reality, experts believe.

The tax benefits or the Rs10,000 crore (approximately $1.5 billion) Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) set up by the government have not enthused many either. A mere 10% of the Rs10,000 crore has been disbursed so far, out of which some “75 startups have received funding to the tune of Rs. 337.02 crore,” CR Chaudhary, minister of state for commerce and industry, stated in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha on Dec. 18, 2017.

On Jan. 16, the department of industrial promotion and policy (DIPP) said it intends to plow more money into the FFS, bringing the total investment amount up to Rs2,200 crore ($346 million).

Overall, the initiative has been of help to few in terms of funding.

The lucky few

However, some hit the jackpot—and can’t stop raving about it. They are excited more about the publicity and networking benefits they have got till now.

“We get to connect with the right person in the department (DIPP), and also they help you in promoting your product,” said Manoj Meena, the founder of Atomberg Technology, a startup that makes energy-efficient ceiling fans.

The company sells electrical equipment that requires several certifications from government agencies, and being part of the network has helped it hasten that process, he said. Atomberg is also assigned an advisor from the Startup India team who they can tap any time for advice on government schemes.

“There’s been much more handholding,” Kumar of LoanTap said.

Being a Startup India member has also given companies credibility. “I see a distinct difference in the way funds are now behaving with us than (how) they used to behave earlier,” Kumar said.

Scope for improvement

While the government has ambitious plans, including bringing in more money and women entrepreneurs into the ecosystem, it needs to iron out a lot of kinks.

For starters, there’s the need to create more awareness about the programme. “We don’t know if tech-based startups qualify (for the benefits) or if it is only for hardware startups,” Agarwal of Clip App said.

Besides, the current benefits are applicable only for companies that are already making money.

“A lot of incubation has to happen. A lot of people initially have fantastic ideas but they drop the idea because of a lack of even very small amounts of capital. If one gets the smallest of support through incubation centres, that would help,” Vipin Pathak, founder of healthcare startup Care24, registered under Startup India, said.

One aspect that entrepreneurs seek clarity on is taxation. During the launch, Modi had promised exemptions on investments above fair market value, which is the estimated market value that a buyer will be willing to pay for a startup. But confusion remains.

“Everybody knows it is a thorny issue and every startup has the same problem because every investment is above fair market value,” Kumar of LoanTap said. “So even if the government did nothing, and sorted this issue out, it would be amazing. This particular issue the government should have taken much more seriously than they have.”


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