In a bid to support and accelerate the success of tech start-ups across India, S. Krishnan, secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), launched the LEAP AHEAD initiative, a joint collaboration between Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and the Indus entrepreneurs (TiE) Delhi-NCR, at the LEAP AHEAD summit.

This initiative will be a game-changer for tech start-ups that are in the scaling stage, growth stage, product diversification or planning expansion into new geographical locations. They can benefit through funding support of up to Rs 10 million and a comprehensive three-month mentorship program that combines virtual and in-person sessions for a well-rounded learning experience. Furthermore, the initiative will provide start-ups with access to an extensive network and personalised guidance through one-on-one mentorship sessions with seasoned investors and industry experts.

The summit witnessed the presence of Arvind Kumar, director general (DG), STPI; Sushil Pal, joint secretary, MeitY; Dr. Saurabh  Vastava, chairman Emeritus, TiE Delhi-NCR and co-founder, Indian Angel Network; Alok Mittal, co-founder, Indifi Technologies and president, TiE Delhi-NCR; Ashok Singh, executive vice president, investor relations, Mumbai Angels; Prem Bharthasarathy, managing partner, Pontaq Ventures India LLP, Devesh Tyagi, senior director, STPI;   Subodh Sachan, director, innovation and startups, STPI and Manjusha Chourasia, scientist ‘E’, MeitY.

Commenting on the launch, S Krishnan, secretary, MeitY, said, “This LEAP AHEAD initiative is very timely in terms of emphasising the opportunities that lie for entrepreneurship in India. Today, India is no longer known as a business process outsourcing (BPO) destination, it has evolved into a global capability centre and R&D centre. India stands as a leader in digital public infrastructure and this can now be used in multiple ways by entrepreneurs to build successful enterprises. Youth in smaller cities have the hunger to do and achieve more. That is the fire in the belly we need to build on. We would like to also see more women and people from tier 2/3 cities coming as entrepreneurs.”

Meanwhile, Arvind Kumar, DG, STPI said, ”With this initiative, technology start-ups will gain entry into the market, experience rapid growth and diversify into new horizons. This program is focused mainly on two things – mentorship and co-investment. Besides Delhi, the LEAP AHEAD Startup Summit is also planned to be held in Bhubaneswar, Vijayawada, and Chandigarh.”

Further, Dr. Saurabh  Vastava, chairman, Emeritus, TiE Delhi-NCR, said, “Through the collaboration with STPI, TiE Delhi-NCR is not only providing funding but also providing mentoring and market access. These are people who build successful companies and know the mistakes they have made. We will help these companies to scale and grow.”

The initiative will enable start-ups to establish a product market fit, identify customer segments, grow hacking strategies, business compliance, leadership recruitment, and fundraising. With a strong focus on nurturing start-ups and fostering entrepreneurial brilliance, this event represented the first step in an exciting journey that will extend the LEAP AHEAD Accelerator Program to cities like Vijayawada, Chandigarh, and Bhubaneswar.

The launch was followed by three pivotal panel discussions on Path to a Product Oriented Nation, Accelerating Innovation, and Funding Insights: Navigating the Investment Landscape. Esteemed panelists from the industry shared insights with young entrepreneurs in the audience. The event also served as a platform for invaluable networking, connecting entrepreneurs with peers, potential investors, and influential thought leaders within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

A knowledge report on “From Startup to Scale Up: The Role of Digital India and Opportunities Ahead” was unveiled during the event. The report is a comprehensive resource that showcases success stories of startups that have harnessed the potential of Digital India to create innovative solutions that address societal challenges, while also driving economic growth and job creation. The event also saw seven memorandum of understanding (MoUs) exchanged between STPINext and ecosystem enablers, felicitation of build for Bharat internet of things (IoT) challenge winners, and 20 start=ups cumulatively received Rs 61 million from NEXTGen Technology Fund1, the fund established under next generation incubation scheme (NGIS) scheme with STPINEXT as anchor investor and other investors.