NEW DELHI: Startups are playing a pivotal role in India’s journey towards becoming a developed nation by 2047, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday as official data indicated that the total number of unicorns in India has risen to 112 with a valuation worth $350.71 billion.

Union minister Piyush Goyal released the State Startup Ranking that is enhancing the spirit of competitive & cooperative federalism, enabling startups to prosper (X/PiyushGoyal)

Significant progress has been made in the startup sector over the last eight years, he said. “What was once a novelty has now become an integral part of the national mainstream,” he added in his address at the startup State Ranking Awards (SRF) function in New Delhi.

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A group of four states – Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu – emerged as best performers in the ‘category A’ states with a population of over 10 million. Himachal Pradesh emerged as the best performer in the SRF 2022 awards under ‘category B’ states with a population of less than 10 million.

According to data compiled by the commerce and industry ministry till December 31, 2023, the total number of registered startups in India rose from 400 in 2016 to 1,17,254 across 57 industry segments. 48% of them have at least one woman director.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Startup India initiative on January 16, 2016, to build a strong startup ecosystem.

Recognised startups have reported the creation of over 1.24 million jobs and 50% of them are from Tier II and Tier III cities, the data said. India is the third largest unicorn nation in the world, with 112 entities in the category having a combined valuation of over $350.71 billion. The ecosystem includes 21 female founders in 19 unicorns. The top five unicorn segments are e-commerce and fintech; enterprise tech; consumer services; media and entertainment, and EdTech; and logistics.

At Tuesday’s function, Goyal said startups are making substantial contributions in various sectors such as medtech, fintech, agrotech, drones, and simulators. He identified tourism as a sector with untapped potential and encouraged potential entrepreneurs to explore innovative ideas around sustainable tourism.

Goyal expressed confidence in the entrepreneurial spirit of both the young and old, and urged them to contribute their unique perspectives and ideas to the startup ecosystem. Age should not be a barrier to engaging with new ideas and fostering innovation, he said. He urged individuals, regardless of age, to actively participate in the startup ecosystem, emphasizing that every person has the potential to contribute to the growth of India.

Expressing appreciation for achievements in sectors such as millet and food processing, Goyal asked startups to focus on new areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and encouraged them to come up with ideas that make life easier and revolutionise existing ways of working.

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