The Ministry of Commerce and Industry recently hosted the 4th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Startup Forum on March 19, 2024, in New Delhi. This forum aimed to enhance collaboration and innovation among startups within the SCO Member States, fostering an environment conducive to creativity, job creation, and the development of innovative solutions.

The plenary session of the forum saw active participation from SCO Member States, including delegations from SCO startups, nodal agencies for startups in Member States, senior government officials, and diplomats. Shri Rajesh Kumar Singh, Secretary of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, delivered the keynote address, emphasizing the pivotal role of the startup ecosystem in bolstering a nation’s economy. Shri Sanjiv, Joint Secretary of DPIIT, also shared insights into India’s startup journey and governmental initiatives to support startups.

The SCO Pavilion provided a platform for over 15 SCO startups to showcase their products and services, facilitating networking opportunities and knowledge exchange. Additionally, a workshop conducted by Startup India focused on “Establishing a Seed Fund: A Strategic Approach to Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” offering participants valuable insights into setting up seed funds to support early-stage startups.

Recognizing the significance of innovation and entrepreneurship in economic diversification, all Member States agreed to establish a Special Working Group for Startups and Innovation (SWG) during the SCO Heads of State Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 16, 2022. India proposed this initiative in 2020 to enhance cooperation among SCO Member States in fostering innovation and accelerating regional economic development. After multiple meetings chaired by DPIIT, the Member States approved and adopted the Regulations of the SWG, with India assuming the permanent chairmanship.

India has organized various initiatives to empower local startup ecosystems within the SCO Member States, including mentorship programs, facilitating access to investors, and corporate engagement activities. By hosting the second meeting of the SWG in November 2024 and the SCO Startup Forum 5.0 in January 2025, India aims to further strengthen collaboration and innovation within the SCO startup ecosystem.

Previously, Startup India organized several initiatives for SCO Member States, including the SCO Startup Forums 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, along with focused mentorship programs and the inaugural meeting of the SWG. These efforts have laid a solid foundation for multilateral cooperation and engagement among startups within the SCO.

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