A recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says that global trade in goods has hit an all-time quarterly high of $5.6 trillion in Q3 of 2021, and overall global trade is projected to hit $28 trillion in FY 2021, which is 24% growth from 2020.

Amitabh Kant CEO Niti AAyog
Photo by Ishan Saxena

India’s economic recovery and long term sustained growth lies in focusing on capturing export markets, and the Amazon Global Selling Propel Accelerator program is a step in that direction as it is aimed at boosting exports and creating global brands from India.

At the launch of the second season of the Propel Accelerator, Amitabh Kant – CEO, Niti Aayog – gave a keynote address where he spoke of India’s thriving startup ecosystem and how when integrated into exports it can be a potential game changer for India.

Below are some edited excerpts from his address.

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Good morning, everyone, and I hope all you are keeping well and safe.

It gives me great pleasure to be at this event today, where I am seeing an amalgamation of two of India’s critical priorities – exports and startups. In order to become an exports champion and the technology hub of the world, our ability to add to our vibrant startup ecosystem and allow them to get integrated into the global value chains holds immense potential. India is at the cusp of a digital revolution right now. Although COVID-19 has disrupted business in a big way, it has also provided an opportunity to maximize the use of technology. We are witnessing a technological leapfrogging right now.

This is a very opportunistic moment for India because global supply trade chains are undergoing a massive restructuring and there has never been a better time for Indian businesses, MSMEs and startups to get deeply integrated into evolving global supply chains. I am a firm believer that if India has to grow, we have to look at global markets and become a key exporting nation by not only leveraging the existing physical infrastructure but also focusing on cross border e-commerce and process digitization. India has grown at rapid rates when exports have grown.

“I am a firm believer that if India has to grow, we have to look at global markets and become a key exporting nation by not only leveraging the existing physical infrastructure but also focusing on cross border e-commerce and process digitization. ”

Getting our startups integrated into exports can be a potential game changer for India. I always encourage Indian companies to think big and produce at global scale in order to penetrate new markets. What you get from the export market is far more than what’s available in the domestic markets. Use the strength of the latter to penetrate global markets and if you are at the right size and scale, then your cost of production will fall. And if you can think about a global expansion strategy in the early days of your business itself, then nothing can stop you from becoming highly competitive in global markets.

India’s startup ecosystem is one of the richest and thriving ecosystems in the world right now. In 2021, we have added 3-4 unicorns every month and are now the third largest startup ecosystem in the world with 67,000 startups and 83 unicorns! Our startups have broken all records with $38 billion in investment flowing into Indian startups in 2021. This is over three times more than $11.1 billion in total funding that startups received during 2020.

So many of our startups are making a debut in global markets and this is just the start. I believe this is a sign of the times to come. We will Make in India, and Make for the World. We will Innovate in India, and Innovate for the World.

Startups are about innovation, and innovation comes out best when you are challenged. I want our young startups to challenge themselves right from the start to think of building globally successful brands. When they think about their captive markets, our startups should think about captive markets across the world. That is the vision of a New India, that is how our self-reliance initiative fits in the larger global picture.

“I must congratulate Amazon for putting together such a unique accelerator program that will focus on enabling Indian startups to become strong global brands. ”

Therefore, I must congratulate Amazon for putting together such a unique accelerator program that will focus on enabling Indian startups to become strong global brands. Today, Amazon is launching the second season of its Global Selling Propel Accelerator program, through which hundreds of startups will get support and mentorship from top VCs, industry experts, and veterans from across the world.

Our startups should benchmark themselves against the world’s best, and strive to become better than the world’s best. I am sure that with the guidance and resources that Amazon and VC partners like Sequoia Capital, Fireside Ventures, Accel Partners, and DSG Consumer will provide as part of the Propel Accelerator program, a lot of startups will be able to identify global opportunities and leap ahead using cutting edge technology.

Let us Make in India, and Make for the World. This is what our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has also said. Our objective should be to penetrate global markets. Think of size and scale!

Thank you, and I wish you all the very best.