Startups working on SDGs eye $12 trillion economic opportunity: G20 draft note


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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, May 22: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the virtual meeting of BRICS hosted by China last year had floated the idea of the group working for a startup ecosystem. BRICS didn’t take up the idea, but India has taken the initiative to foster cooperation to create an ecosystem for startups among the G20 nations.

The draft version of the G20 India communique on startups, released by the NITI Aayog, has given a scale of the opportunities awaiting the entrepreneurs who work on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), adopted by over 200 nations as part of the declaration of the United Nations. “The potential impact of startups working towards SDGs is enormous, with a $12 trillion economic opportunity and the creation of 380 million jobs by 2030,” underlined the draft communique, which will be open for discussion among the G20 delegates.

The Sustainability Taskforce, the draft stated, has identified two recommendations — increase the pipeline of entrepreneurs focused on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across G20 nations and policy directive to increase awareness about entrepreneurship opportunities in pursuit of SDGs. It also called for identifying and spotlighting key startups/entrepreneurs solving for SDGs and incorporating and encouraging SDGs-driven entrepreneurship for undergraduate and post-graduate educational institutions (including Vocational Training Institutes/Community Colleges/ equivalent).

It may be noted that a UN report has stated that all the nations had lagged in meeting the SDGs, which deal with improving the quality of life, including addressing issues such as poverty, hunger, gender equality, malnutrition, climate change, mitigating pollution, improving access to drinking water, universal access to healthcare, quality education for all and so on.

The NITI Aayog, the principal think tank of the Central government, closely monitors the progress of the states in meeting the milestones for SDGs, and a number of startups have begun working on the listed goals.

“Provide early-stage, high-risk, flexible funding for startups focused on SDGs to innovate and establish themselves; support the scalability of startups focused on SDGs across G20 nations; curate a framework to identify startups focused on SDGs; develop a capital inflow framework for startups focused on SDGs including patient capital and options for longer-term grant/debt/equity; build a supportive ecosystem for startups focused on SDGs through incubation, mentorship, and knowledge exchange; and enable networks for market access and trade opportunities for startups focused on SDGs,” the draft communique stated while listing out the steps needed to enlist the startups in accelerating the meeting of the goals by 2030.

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