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DPIIT Hosts Inaugural ‘ONDC Startup Mahotsav’ to Boost India’s Digital Commerce and Startup Ecosystem


The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) hosted the inaugural ‘ONDC Startup Mahotsav’ on May 17, 2024, at Vanijya Bhawan in New Delhi. This landmark event celebrated the convergence of two key DPIIT initiatives: Startup India and the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).

During the event, DPIIT Secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh emphasized the government’s steadfast commitment to fostering a robust startup ecosystem. “The ONDC Startup Mahotsav marks a pivotal moment for Indian startups, offering them new opportunities through the ONDC. The network has matured significantly over the past 18 months, reflecting our dedication to democratizing digital commerce in India,” Singh stated.

The hybrid event saw participation from around 5,000 startups and 125 key ecosystem stakeholders, including prominent companies like EaseMyTrip, OfBusiness, Winzo, Livspace, GlobalBees, Pristyn Care, Cars24, Physics Wallah, PolicyBazaar, and Zerodha. These entities signed Letters of Intent (LoIs), demonstrating their enthusiasm for collaborating with ONDC.

Joint Secretary Sanjiv highlighted the government’s vision for ongoing collaboration between startups and ONDC, noting that startups are crucial for driving innovation, fostering competition, and enhancing consumer choice. “Today’s commitment from over 125 startups to join the ONDC network underscores the initiative’s growing momentum,” he said.

ONDC MD & CEO T. Koshy described the event as a transformative moment in India’s digital journey, stating, “By promoting collaboration and innovation, we empower startups to revolutionize e-commerce.”

The ONDC Startup Mahotsav represents a unique partnership between ONDC and Startup India. The ONDC platform has onboarded over 500,000 sellers, with more than 70% being small or medium-sized. In April 2024 alone, ONDC facilitated approximately 7.22 million transactions. This collaboration aims to drive holistic growth for both initiatives and unlock new opportunities for scalable expansion.

The event featured insightful panel discussions on topics such as ‘Building a Collaborative Future of Indian E-Commerce,’ ‘ONDC – Startup Success Story,’ and ‘Driving Startup Growth through ONDC.’ Esteemed speakers included Anil Agrawal from the Competition Commission of India, Joint Secretary E. Srinivas, Quality Council of India’s Secretary General Chakravarthy T Kannan, ONDC Advisory Council Member Anjali Bansal, SIDBI’s Sudatta Mandal, EaseMyTrip Co-founder Rikant Pittie, and Winzo Co-founder Paavan Nanda. A masterclass on enabling startups on ONDC was also conducted to mentor startups on effective onboarding and utilization of the platform.

Launched on January 16, 2016, the Startup India initiative supports entrepreneurs and fosters a vibrant startup ecosystem. From about 300 startups in 2016, India now boasts over 130,000 DPIIT-recognized startups, operating across 55 sectors and generating more than 1.3 million jobs.

Launched in 2021, ONDC aims to democratize digital commerce by providing an inclusive platform for all e-commerce players, particularly small businesses. ONDC’s role in strengthening the startup ecosystem underscores the importance of this collaboration in driving self-reliance and market discovery for startups.

The ONDC Startup Mahotsav marks the beginning of a promising collaboration aimed at bolstering the startup ecosystem through innovative reforms and initiatives, positioning ONDC as a cornerstone of India’s digital commerce future.

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