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In India, entrepreneurship is at an all-time high

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (R) and Minister of States for Independent Charge Nirmala Sitharaman releasing the Action Plan at the launch of Start-Up India at Vigyan Bhavan on January 16, 2016
Mohd Zakir | Hindustan Times | Getty Images
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (R) and Minister of States for Independent Charge Nirmala Sitharaman releasing the Action Plan at the launch of Start-Up India at Vigyan Bhavan on January 16, 2016

India is witnessing a major growth in entrepreneurship — not because of its X factor but out of the need for its citizens to create their own job. With more than 65 percent of the population under 35 years of age and a record-breaking growth in smartphone adoption and data services across the country, there has been a rising demand for next-generation services with simplified solutions.

While India has been seeing this increasing trajectory of entrepreneurs and new start-ups over the last five years, 2016 has been a major milestone year for all of the key stakeholders in the Indian ecosystem — including government, educational institutions, entrepreneurship support organizations, investors and entrepreneurs — to seek and provide support in sustaining the biggest hurricane of entrepreneurship to date.

All this, as India is set to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016.

Major factors fueling the momentum

The year started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the "Startup India" action plan to provide entrepreneurs with various subsidies, as well as relaxed norms for starting up businesses in India. The government of India's Innovation arm, Niti Aayog — the National Institution for Transforming India — also announced there will be up to $2 million in support for those setting up and modernizing existing start-up incubators across the country — as well as to promote entrepreneurship right at the high school level. We at the Global Entrepreneurship Network also saw a growing demand from entrepreneurs seeking support through mentorship, capital assistance, legal advice and more to ensure the sustainability of their ventures.

It was also a historical moment for India at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Silicon Valley, where President Barack Obama announced India as the next year's destination for the summit, as well as showed interest in participation at the summit.

"With more than 65 percent of the population under 35 years of age and a record-breaking growth in smartphone adoption and data services across the country, there has been a growing demand for next-generation services and simplified solutions."

Global Entrepreneurship Network also announced its official affiliation in India and plans to set up a dedicated office, bringing all key stakeholders together. GEN India made progress in consolidating major ongoing activities by formal nomination from India through the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network, as well as contribution to the Startup Nations Atlas of Policies through Startup Nations.

At Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016, the momentum is strong. Startup Ashoka, organized by GERN partner Ashoka University, saw more than 100 students on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 coming forward to pitch new ideas, showcase their existing start-ups and learn from fellow aspiring student entrepreneurs to make their ideas viable and scalable. We were also honored to have MakeSense community members visiting us from France and the United States that organized a meetup to talk about innovations to fight climate change.

From students and women entrepreneurs to policymakers and investors, we are getting to see everyone celebrate entrepreneurship, share their own entrepreneurial journeys and provide support to keep this momentum going. GEN India is focused and committed in supporting each and every entrepreneur in the country by providing them all sufficient means to take their enterprises to the next level.

Some of the major events during Global Entrepreneurship Week include the Think Big conference, organized by WeConnect India. The conference attracts more than 2,000 women entrepreneurs in Bangalore and is jointly hosted by the government of Karnataka and WeConnect. Think Big will be followed by keynote talks by the U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Verma; Amitabh Kant, the CEO of Niti Aayog; a panel discussion with SlideShare co-founder and current head of India's DigiLocker Project, Amit Ranjan; as well as the voice of women entrepreneur Sairee Chahal, founder and CEO of Sheroes.

With the newly launched Digital India initiative by the government of India, we are seeing a huge increase in tech start-ups and mobile applications. This is due to the adoption of digital practices. To catalyze the same, a digital marketing workshop was organized by Jaarvis Accelerator. The workshop witnessed great participation and enriching discussion on changing trends of digital marketing and upcoming challenges.

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There are more than 85 activities planned so far across India for GEW, from inspirational storytelling to open meetups and co-working days, to large conferences and Startup Weekends involving more than 40 partners. Some of the key partners of Global Entrepreneurship Week include Startup India, Ashoka University, CoworkIn, WeConnect, Jaarvis Accelerator, Baatein, Collab House, Entrepreneur India, Jaipur Startups and more.

With the ongoing momentum and support from fellow entrepreneurs, GEN is hoping to transform the current ecosystem to make it more inclusive, equal and democratic. Become a part of celebration at #GEW2016 and #GEWINDIA and get involved on the road to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016.

Yatin Thakur is the founder of CoworkIn, India's largest co-working network. He currently serves as the managing director of GEN India.