Pre-COVID-19, Initiatives like Make in India, Startup India, MUDRA Scheme, have already nurtured the culture of entrepreneurship in India. Now when the things are getting normal post-COVID-19 and lockdown, it’s time to get back on the track of becoming one of the largest economies in the world. The role of start-ups will be the key to reviving the economy. This year is going to be full of opportunities for an Indian startup ecosystem. With proper planning and implementation, the startups are going to get a good boost. The world is now not the same as we have seen it pre COVID-19. The twist of the digitalization era had opened immersive opportunities for a new or an existing start-up. If the start-ups ever think of a time where they can blossom like a flower, then it’s now. The only thing to keep in mind is grabbing new opportunities and identifying the target customers.
CHANGING CUSTOMERS BEHAVIOUR
COVID-19 may bring some challenges for some start-ups but every challenge is also an opportunity. By identifying the changing needs of the customer and the market behaviour, one can successfully transform the spark into the fire. COVID-19 has brought changes into the life of the consumers. They have changed their behavioural pattern and their priorities are changed. A budding entrepreneur must analyze these changes and identify the current priorities of their target consumers. Even the old start-ups have changed their strategies and mould themselves into the reprioritized customer demands.
COVID-19 has shifted the consumers from offline shops to online stores. From petty items like a pen to big items like a refrigerator, from primary student classes to employed personnel, from ordering food to ordering vegetables, everything has entered into the world of digitalization. Everything can be done by a simple click on your mobile phone rather than going out in the market. Many existing and new start-ups emerged and avails the opportunity and make their entry into the list of most successful start-ups of 2020.
In this pandemic, the most important behavioural changes one can notice is of hygiene consciousness, not only personal hygiene but also hygiene in their immediate environment like public places, offices, hotels, schools, etc. Various innovations are also being done to reduce human contact using automation like robots that will sanitize the cubicles and the rooms, electronic device disinfectant machines, automated water coolers and coffee machines, etc.
To avoid physical contact between a patient and doctor, various entrepreneurs came up with the idea of a virtual platform where the doctors can analyze the patient through video conferencing and thus can reduce the direct contact. So many entrepreneurs have converted the challenge into an opportunity by analyzing the customer behavioural changes and solving the problems of the customers.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR START-UPS IN INDIA
Start-ups are emerging as the key factor in reviving the economy and creating employment opportunities. The government recently bans more than 200 Chinese apps including the popular apps like Tiktok, Cam Scanner, ShareIt and PUBG. This gives an opportunity to a budding entrepreneur to capture the market as these banned apps don’t have many alternatives. Post COVID-19, the customer is inclined towards automation to be it education, shopping, business, entertainment, health care, etc. All these changes are now the “new normal” and this new normal have brought new opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Online delivery based services: One thing that COVID-19 has added to our lifestyle is ‘Social Distancing’. Social distancing is now the new normal. People now desist to gather at the crowdy places like grocery stores, market place or any other market place. Here, the concept of online delivery came to the rescue. They provide a safe and hassle-free delivery service of essential or non-essential items. This sector shows a boom in the market especially the Indian market where the e-commerce industry has got a heavy push among the people.
Education: Upgrading the technology in the educational institution has become the need of the hour. There has been a shift from traditional classes to online classes. There have been a lot of start-ups relating to the education sector like Whitehat Jr. and various old start-ups like Unacademy which have received a good push from this pandemic. Virtual classes have become very popular due to various innovative start-ups like Byjus, Vedantu, Zoom and many more. The online course has also received applause from the people as it helps people to gain knowledge by sitting at your house. People are looking for an alternative to conventional teaching & leaning. This proves to be a good sector for the entrepreneur to start with.
Entertainment: Entertainment industry was hugely affected by this pandemic. Due to the bans and restriction which are placed on the movie theatres or any other amusement activity, people started finding an alternative for the time being everything is normal, the OTT platform comes to the rescue. Through OTT, one can enjoy seamless entertainment at the comfort of their house. Some OTT platforms include Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+Hotstar.
Healthcare Sector: One thing which this pandemic has helped the people to realize is leading a healthy life without any distress. There has been a lot of innovation in this sector. With people becoming more concern about health, there have been apps and devices which will monitor your health continuously including your real-time oxygen levels, your pulse rate, etc. Several entrepreneurs are coming with the products which have been the ability to boost your immunity.
Online Payment platforms: Cash payment is deeply embedded into the roots of the Indian economy. However, there has been a major shift of the consumers from the cash to cashless payments in India. Even the companies didn’t hesitate to grab this opportunity by providing fascinating discounts and lauded advertisements.
STEPS TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT TO BOOST START-UPS POST COVID-19
Startup Assistance Scheme: Pandemic has created a lot of economic difficulties for the start-ups. This initiative by SIDBI will help budding entrepreneurs to fulfil their working capital requirements and perform the function for the future growth of their start-ups. SIDBI will identify those startup which has the capability to work in the current scenario and will ensure the working capital requirement in the start-up like salary, wages, rent, etc.
Start-up India seed fund: To help budding entrepreneurs and to support start-ups, PM Narendra Modi has announced the launch of 1000 crores “Start-up India seed fund” to provide the initial capital to the innovative start-ups. This fund will help the new start-ups in settling their business and promoting their start-up.
MCA eases deposit rules for convertible bonds: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs announces to give a relaxation of an additional 5 more years for repayment of deposits of 25 lakh or above through convertible notes. This step is taken to help start-ups without complying with the rules and regulations relating to the depository. This step is applauded by various entrepreneurs and their stakeholder who were unable to meet their repayment obligations.
Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme: The central government has announced the ECLGS to provide financial assistance for MSME and start-ups whose day to day work have been impacted due to COVID-19. Under this Scheme, the 100% money guarantee was given by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company so that the bank can provide collateral-free loans to MSME’s and start-ups.
Start-up ecosystem has started to adopt this new normal. Now it’s time for the budding entrepreneur to open their horizon of ideas and identify the new needs of the consumers. It’s time for them to show their resilience and think something creative and out of the box. Innovation in the food industry, e-commerce, online education, health sector, entertainment sector is some of the sectors where you can find a plethora of opportunities. The viewpoint of the market is now changing and the element of technology has been added into the market and has opened immersive opportunities for the start-ups. In sum, remember that this economic instability will not last for a very long time, use the positive opportunities that this pandemic has brought. If you are thinking to start a new startup then it’s the right time. Use market insights and find the target audience for your product.
About Authors – This article has been authored by Aayush Akar & Apoorv Bansal. Aayush Akar, third-year law student pursuing BA.LLB(Hons) from National Law University Odisha. Apoorv Bansal is a third-year law student of Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University Pune.
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