The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), in collaboration with StartUp India and Digital India, held the two-day StartUP Sphere event on June 2023, respectively, at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai. The goal is to raise awareness, foster ideas, facilitate capacity building, and give support in expanding India’s startup ecosystem.

StartUP SPhere is a programme that brings together the startup community, partners, unicorns, influencers, founders, investors, leaders, and entrepreneurs to discuss a variety of startup-related subjects. The StartUP SPhere programme offers companies a one-of-a-kind opportunity to network with peers, industry experts, and investors, as well as receive insights into the newest trends and developments in the startup ecosystem.

Government support for startups, alternative sources of funding such as revenue financing, debt and hedging, new avenues in startups, the art and science of startup valuation, term sheets, shareholders agreements, legal documents, and key clauses were among the key themes covered in the programme. A panel discussion on the issue of investors-investing in people vs investing in ideas, startup governance, and tax and regulatory incentives for “eligible startups” was also held.

The programme also included sessions on exploiting digital marketing for startups, CBDC potential and hazards, prospects in the realm of Web 3.0, and a startup lecture titled “My Journey” featuring successful startup founders. Among the other topics discussed during the event were the future of finance, Indian companies on the global stage, data privacy, and India’s data economy. The event also included a startup expo, a startup ramp, a programme on Maharashtra industrial policy, a company pitching programme, an investor meet, and other activities.

Setting the Stage for Innovation: President of ICAI, CA. Aniket Sunil Talati, Vice President, and CA. Ranjeet Kumar Agarwal, extended a warm welcome to Hon’ble Minister of Industries, Shri Uday Samant, at the StartUp Sphere Event.

The Chief Guest during the launch of the ICAI StartUp Sphere 2023 programme was Shri Uday Samant, Hon’ble Minister for Industries, Government of Maharashtra. On this occasion, he praised ICAI endeavours to assist and develop capacity-building measures for the expansion of MSMEs and start-ups.

“It is a good opportunity for Startups to come together on one platform and share their ideas,” he added. I am overjoyed that it is occurring in Mumbai and has given the state the opportunity to investigate this subject.”

The event featured panel discussions and thought-provoking workshops on a variety of themes, including the Governmental Eco System for Startups, New Avenues in Startups, the Art and Science of Startup Valuation, and others. A bustling startup show area featured cutting-edge innovations, products, and services from numerous industries. The StartUP Sphere also featured a startup ramp, a programme on Maharashtra industrial policy, a business pitching programme, an investor meet, and many more activities.

On this occasion CA. Aniket Sunil Talati, President, ICAI said “ICAI has been actively involved in promoting and supporting startups, recognizing their importance in driving innovation, economic growth and job creation. ICAI Startup Sphere event aims to support and foster the growth of startups, thereby contributing to the development of a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.”

During the inaugural session today, CA. Ranjeet Kumar Agarwal, Vice-President, ICAI said, “Start-ups are centres of novel innovations, they generate jobs, which implies more career opportunities; more employment leads to a stronger economy, and a healthier economy has a direct bearing on the growth of cities where startups locate. StartUp Sphere program provides a unique opportunity for startups to connect with peers, industry experts and investors, and to gain insights into the latest trends and innovations in the startup ecosystem.”

MoUs were inked with the Government of Tamil Nadu, IIM Lucknow Enterprise Incubation Centre, and Gujarat Student Startup & Innovation Hub (i-Hub) to create an enabling environment fostering entrepreneurship, startups, and SMEs. MoUs were also inked for capacity building with NIRD & Panchayati Raj, SCOPE, and the Government of Tamil Nadu’s Commissioner of Treasuries and Accounts.  ICAI had previously developed many programmes such as Startup Manthan, ICAI Startup Samvad, startup site (https://startup.icai.org/), startup incubation centres, startup certificate course, startup masterclass, and so on.

Further CA. Dhiraj Khandelwal, Chairman, Committee on MSME & Start-up added “I invite all the aspiring entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators to StartUp Sphere. Engage in thought-provoking panel discussions led by industry experts and immerse yourself in interactive workshops. Chartered Accountants are leading the accounting, auditing and taxation roles, witness a significant shift in their role and now making their mark in the dynamic world of start-ups. Be part of this exclusive celebration of talent, passion, and groundbreaking ideas under one roof.”

Aniket Sunil Talati, President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), spoke about the Campus Placement Programme, which is hosted twice a year and provides a forum for both newly qualified Chartered Accountants (NQCAs) and organisations wishing to employ the finest possible talent to fill their Human Resource requirements. He said “This programme, being a one stop solution, offers a unique opportunity for employers to interact with the NQCAs, peruse the particulars of a huge pool of promising professionals and recruit the suitable one(s) who is found to be better than the best.”

Opening remarks by CA. Mangesh Kinare – Central Council Member and session was moderated by CA. Piyush Chhajed – Central Council Member, in the engaging fireside chat with the humble and soft spoken Mr. Nithin Kamath, Founder & CEO of Zerodha, shared his incredible experience and revealed the secrets to his startup’s success. He talked about his company’s work culture, the principles they follow, how they treat their employees, and so on. If you want to be successful, you must adhere to certain ideals. Kamath mentioned that his motivation for founding Zerodha was his frustration with existing brokerage services. Kamath underlined that startups significantly contribute to nation building and the expansion of the startup ecosystem by creating job opportunities and economic prosperity.

Kamath emphasized the problems that Zerodha experienced when establishing it, such as regulatory constraints and the requirement for funding, and how they overcame them by taking a creative approach and finding solutions that resonated with the company’s goal. Nithin attributes his achievement to chance, saying, “I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.”  And, without a doubt, the chances of becoming lucky rises with effort and hard work. Always think about the consumer with his view and believe always give value, you will establish a lasting business, which is what you should strive for. Health is extremely essential, and it should not be taken lightly.

His main piece of advise to new entrepreneurs was to stay focused, create a long-term company plan, and surround oneself with a solid team. Kamath stressed the significance of strategic planning, using technology, and giving value to consumers when it comes to disrupting the brokerage market. Kamath fosters and supports innovation both inside the organisation and throughout the startup community. Through numerous initiatives, the organisation actively supports an innovative culture and engages with entrepreneurs.

The enlightening session on “Opportunities for Chartered Accountants in the startup ecosystem” concluded, featuring CA. Mudit G Bhansali, a respected mentor for startups. Attendees acquired great insights into the many roles and possibilities available to chartered accountants in the changing startup ecosystem. The experience and direction of CA. Mudit G Bhansali gave a plethora of information, helping prospective CAs to prosper in the startup ecosystem.

A chartered accountant has the knowledge to look at the entire startup strategy in depth and the CA’s knowledge and expertise enables them to give advice to any type of business in any sectors at various phases of its growth path.

The engaging panel discussion on “CBDC and its impact on the Global economy” concluded. Moderated by Mr. Prasanna Lohar, industry experts, including Mr. Ajay Rajan (Yes Bank), Mr. Gaurav Mehta (Catax-Simple Crypto Taxes), and Mr. Kamlesh Nagware (Snapper Future Tech), shared valuable insights.  Attendees gained a deeper understanding of CBDC’s potential implications for the global economy.

Over 130 central banks representing 98 percent of global GDP have launched programmes to establish central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) by the end of 2023. It is realistic to predict that many of those nations will have issued CBDCs in wholesale or retail formats over the next five to seven years. Policymakers swiftly went beyond proof of concept in 2023, producing pilots in a variety of jurisdictions.

The Eurozone, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Singapore, China, and numerous emerging nations are now at the forefront of CBDC development and testing. The absence of the United States is notable.

The dwindling usage of cash, along with the possibility for new forms of money to play a larger role outside of the regulated banking system, has prompted proposals for the introduction of a digital version of cash, known as central bank digital currency (CBDC).

CBDC is intended to be used in place of cash to create a more efficient and secure payment mechanism. It may also be used to carry out monetary policy since it gives the central bank greater control over the money supply.

One of the primary benefits of CBDCs is their ability to speed financial transactions. CBDCs have the potential to improve the efficiency of monetary transactions by removing middlemen, lowering transaction costs, and boosting transaction speed. Furthermore, the use of CBDCs has the potential to promote financial inclusion by offering those who do not have access to traditional banking services with a safe and convenient way to participate in the financial system.

CBDCs have the ability to change the global commerce and cross-border transaction scene. Because digital currencies are immediate, they may reduce the delays and complexity connected with international money transactions. As a result, there may be more global economic cooperation and commerce, as well as less reliance on existing financial institutions for cross-border transactions.

The dynamic panel discussion on the “Power of Women Founders” concluded successfully. Moderated by CA. Prachi Jain, the panelists including CA. Deena Jacob, Ms. Sushma Kaushik, and CA. Nupur Garg shared valuable insights on the remarkable achievements and contributions of women founders in the startup ecosystem.

Throughout their entrepreneurial endeavours, the women panelists displayed tremendous intelligence and tenacity. Their cornerstones of success were perseverance and dedication in conquering obstacles.
The panelists were torchbearers who encouraged and motivated future generations of ambitious female entrepreneurs, as well as being a source of inspiration for others to achieve their aspirations.

The barriers and prejudices that female entrepreneurs frequently confront, and campaigned for programmes and regulations that encourage inclusion and level the playing field, with active attempts to effect change in the entrepreneurial environment.

With their tenacious spirit and infinite potential, the women founders demonstrated the perseverance, determination, and skills of women in entrepreneurship.

Girish Bajaj’s input – Women are now 80 percent more likely than males to be entrepreneurs globally, up from less than 66 percent in 2002. As encouraging as these figures are, they do not convey the whole story. Venture capital funding, in particular, continues to favour male entrepreneurs. Female entrepreneurship have the capacity to change the world.

Through entrepreneurship, women all across the world support economies and innovation. Over 250 million women are entrepreneurs, with another 150 million running established firms. Financial and non-financial investments in women are critical to expanding the pipeline globally. According to research, investing in women entrepreneurs reduces global poverty, improves children’s lives, and increases creativity and innovation.

As per CITI report, In aggregate, our analysis finds that closing the gender gap in business growth globally could add up to $2.3 trillion to GDP and up to 433 million jobs on a conservative estimate of the substitution effect in the labor market. In addition to simple gains in economic growth and output, women’s economic empowerment also drives much wider social and economic multiplier benefits across families and communities. 

Nelson Mandela said, “If you want to change the world, help the women.”

In a riveting fireside talk, Aman Gupta, an experienced entrepreneur, gave useful insights on necessary qualities for start-up success. Participants acquired practical tools and motivation to handle the hurdles of business, cultivating a resilient and innovative mentality.

Aman is a great believer in knowing and adjusting to the ever-changing interests of Generation Z. He surrounds himself with youthful staff from whom he continually learns. BoAt explores innovative methods to interact with gen z, from collaborations with celebrities like AP Dhillon to developing fresh and attractive marketing techniques.
Co-founders who work well together are essential. He emphasized the importance of having a co-founder with complementary talents and knowledge. Collaborative collaborations build the groundwork for optimal harmony. His work with Sameer, his co-founder, exemplifies how the strength of collaboration can propel a successful business to success. They represent the enormous potential that exists when a shared vision is matched with varied capabilities.

Work hard, but also enjoy life. Make yourself at ease with failure. Aman exhibited the transforming effect of accepting failure magnificently. Having weathered the trials of five failed enterprises, he addressed the critical value of learning, growing, and moving on with bravery. BoAt, his ultimate success story, came to existence as a result of this approach. Failure is not the end, but rather a springboard for development and creativity. If you do what you love, you will undoubtedly succeed, and you should not be frightened of failure.Discover your calling. He urged everyone to try new things and discover their own passions. He honestly stated, based on his own experience, how he realized that being a CA wasn’t his strong point in comparison to others in the industry. This realization, however, pushed him to pursue business, where he discovered his true love and achieved tremendous success.

Work on profitability, not just revenue–Investors have gotten wise and will no longer accept illogical pricing. Earning money is preferable to burning money. If you want to really survive long term with intense competition, then work towards solid sustainable business module.
“We believe in earning money and not burning money,” Aman repeatedly emphasized on this. He said that this mantra has been at the core of boAt’s remarkable journey to profitability. Their success lies in offering stylish, cost-efficient, and durable products that resonate with consumers.
Do whatever makes you happy! He is motivated by rebels, doers, and individuals who go against the grain. Accept your passion, push your limits, and let your aspirations lead you.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament, viz. The Institute, functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. The ICAI is the second largest professional body of Chartered Accountants in the world, with a strong tradition of service to the Indian economy in public interest. Over a period of time the ICAI has achieved recognition as a premier accounting body not only in the country but also globally, for maintaining highest standards in technical, ethical areas and for sustaining stringent examination and education standards.