New Delhi: To reiterate its commitment towards “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, Amazon has launched a $250mn Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund to accelerate the vision of a digitally self-reliant India during its annual mega summit, Amazon Smbhav 2021. It also announced a special initiative called “Spotlight Northeast” which will help in boosting the local economy in the North-East states.

Amazon India hosted the second edition of “Amazon Smbhav”, a flagship summit to share how Amazon and its partners leverage digital technologies to innovate for Indian customers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. The mega summit was held virtually from 15-18 April. The four-day virtual summit with the theme “Unlocking Infinite Possibilities’ focused on sectors like manufacturing, retail, logistics, IT/ITeS, content creators, start-ups, brands, and entrepreneurs across India. Over 30,000 participants and more than 70 speakers participated in this annual summit.

On the first day of the virtual Amazon Smbhav Summit 2021, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that digitalization should be a priority, and Amazon, along with other stakeholders and experts, should keep investing and enhancing the potential of India’s MSMEs.

“In parallel, there needs to be a greater focus on capacity building for MSMEs. These include helping the sector with the right inputs, design, manufacturing, maintaining product quality, and scaling their business, and Amazon should continue to focus on such capacity-building activities that have enabled small and marginal sellers by expanding their outreach,” Gadkari said.

Meanwhile, Indra Nooyi, former Chairman and CEO, Pepsico, and Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, discussed India’s potential in the 21st century on the first day of the summit. As a part of day one’s second “Fireside Chat”, Nooyi said that Covid has been a big disruptive force around the world, but at the same time, it has given companies an opportunity to stop and think about how to reset for the future.

“India has managed to control Covid better than many other countries in the world.  But what lies next? Industry leaders feel that India has to rethink its place in the global supply chain, in terms of what kind of manufacturing it is going to control and what kind of critical supplies it is going to manufacture for itself in the country.

The government has to rethink what it can control in terms of critical components in the global supply chain. If India were to approach this whole self-sufficiency in a very systematic manner, it could become a major center for the supply of critical life-saving drugs, vaccines, PPE, ventilators, etc., Indian has the potential to be an innovative, low cost, high scale manufacturing country,” Nooyi said.

Amitabh Kant said that manufacturing and urbanization will play a very critical role and whatever the country does, it must be done with global standards in mind and with technical excellence.

“There has been a huge buoyancy of young entrepreneurship. The latest study reveals that we manage over 100 unicorns with a market capitalization of Rs 200 million. These startups are innovating for the challenges of India.

They are innovating for transportation, water supply, agriculture, nutrition, and many new areas, which will make a huge impact on the population of India. As they find solutions to the challenges of India, they’ll actually be finding solutions for the next four- to five billion people around the world who will be moving from poverty to middle class in the next decade,” Amitabh Kant said during the discussion.

During the summit, Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder, and chairman, Bharti Enterprises, said that Airtel is getting stronger in a market reduced to practically “2.5 operators”. “In 2016, the launch of Jio as one of the most powerful competitors in Indian space provided free service for a year, subsidized service for another year, predatory pricing, subsidized phones, all sorts of things,” said Mittal.

He said Jio’s entry resulted in nine out of the 12 telecom service providers either going bankrupt or merging with Airtel or among themselves. He also felicitated the winners with Amazon Smbhav Awards on day one of the mega summit.