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The recently concluded ‘National StartUp Conference RASE 2024’ at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Srinagar, Kashmir, was a platform for Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh to present his vision for the future of Jammu & Kashmir’s startup ecosystem. In his address, Dr. Singh emphasized the need for a shift in mindset and a deeper exploration of the region’s abundant resources.

Rather than focusing solely on traditional sectors, Dr. Singh highlighted the untapped potential of the agricultural sector as a fertile ground for innovation and entrepreneurship. He drew attention to the remarkable success stories of the ‘Aroma Mission’ and the ‘Purple Revolution’, which have transformed towns like Bhaderwah and Gulmarg into thriving hubs of agriculture and entrepreneurship.

The transformation of these towns has been truly inspirational, with approximately 5,000 young entrepreneurs venturing into lavender farming and reaping remarkable rewards. Many of these enterprising individuals have even relinquished their corporate careers to embrace the exciting opportunities presented by lavender farming, a trend that is now being replicated in other states.

Dr. Singh acknowledged the pivotal role played by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in India through the ‘Startup India, Stand-up India’ initiative introduced in 2015. Since then, India’s startup ecosystem has witnessed exponential growth, surpassing all expectations. The number of startups in the country has catapulted from a mere 350 to an astounding 1.5 lakh, making India the world’s third-largest startup hub.

Jammu & Kashmir’s budding startup landscape exemplifies the power of combining traditional industries with innovation and entrepreneurship. By harnessing the potential of the agricultural sector, the region has not only reinvigorated its economy but also demonstrated the limitless possibilities that lie within its boundaries. As the startup revolution takes firm hold, it is clear that Jammu & Kashmir is redefining the very notion of what it means to be a startup hub.