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Innovate & Elevate: ONDC's 'Build for Bharat' Transforming E-commerce

What is ONDC's 'Build for Bharat' initiative? How will it empower 200K+ participants to innovate in digital commerce? How will 10 million merchants onboard ONDC platform? Read for details.

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Swati Dayal
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Build for Bharat

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Now over 200,000 individuals representing startups, companies and colleges will onboard The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) platform under the Build for Bharat initiative. 

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For this, ONDC has joined forces with Google Cloud India, Antler in India, Paytm, Protean, and Startup India. This collaborative effort aims to address the myriad challenges in the digital commerce landscape, fostering innovation within the industry.

How Will This Initiative Empower India's Tech Ecosystem?

The 'Build for Bharat' initiative is poised to tap into India's vast technological and entrepreneurial potential, with an expected participation of over 200,000 individuals representing startups, companies, and colleges. The emphasis lies on creating a participative and ecosystem-driven framework, promoting collaboration and innovation on a national scale.

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Prioritising participative and ecosystem-driven framework, the initiative is organized at a national-scale across 50+ cities with top experts, leaders, VCs and incubators onboard.

National-Scale Initiative Across 50+ Cities

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With a focus on Retail, Mobility, F&B, Financial Services, and Logistics sectors, the initiative is structured to deliver three distinct outcomes.

1. NextGen Ventures

The 'NextGen Ventures' category is tailored to supercharge venture creation on ONDC. This track is open to aspiring founders exploring multiple ideas or early-stage founder teams, providing a pathway to raising capital, launching, scaling companies, and incubating new businesses.

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2. Scalable Solutions

Category 2 invites organizations and individuals, including students, to develop scalable solutions addressing friction points faced by network participants in digital commerce.

3. Foundation Solutions

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Category 3 is exclusively designed for college students (18+) to identify proof of concept for the friction points faced by network participants.

Prizes and Collaborations For Winners 

Winners across these categories stand to gain valuable opportunities, mentorship, equity-free grants, and cloud credits from Antler, Google Cloud India, and ONDC.

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T. Koshy, MD, and CEO at ONDC, expressed excitement about the initiative, stating, "Initiatives like 'Build for Bharat' will unleash the talent and potential of India's startup and student community to drive meaningful impact at scale."

Bikram Singh Bedi, Managing Director at Google Cloud India, emphasized Google Cloud's commitment to empowering India's entrepreneurial energy and technical capabilities. He stated, "By bringing together students, startups, and businesses, we aim to foster collaboration and innovation towards an inclusive digital economy."

Paytm To Onboard 10 million Merchants on ONDC

In a significant development, Paytm has pledged to onboard as many as 10 million of its merchants onto the ONDC platform by the end of 2025. This announcement was made by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm, during the launch of ONDC's 'Build for Bharat' initiative.

Sharma highlighted that around 11.8 million users have already shopped on ONDC via Paytm, and the addition of new merchants is expected to further boost consumer demand on the platform. He asserted that ONDC has become a substantial player in e-commerce, with one-fifth of India's 50 million e-commerce users now transacting on the platform.

The Paytm founder emphasized the distinct advantage of ONDC's platform, which breaks down various components of the consumer experience, reducing overhead costs associated with traditional e-commerce systems. Sharma stated, "Consumer value (on ONDC) will be dramatically different and superior to current e-commerce platforms."

Furthermore, Sharma assured that the integration of Paytm onto ONDC will be profitable, focusing on technology that can be reused. He stated, "It is inherently profitable, unless we start spending money on acquiring consumer market share, which we are not planning to do."

ONDC: Revolutionizing Digital Commerce

Established as a non-profit platform by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), ONDC serves as an alternative for online shopping. It is not just an app but a facilitative platform designed to revolutionize digital commerce. The platform has gained significant traction, particularly during the ongoing festival season, witnessing transaction volumes reaching 4.7 million in November, compared to a mere 1,200 in January of the same year. Orders are pouring in from over 250 cities across the country, marking a remarkable surge in its operations.

The 'Build for Bharat' initiative will reshape India's digital commerce landscape. As the initiative unfolds, it will unlock innovation, nurture talent, and drive meaningful impact at a national scale.

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