Europe is the global leader in digital sector innovations and sustainable development. Europe has a fast-growing start-up ecosystem with these companies keen to internationalise and have globally relevant products and solutions. India has moved on to emerge as one of the largest adopters of deep tech and digitalisation. It is home to several different prosperous business industries, all of which are growing exponentially. Both the European Union (EU) and India have healthy ecosystems and concrete policies. There is a growing number of incubators, accelerators, start-ups and investors across Europe and India, alongside SMEs, corporates – that can benefit from collaboration, co-creation and cross border investment. India's investment climate is also a pivotal point to reckon with in terms of Indian policymakers that can be better exposed to the challenges faced by EU companies to create a conducive business environment. The ongoing pandemic makes such initiatives even more relevant, given the massive use of digital/virtual solutions in businesses.

EU – India are strategic partners, with their cooperation continuously evolving. India-EU relations date to the early 1960s, with India being amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community. The economic complementarity between the Indian expansion trend and European countries' interest in seeking potential investors provides new opportunities for bilateral relations. In line with these trends, digital transformation and investments have become priority areas in the EU-India cooperation framework. The parties share an interest in enhancing sectoral cooperation to uphold an open, free, stable and secure digital space and promote common approaches and standards for the digital transformation of industry and society. There is a momentum to organise enhanced exchanges in the respective EU and Indian digital ecosystems, and substantial contributions can be made to a common digital future.

The ‘EU India Agenda for Action 2020’ (2018) calls for the creation of synergies between the ‘Digital India’ initiative and the EU’s Digital Single Market’, by cooperating, among other aspects, on business and as innovative start-up companies and by making good use of the annual Joint ICT Working Group and Business Dialogue. The 15th EU-India summit held in July 2020 marked a crucial moment in which the leaders made an explicit reference to ‘human-centric digitalisation to develop inclusive economies and societies’. At the summit, both sides agreed to establish a high-level digital investment forum in which respective business leaders can discuss and help to identify concrete opportunities for cooperation. The relevance of this sector in bilateral relations has been reflected in the outcome document of the 2020 EU-India summit – namely the ‘EU-India Roadmap to 2025’. In the Roadmap, the partners voice their readiness to continue sectoral cooperation, including to support the work between EU and Indian industries and start-up ecosystems on enhanced cooperation on innovation and technology deployment.

To further enhance the bilateral relationships and economic development, the European Union, in collaboration with Global Business Inroads (GBI), Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) and Particip, has launched the EU-India Digital Business Dialogue focussing on digital transformation and investment opportunities. This will provide a platform where business operators from the EU and India, including investors, corporates, SMEs, start-ups, can have practical exchanges through a series of bilateral events and tailored follow-up. The EU-India Digital Business Dialogue aims to develop networking and avail of practical cooperation and business opportunities. The initiative will include three consultation events with key stakeholders and crosscutting Knowledge Management-related initiatives.

India VC (Venture Capital) Connect for EU Start-ups (April 2021). A Platform to connect Indian VCs, Corporates, Angel investors, investor networks, and platforms to EU start-ups and build the capacity of Indian investors and EU start-ups on investment and growth opportunities.

EU-India Digital Business Networking Platforms - 'Digital EU to India' (June 2021): a digital matchmaking event will bring together EU Digital Solution providers (including digital SMEs and start-ups) with Indian companies (large corporates, SMEs, start-ups).

Digital Investment Forum – Roundtable (May 2021): An EU-India Digital Investor and Business Forum will be organized as a Roundtable. This forum will involve policymakers from the EU and India, with inputs from incubators, start-ups, investors, corporates, SMEs that can give a practical outlook to the Roundtable that is aimed at creating a dialogue between policy makers and business and investment stakeholders.