India seems to be heading towards the golden era of entrepreneurship. In 2021, amidst a devastating second wave, India’s startup ecosystem added 11 new unicorns, taking the total to 48, the third largest number in the world, after the US and China. In the first six months of 2021, Indian startup funding touched $10.1 billion across 543 deals exceeding the $9.94 billion raised in the whole of last year.
Investor confidence in Indian startups could be attributed to a lot of factors including tech boo in the country, startups going public, untapped market and emergence of experienced entrepreneurs. Government of India has also launched several initiatives to support emerging startups and bolster entrepreneurship in India
Atal Incubation Centres: AIM is a flagship initiative to promote the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in India. It is an umbrella structure that has been mandated to promote innovation and revolutionize the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country. AIM provides a grant-in-aid of up to Rs. 10 crores for a maximum period of 5 years to cover the capital and operational expenditures to establish the proposed AIC. The funding will last for a maximum of 5 years. AICs, which are part of the NITI aayog, will provide financial and infrastructure support to startups in industries such as manufacturing, transport, energy, health, education, agriculture, water, sanitation, Internet of Things, Cyber Security, etc. to promote unprecedented technological innovation in these sectors.
Startup India seed fund: Easy availability of capital is essential for entrepreneurs at the early stages of growth of an enterprise. The Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) aims to provide financial assistance to startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry and commercialization. To avail this scheme, the startup must have a business idea to develop a product or a service with a market fit, viable commercialization, and scope of scaling. With an outlay of Rs 945 crore, it will support an estimated 3,600 entrepreneurs through 300 incubators in the next 4 years.
While the fund will remain sector-agnostic, it would give preference to startups in sectors like social impact, waste management, water management, financial inclusion, education, agriculture, food-processing, biotechnology, healthcare, energy, mobility, defence, space, railways, oil and gas, textiles, among others.
Venture Capital Assistance Scheme: Venture Capital Assistance has been launched to assist farmer-entrepreneurs to make investments in setting up agribusiness projects through financial participation. It’s is an interest free loan facliity provided by SFAC (Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium) to qualifying projects to meet shortfall in the capital requirement for implementation of the project. The quantum of the loan will be 26% (40% for hilly regions) of the promoter’s equity. The scheme also envisages traing programmes for agri-entrepreneurs.The maximum amount of loan provided under this scheme will be INR 50 lakhs.
NewGen Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (NewGen IEDC): Launched by department of Scinec and Technology, NewGen IEDC has been launched tp inculcate a culture of innovation driven entrepreneurship. This scheme aims to channelize the knowledge and the energy of youth towards becoming active partners in the economic development process. It also acts as an institutional mechanism for providing various services including information on all aspects of enterprise building to budding S&T entrepreneurs. Academic institutions will be involved in the program’s implementation. Students will be encouraged to pursue new initiatives that have the potential to be commercialised.
eBiz Portal: The online single-window concept was visualised to enable businesses and investors to save time and costs and improve the business environment. It was developed by Infosys in a public-private partnership model and serves as a communication hub for Indian investors and business communities. Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu are among the five Indian states where the platform has launched 29 services. With time, the government will expand the scheme’s services.
SIP-EIT: Support for International Patent Protection in E&IT (SIP-EIT) provides financial support to MSMEs and Technology Startups for international patent filing to encourage innovation and recognize the value and capabilities of global IP along with capturing growth opportunities in ICTE sector. The Reimbursement limit has been set at a maximum of INR 15 lakhs per invention or 50% of the total charges incurred in filing and processing of a patent application, whichever is lesser. The SEP-EIT scheme can be applied at any stage of international patent filing by the applicant.
Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Entreprises (CGTMSE): Launched by government of India, this scheme provides collateral-free business loans to micro-level businesses, small-scale industries, and startups. In partnership wit SIDBI, the government provides a maximum amount of up to INR 100 lakhs under this scheme for boosting new enterprises as well as rehabilitating the existing ones.
The Women Entrepreneurship Platform: WEP has been launched by Niti Aayog to provide an ecosystem for budding & existing women entrepreneurs across the country. Women Entrepreneurs who are at ideation stage, have just started off with thieir startups or are an established startup can register under the scheme to take the benefit. It also provides services such as free credit ratings, mentorship, funding support to women entrepreneurs, apprenticeship and corporate partnerships,