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Government provides funding for Startups & Small Businesses in India

In today’s trying times, every other business is struggling for its survival. Additionally, small businesses and startups are witnessing the adverse effects of the pandemic. To boost the startup growth, the Government of India has implemented several measures. The list of such schemes and initiatives is quite extensive and varies based on at which stage the startup is currently at. This effort showcases the importance of why the Government is keen on helping them grow.

Today, India is the 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world and is gradually on its mission to build a robust startup ecosystem. In order to promote and support entrepreneurs, the Government has created a Ministry (Department of Science & Technology) dedicated to helping new businesses. The idea is to create an environment so that they remain sustainable and competitive.

Startups and MSMEs are the foundation on which the Government’s Atmanirbhar mission and Make In India vision will succeed – Generating more employment, increasing exports, improving the standard of living for millions of Indians, and making India strong globally.

Several schemes and initiatives support small businesses and startups, such as loans, grants, seed fund, to name a few. The Government is not only promoting these schemes to help the present group of startups benefit from them but also motivating the budding entrepreneurs, startups, and students from all domains, who tend to be independent and lead the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat forward.

Research Innovation Incubation Design Laboratories (riidl), a startup incubator and an innovation center at the Somaiya Vidyavihar University, supported by Somaiya Vidyavihar, NSTEDB, DST & BIRAC, Government of India and MSInS, Government of Maharashtra is one of the disbursing organizations by the Government of India to give funds & grants to support startups in India.

riidl has incubated over 131 startups & facilitated the creation of 600+ full-time job opportunities with a community of over 5600 makers/innovators while the total valuation of startups is over INR 1160 Cr. Knowing what funding schemes and grants are available is the first step to taking advantage of the many funding programs that promote innovation in India. Here, we’ve highlighted 3 valuable Government funding schemes you should know about as an entrepreneur:

  1. NIDHI Seed Support System (NIDHI SSS):

NIDHI SSS provides financial assistance to potential startups with promising ideas, innovations, and technologies. This would enable some of these incubatee startups with innovative ideas/technologies to graduate to a level where they will be able to raise investments from angel/Venture capitalists or they will reach a position to seek loans from commercial banks/financial institutions.

Through NIDHI SSS, a deserving startup gets a maximum financial assistance of upto INR 1 Crore from DST as grants-in-aid for the seed support. The sole objective of the NIDHI SSS is to ensure timely availability of the seed support to the deserving incubatee startups within an incubator, thereby enabling them to take their venture to the next level and facilitate their success in the marketplace.

In the past, riidl.org has supported 4 startups viz. MicroDegree, Pocketly, VectorX and Doubt Buddy with a total funding of INR 2 Crore under NIDHI SSS.

Highlights of the fund support:

  • Avail equity based funding of INR 25 Lakhs to INR 1 Crore per Startup
  • Access to riidl ecosystem
  • Business & Technical Mentoring
  • Access to startup acceleration program

Last date to apply is 30th April 2022. For complete eligibility: http://riidl.org/NidhiSSS/Eligibility-Criteria

Application Link: http://riidl.org/programs/nidhi_sss

The Selection Committee evaluating the shortlisted applicants for disbursement of NIDHI SSS funds to startups includes:

  1. NIDHI PRAYAS:

DST-NIDHI’s Promoting and Accelerating Young and Aspiring technology entrepreneurs (PRAYAS) is specifically to support young innovators turn their ideas into Proof of Concept. This support shall allow the innovators to try their ideas without fear of failure, hence allowing them to reach a stage where they have a ready product and are willing to approach incubators for commercialization.

In the last 2 years, riidl.org has supported 11 startups with a total grant funding of INR 100 Lakhs under NIDHI PRAYAS scheme.

Highlights of the fund support:

  • Avail grant upto INR 10 Lakhs per Startup
  • Access to riidl ecosystem
  • Business & Technical Mentoring
  • Access to startup acceleration program

Last date to apply is 6th May 2022. For complete eligibility: riidl.org/programs/nidhi_prayas

Application Link: riidl.org/programs/nidhi_prayas

  1. NIDHI EIR:

National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) Entrepreneurs-in- Residence (EIR) Programme is one of the programs introduced under NIDHI to inspire the best talents to be entrepreneurs, to minimize the risk involved in pursuing startups, and to partially set off their opportunity costs of high paying jobs. Graduate students will be provided funding to take up entrepreneurship through a fellowship.

In the last 2 years, riidl.org has supported 10 entrepreneurs with a total grant funding of INR 36 Lakhs under NIDHI EIR scheme.

Highlights of the fund support:

  • Avail fellowship of INR 30,000 per month for a duration of 12 months
  • Access to riidl ecosystem
  • Business & Technical Mentoring
  • Access to startup acceleration program

Last date to apply is 6th May 2022. For complete eligibility: riidl.org/programs/nidhi_eir

Application Link: https://riidl.org/NidhiEIR

Gaurang Shetty, Chief Innovation Catalyst, riidl says, “Most entrepreneurs struggle to raise angel or seed funding during the early stage and these grants from NIDHI is like a boon for entrepreneurs in the ecosystem. The seed support is positioned to act as a bridge between the development stage of the startup and commercialisation stage. For NIDHI SSS, we are typically looking for early revenue stage tech startups which have a market ready product. We at riidl want to support startups with the NIDHI SSS funding, NIDHI PRAYAS and NIDHI EIR grants while additionally provide access to business mentoring, technical mentoring, prototyping support, early customer access support, virtual incubation, networking & outreach opportunities, and much more.”

Whether you need help putting together the financials for a grant application – or someone to guide you with development of your product & creating the Business plan – we have experience working with a wide range of companies at riidl.

The country now seems to be heading towards the golden era of entrepreneurship, where if things go as planned, India may host as many successful startups as the USA or any other leading nation by 2030.

What do you think?

Ravi Tilekar

Written by Ravi Tilekar

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