The Petroleum ministry along with public sector oil companies has launched ‘Start-up Sangam’, a program with the objective of funding startups in this high-tech sector. The overall fund allocated is Rs 320 crore and the plan is to pick 30 startups and fund them over the next 3 years.
The corpus has been created through contributions from India Oil Corporation, ONGC, Engineers India, Oil India, Numaligarh Refinery, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Gail (India), Balmer Lawrie and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals.
While the major thrust will be on the energy and related sectors, converting waste plastics to petroleum fuels, solar stove, multipurpose fuel from agricultural waste biomass and leak detectors for LNG cylinders are a few of the identified fields for launching the startups.
Some of the other objectives of the Start-up Sangam program, as explained by the Minister for Petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan include reducing the dependence on imports and that can only happen through innovations by our own local talent. Pradhan also looks after the Skill Development Ministry and probably there is some synergy there as well.
The state-run oil companies are being asked to support these startups with the ultimate objective that they will grow and be of assistance to their sponsors in the future. The minister said that 25% of the incremental demand of the world for energy will come from India and alternative fuels are another area the country has to keep working on.
Those aspiring to be part of this Start-up Sangam initiative will get 30 months to demonstrate their ‘proof of concept’, if they are entering the technology field and 18 months if it’s only a business idea. If the details provided by the start-ups are convincing, the oil companies may buy them out and leave the entrepreneur to move on to their next big idea.
The program itself is part of the Startup India scheme launched by the Narendra Modi government and Pradhan has indicated that he has recommended to the oil companies to further enhance the kitty in the coming years so that more innovative youngsters can benefit from the scheme.