The Indian government is going all out in facilitating startups and entrepreneurship in the country. In a recent move, the Startup India Hub is working on a new initiative to enable startups to apply for government schemes and venture funds directly from the Startup India platform.
According to a report in the Economic Times, this is being worked on in order to address the issue of lack of awareness of the schemes government is offering to startups and to ease any difficulties startups are facing in applying for these benefits.
The startup India Hub was launched last month by Nirmala Sitharaman, minister of state for commerce and industry.
This virtual hub is an online platform for all stakeholders of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It hosts startups, investors, funds, mentors, academia, incubators, accelerators, corporates, government bodies and more with the idea of allowing engagement, discovery and connect with each other.
This is a key initiative under Narendra Modiâ€™s Startup India program.
There are about 167 schemes listed for startups to benefit from. According to the ET report, some of these include, Technology Development Programme, Software Technology Park scheme, Support for International Patent Protection, Electronic Development Fund Policy, Bank Credit Facilitation and Performance and Credit Rating Scheme.
Karan Anand, assistant vice-president, Invest India says that they are in the process of adding even more functionalities to the virtual hub to make it more effective as a platform.
â€œThe real challenge is that people don't know about government schemes. Currently, we are only showing the schemes on the platform but the next step is to allow startups to apply for these schemes and enable them to track their application form's status online," he told ET.
Additionally, Startup India Hub will be hosting an all-stakeholder event in August, which will involve accelerators, incubators and venture funds. The idea is to make the hub a lot more effective and open up the platform to more stakeholders.
"We will be giving them a formal profile and log-in details so that their application procedures can go live on the Startup India Hub. We have recently tied up with companies that have launched funds including BPCL with whom we have signed an MoU to help them invest the fund," Karan told ET.
The virtual hub will also be soon launched in six other languages. Kannada will be the first with that version expected to go live in the next two days. This will be followed by Bengali and other languages.
ET reports that the call centre operated by the virtual hub has received more than 60,000 queries from entrepreneurs across India in the past one year and about 67% of these queries have come in from tier-II and tier-III cities.