Government Schemes to Support Startups in India
India has emerged as a hotbed for entrepreneurship and innovation in recent years. To foster the growth of startups and encourage a culture of innovation, the Indian government has introduced several schemes and initiatives. These government schemes aim to provide startups with financial support, mentoring, and infrastructure facilities across various sectors. This article will explore a comprehensive list of government schemes available in India to support startups.
- Startup India: Launched in 2016, the Startup India initiative is the flagship program of the Indian government to promote startup culture and entrepreneurship. The scheme offers numerous benefits, including tax exemptions, self-certification compliance, and a dedicated mobile app for registration. It also provides funding opportunities through the Startup India Fund of Funds (FFS).
- Standup India: This scheme primarily promotes entrepreneurship among women and marginalized communities. Standup India aims to provide financial assistance to at least one scheduled caste or tribe and one woman entrepreneur per bank branch. It offers loans ranging from Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 1 crore for setting up greenfield enterprises.
- Atal Innovation Mission (AIM): Under the Atal Innovation Mission, the government has set up Atal Incubation Centers (AICs) and Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. AICs provide incubation support, mentoring, and access to investors, while ATLs are established in schools to nurture creativity and scientific thinking among students.
- Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY): PMMY aims to provide collateral-free loans to micro and small enterprises, including startups. The scheme categorizes loans into three categories: Shishu (up to Rs. 50,000), Kishore (from Rs. 50,001 to Rs. 5 lakhs), and Tarun (from Rs. 5,00,001 to Rs. 10 lakhs). Startups can avail of these loans through various participating banks.
- Make in India: Launched to boost manufacturing in India, the Make in India initiative supports startups in the manufacturing sector. The scheme offers incentives such as reduced compliance burden, faster clearances, and easier access to capital. It aims to transform India into a global manufacturing hub and create employment opportunities.
- Electronic Development Fund (EDF): The Electronic Development Fund provides early-stage funding to startups in the electronics and IT sector. It promotes innovation, research, and development in electronics and IT hardware manufacturing. The scheme offers financial support through venture capital funds, incubators, and seed capital funds.
- Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC): BIRAC is an initiative under the Department of Biotechnology that supports startups and entrepreneurs in the biotechnology sector. The council provides funding, mentoring, and infrastructure support to startups working on cutting-edge biotechnology, healthcare, and life sciences technologies.
- Support for International Patent Protection in Electronics & Information Technology (SIP-EIT): This scheme encourages Indian startups and SMEs in the electronics and IT sector to file international patents. It provides financial support to startups for the expenses incurred in filing and prosecuting international patents. The scheme aims to enhance the global competitiveness of Indian startups in the electronics and IT domain.
- Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Upgradation Scheme (CLCS-TUS): The CLCS-TUS scheme aims to facilitate technology upgradation in micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including startups. It provides capital subsidies to MSMEs for upgrading their technology and machinery to improve productivity and competitiveness.
- Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme: The EPCG scheme enables startups to import capital goods to produce goods and services for export purposes. Under this scheme, startups can avail a license to import capital goods at a concessional rate of customs duty, thereby reducing their production costs and enhancing their export potential.
- Technology Development Board (TDB): The Technology Development Board offers financial support to startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for technology development and commercialization. It provides grants and soft loans to assist in the development and deployment of innovative technologies.
- Research and Development Cess (R&D Cess) Refund: Startups engaged in research and development activities can avail of a refund of the R&D Cess paid on imported technology. This scheme encourages startups to invest in R&D and innovation by providing financial relief.
- ASPIRE (A Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industries, and Entrepreneurship): ASPIRE focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and job creation in rural areas. It supports startups and small businesses in rural sectors such as agro-based industries, rural crafts, and food processing. The scheme includes incubation centres, training programs, and financial assistance for rural entrepreneurs.
- National Manufacturing Competitiveness Program (NMCP): NMCP aims to enhance the competitiveness of manufacturing industries, including startups. It offers components such as Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Scheme, Design Clinic Scheme, and Enabling Manufacturing Sector Innovation through Quality Tools.
- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): PMKVY is a skill development program that provides training and certification to individuals, including aspiring entrepreneurs. Startups can benefit from this scheme by hiring skilled and certified individuals to meet workforce requirements.
- National SC/ST Hub: This initiative is specifically designed to support startups and businesses owned by entrepreneurs from Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). It offers assistance in capacity building, access to credit, market linkages, and other essential resources.
- NIDHI (National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations): NIDHI nurtures innovative ideas and startups through a network of incubators and entrepreneurship development centres. It provides financial support, mentoring, and training to entrepreneurs and startups.
- National Innovation Foundation (NIF): NIF encourages grassroots innovations and supports innovators and startups in various sectors. It offers financial assistance, incubation support, and patent facilitation to transform innovative ideas into viable businesses.
- Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP): WEP is an initiative that promotes and supports women entrepreneurs in India. It offers a platform for networking, mentorship, and access to funding opportunities. Startups led by women entrepreneurs can leverage this scheme to gain visibility and support for their ventures.
- Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Startups (CGFS): CGFS provides collateral-free loans to startups through select banks and financial institutions. The scheme aims to improve access to credit for startups, facilitating their growth and expansion.
- SIDBI Make in India Soft Loan Fund for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMILE): SMILE aims to provide soft loans to startups and MSMEs in the manufacturing and service sectors. It offers financial assistance to support technology upgradation, capacity expansion, and market development.
- Atal Incubation Centers (AICs): Under the Atal Innovation Mission, the government has established AICs nationwide. These incubation centres provide startups with physical infrastructure, mentoring, networking opportunities, and access to funding to foster their growth.
- Stand-Up India Scheme: This scheme promotes entrepreneurship among women and SC/ST entrepreneurs. It provides bank loans between Rs. 10 lakhs and Rs. 1 crore to support the establishment of greenfield enterprises. The scheme aims to create a more inclusive startup ecosystem.
- Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Ltd (MUDRA): MUDRA offers financial support to startups and small businesses through various loan schemes. These loans, categorized as Shishu, Kishore, and Tarun, cater to different stages of business growth and help in meeting working capital requirements and purchasing assets.
- National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) Subsidy Scheme: The NSIC Subsidy Scheme provides financial assistance to small enterprises, including startups, through various support programs. It includes assistance with the procurement of raw materials, participation in trade fairs and exhibitions, and marketing support.
- Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) Scheme: The VCA Scheme aims to facilitate the flow of equity-based risk capital to startups and agri-based ventures. It provides financial assistance through venture capital funds to support their growth, technology upgradation, and market development.
- Atal New India Challenges: This scheme invites startups to propose innovative solutions for specific problem statements across various sectors. Startups with promising solutions can receive funding, access to incubation centres, and mentoring to develop and commercialize their products or services.
- BIRAC AcE Fund: The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) AcE Fund provides early-stage funding to startups working in the biotechnology sector. It supports startups in healthcare, agriculture, and other biotech domains by offering financial assistance and access to resources.
- National Entrepreneurship Awards (NEA): NEA recognizes and rewards exceptional startups and entrepreneurs who have significantly contributed to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The awards encourage innovation, job creation, and social impact while providing recognition and visibility to deserving startups.
- Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE): INSPIRE is an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to attract young talent towards scientific research and innovation. It offers scholarships, research fellowships, and grants to students and researchers, including support for startup ventures in science and technology.
The Indian government has taken significant steps to create a favourable startup ecosystem by introducing various schemes and initiatives. These schemes provide startups with financial assistance, mentorship, and infrastructure support across different sectors. By leveraging these government schemes, entrepreneurs and innovators can avail opportunities to transform their ideas into successful businesses. The continuous support from the government is expected to drive innovation, employment generation, and economic growth in India’s startup ecosystem.
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