India has seen significant growth in industries, technology, healthcare, and infrastructure in the 75 years since independence. The country now ranks 3rd globally in the startup ecosystem and in terms of unicorns. The Indian government has launched various programs to support the startup ecosystem and T-Hub is playing a key role as an innovation hub and ecosystem enabler, contributing to the country’s economic vision.
Several Indian states have implemented policies to support and promote entrepreneurship, with the goal of creating a sustainable innovation ecosystem. One example is Telangana, which established the Telangana State Innovation Council (TSIC) to foster an innovation-driven economy. The state also offers resources and support through initiatives like the Telangana Startup Ecosystem Development (TSED), Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC), and the Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC). Additionally, Telangana has a network of angel investors and a venture capital fund to provide funding for startups. Other states, including Odisha, Kerala, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, have also taken similar steps to support startups and promote innovation. Many states also host annual events where startups can showcase their products and services and connect with investors and mentors.
The Government of India has introduced multiple schemes to support young entrepreneurs in building their enterprises and achieving the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ dream. These schemes aid both budding and existing start-ups/businesses.
Startup India is a government program aimed at fostering innovation and entrepreneurship to drive sustainable economic growth and create employment opportunities. It provides comprehensive support such as funding, tax incentives, intellectual property rights, procurement, regulatory reforms, and networking opportunities for start-ups. It has become a launchpad for Indian start-ups, synonymous with sustainable economic growth.
The National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) Program is an umbrella initiative aimed at fostering knowledge-based and technology-driven innovation into successful start-ups. Developed by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship division of the Department of Science and Technology (Government of India) and aligned with India’s vision for the next 25 years, it focuses on creating an innovation-driven ecosystem that supports sustainable economic growth through job and wealth creation. The program aims to establish a robust ecosystem of stakeholders, including mentors, financial institutions, angel investors, venture capitalists, academic and R&D institutions, private sectors, state governments, and various departments of the central government. The NIDHI program identifies and supports start-ups and helps them scale their innovations. The program’s branches such as NIDHI Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) collaborate with various institutions to utilize their expertise and infrastructure to bring forth innovative and sustainable technologies.
The Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) is a platform that aims to provide an ecosystem for upcoming and existing women entrepreneurs in India. It was launched by the NITI Aayog in partnership with the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). It provides support through mentorship, funding, free credit ratings, apprenticeship, and opportunities for corporate partnerships. WEP conducts offline outreach programs to encourage entrepreneurship among women and create opportunities for them to share their experiences and learn from one another. Additionally, it provides incubation and acceleration support to start-ups founded or co-founded by women and assists them in scaling up their businesses.
The Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industries and Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE) aims to boost innovation in the agribusiness industry by supporting local and hyper-local enterprises and creating jobs. It aims to establish a network of technology and incubation centres across the country to assist agro-based or agri-tech start-ups. Entrepreneurs are supported with knowledge and expertise to establish and sustain their businesses and create employment opportunities. The scheme also provides financial assistance in form of a one-time grant of 100% of the cost of plant and machinery (excluding land and infrastructure) or up to INR 100 lakhs.
The Support for International Patent Protection in Electronics and Information Technology (SIP-EIT) aims to provide government funding for technology start-ups and MSMEs to file for international patents. Recognizing the importance of global intellectual property protection, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology launched this scheme to encourage innovation, particularly among start-ups and MSMEs operating in the information communication technologies and electronics sectors. The financial assistance provided under this scheme also helps in building brand recognition. Eligible enterprises can apply at any stage of the patent filing process.
The Multiplier Grants Scheme (MGS) aims to bridge the gap between early-stage ideas and commercialization by fostering collaborations between industry, academic, and government research and development institutions to develop products and packages. The scheme, launched by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, aims to strengthen the connection between industry and institutions and accelerate the ‘Make in India’ initiative by focusing on indigenous products and packages. Under this scheme, the government provides funding that can be up to twice the amount provided by the industry for the R&D of commercially viable products. The grant amount for individual industries is capped at INR two crores per project for a maximum duration of two years. For any consortium of industries, the limit is INR four crores for a project duration of three years.
The High Risk-High Reward Research program promotes innovative concepts with the potential for significant impact on STEM fields. The program prioritizes bold and uncertain proposals with the possibility of significant rewards if successful. The program has no set budget constraints and research funding covers expenses such as consumables, contingencies, equipment, travel, and overhead grants.
The Indian government has implemented the Zero Defect Zero Effect (ZED) scheme to support manufacturers in improving their products and increasing competitiveness. The scheme aims to create awareness, assess and certify, counsel, and provide assistance to startups and MSMEs in terms of technology and financial assistance so they can ensure zero defects.
The efforts already made have shown a positive effect on the startup environment in India, showcasing the country’s dedication to economic development and the perseverance of its entrepreneurs. It reflects India’s ambitious vision for the future and the resilience of its people.