How Modi government is building India’s start-up eco system, brick by brick

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Updated: March 7, 2019 11:11:55 PM

The cabinet on Wednesday approved fresh funding of Rs 1,000 crore for Atal Innovation Mission to help thousands of start-ups test their ideas, get market access and acceptability in the absence of formal funding.

The programme develops innovation right from the school level to college and industry levels through Atal Incubation Centres, Atal Community Innovation Centres, Atal Tinkering Labs and Atal New India Challenges. (IE)

One of the biggest challenges faced by the Modi government was the creation of a robust start-up eco-system that was dominated by traditional family run businesses. After assuming the power in May 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the future of Indian economy was dependent on its ability to develop the cutting edge technology that can secure a place for the country in the fourth Industrial revolution. However, the country lacked the institutional mechanism to support and encourage innovators and entrepreneurs. Among the several steps taken by the government since 2014 is the launch of Atal Incubation Centres to lend support to those start ups that have been considered risky propositions by traditional investors.

The cabinet on Wednesday approved fresh funding of Rs 1,000 crore for Atal Innovation Mission to help thousands of start-ups test their ideas, get market access and acceptability in the absence of formal funding. “The schemes and government funding in supporting the initial stages of the entrepreneurial journey is critical,” said Abha Rishi, CEO of Atal Incubation Centre at Birla Institute of Management and Technology in Greater Noida.”This gives them a good platform with a pretty strong incentive to come out and try their ideas and create a product that is ready to face the market,” she said. Atal Innovation Mission is the brain child of the country’s apex planning body, NITI Aayog.

The programme develops innovation right from the school level to college and industry levels through Atal Incubation Centres, Atal Community Innovation Centres, Atal Tinkering Labs and Atal New India Challenges. Through the fresh round of funding, the government hopes to establish 100 Atal Incubation Centres across the country, each eligible to get a grant of up to Rs 10 crore for supporting 50-60 start-ups in the first five years.

“We got Rs 5.5 crore funding under the Atal Incubation Center scheme and we use this money to curate and support start-up ideas through our three-tier system called Khoj, Gurukul and Udaan which are basically three phases of discovery, establishment and expansion. We provide them support including free accommodation for three to six months to work and test on their ideas,” Abha Rishi told Financial Express Online.

Atal Incubation Centres and Atal New India Challenges are crucial for creating employment as the NDA government has followed a cautious policy of promoting employment through entrepreneurship. Prime Minister Modi has often talked about turning India’s demographic advantage, India’s educated youth into job givers rather than job seekers.The government said these more than 100 incubators would support 5,000 to 6,000 start-ups with a very high potential for employment creation.

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