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DST launches NIDHI – a 100 crore program to support startups

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The government is leaving no stone unturned to boost and sustain the startup wave in the country despite ups and downs in private VC funding. After coming up with ambitious Startup India programme and launching a 10,000 crore fund of funds for startups, other government organizations are also actively participating in the same.

The Department of Science and Technology has now launched a new program called National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI).

The program, worth 100 crores, will particularly focus on helping startups to meet their funding, infrastructure and other mentorship needs. DST will launch three major schemes under NIDHI namely, NIDHI Prayas, NIDHI Seed Support System, and NIDHI Centres of Excellence.

Under NIDHI Prayas, DST will help startups to bridge the gap between idea and prototype funding. It will set up 10 prayas centers across various incubation centers supported by it.

The seed support system under NIDHI will aid early stage startups with seed funding. It will help them expand and bring their products and services into the market. In the next stage, NIDHI Centres of Excellence will help established startups for further expansion.

These centres will mentor and support successful startups to go global and expand themselves further. Notably, DST has so far supported more than 100 technology focused incubators. It usually grants an amount up to 15 crores to set up an incubator. The exact amount depends on the location of the incubator as well as the type of startups supported by incubator. It gives an additional grant to incubators for seed funding. The incubator invests that amount into startups in the form of debt or equity.

DST is now planning to launch 15-20 more similar incubators this year. It is also considering to increase the funding limit to startups at these incubators up to 1 crore.

Talking about the same, Harkesh Mittal, head of the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board at the Department of Science and Technology said,

DST will soon revise the total funding limit to startups at supported incubators from up to Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore. The revised investment limit is soon to be implemented.

In addition to NIDHI, DST has launched several schemes to support Indian entrepreneurs and startups. In fact, it has been supporting new businesses for over two decades now. During this period, it has spent over 250 crores in setting up specialised institutional mechanisms across the country. These include Science and Technology Entrepreneur’s Park (STEP) and Technology Business Incubators(TBIs) in various locations.

Apart from these, it has also launched other schemes like New Generation Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (NewGen IEDC), Grand Challenges and Competitions for Scouting Innovations (GCC), Promoting and Acclerating Young and Aspiring Innovators and Startups (PRAYAS), Entrepreneur-In-Residence (EIR), Start up NIDHI, Technology Business Incubator (TBI), Seed Support System (SSS), Accelerator, Centers of Excellence (CoE).

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