Frontlist | PM Modi announces Rs 1,000 crore Startup

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“Through the Fund of Funds, startups are already receiving assistance to raise equity capital. Going forward, the government will also help startups to raise debt capital by providing the guarantee,” PM Modi said at the BIMSTEC Summit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced a seed fund worth Rs 1,000 crore for startups to set-up and grow their businesses and also launched a dedicated television show — Startup Champions to be telecasted on the public service broadcaster Doordarshan (DD). In his address to the BIMSTEC countries at the Startup India’s international summit Prarambh on Saturday, PM Modi said that the government is taking important steps to ensure that India’s startups don’t face a shortage of capital. “In order to provide initial capital to startups, the country is launching a Startup India seed fund worth Rs 1,000 crore. This will help to start and grow new startups. Through the Fund of Funds, startups are already receiving assistance to raise equity capital. Going forward, the government will also help startups to raise debt capital by providing the guarantee,” Modi said.

As of December 31, 2020, Rs 4,376.96 crore was committed by the Rs 10,000-crore Fund of Funds for Startups’ (FFS) implementing agency SIDBI to 62 SEBI registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), according to the data from SIDBI. AIFs are privately pooled investment vehicle which collects funds from Indian or foreign investors to invest in startups. These AIFs had invested Rs 4,682.28 crore in 388 startups. This was up from Rs 3123.20 crore committed to 47 AIFs, as of February 18, 2020, that had invested Rs 3,378.47 crore in 320 startups out of which Rs 912.91 crore was drawn from FFS.

On the other hand, the TV show Startup Champions will be a 12-week one-hour programme to showcase “innovations of the young and brilliant innovators and entrepreneurs of India,” according to Startup India. The programme will be telecasted at 6 PM Sunday on DD and 9 PM and 10 PM on Saturday on DD News and DD India respectively. “India is trying to create a startup ecosystem which will be based on the key principle — of the youth, by the youth, and for the youth,” Modi added. He said that India’s goal for the next five years will be to enable startups as unicorns to emerge as global giants. “Our startups should lead in area of futuristic technology. If this resolve is the collective resolve of BIMSTEC countries, then a very large population will benefit from it.”

However, the TV show isn’t the first such initiative taken by the government to showcase leading startups on television. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her 2019 budget speech had announced a television channel dedicated under the Doordarshan umbrella “to promote them, discuss growth issues, matchmaking with venture capital (investors) for funding and also for tax planning,” the minister had said. Startup India had also launched a weekly startups-focused television show called Startup Ki Baat in July 2019 for entrepreneurs to share their journey.

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