Govt asks top 50 cos to fund incubators as CSR spend

NEW DELHI: The government has asked the country’s top 50 companies to fund incubators as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) spend, a move meant to strengthen the startup ecosystem.

Large companies have to allocate 2% of their profits towards CSR but have competing demands – from building toilets to funding education. In a letter to companies, industrial policy and promotion secretary Ramesh Abhishek has added funding existing incubators in government-recognised institutions or setting up new ones to the list, said sources. “It will help upgrade the existing ones and create linkages for new companies that entrepreneurs are setting up,” said an official.

The lack of incubation facilities has been identified as a key gap in the startup ecosystem which help in providing mentorship support apart from access to networks and markets.

The government had planned to set up 35 new incubators in existing institutions, with Centre and states chipping in with 80% of the funding, while the rest coming from the private sector. An equal number is to come up in the private sector with the Centre giving 50% grant.

The government has listed 68 incubators across the country and has also asked for applications for registration of new ones.

The move comes ahead of a meeting that has been convened by the Centre on Saturday where states such as Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Telangana and Kerala, which have put in place startup policies, have been asked to share their experience with other states. Similarly, angel investors and venture capital funds have asked to address the funding concerns, while central government ministries would list the steps on implementation of the startup action plan that was finalised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year.

Times of India, 21 July 2016



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