Madhya Pradesh has embarked on a journey to promote the state as a preferred destination for startups and entrepreneurs, and for the last few years has been taking a number of significant steps in this direction. The state has been proactively working to offer startups end-to-end support through a number of programmes and initiatives, from coming up with startup-friendly policies, to conducting wide scale outreach programmes targeted at kindling the entrepreneurial aspirations among youth.
Startup policy and dedicated startup and incubator cell
In 2016, the state launched the MP Incubation and Startup Policy. The policy was formulated with a clear mission to align with the Union Government’s flagship ‘Startup India’ initiative. As part of the policy, startups are linked with the Mukhya Mantri Yuva Udyami Yojna. “If a startup proposes an idea to work with the government projects, we are ready to make amendments in policies so they can get a procurement up to Rs 30 lakh without the process of tendering,” said the chief minister.
The state has created a dedicated Startup & Incubator Cell within the Madhya Pradesh Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). For the first time in the state, all startup ecosystem members were brought together including incubators, startups, mentors, industry bodies, academic institutes, etc.
On the occasion of the launch of the MP Startup Conclave recently, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a Rs 100 crore startup fund to boost the entrepreneurial activity in the state.
This is another key step in the financial support provided to startups by the MP government. In 2017, the state government established the Madhya Pradesh MSME Fund with an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore and a green shoe option of Rs 50 crore to invest in startups and SMEs that had potential. Between 2013-18, the state government provided financial assistance worth Rs. 751.31 crore to the MSME sector, and also extended funding support to three private incubators
To further extend fiscal support to entrepreneurs, the state government also increased the minimum limit of financial support to them. Earlier, the limit started at Rs. 20,000, whereas now the minimum amount has gone up to Rs 50,000 and the maximum is Rs 10 lakh.
The state government’s startup policy also allows for eligible startups to get an interest subsidy of 8 percent per annum on the interest paid on loans obtained from scheduled banks/financial institutions, for a period of three years, subject to a maximum limit of Rs 4 lakh per year.
In other initiatives, the Madhya Pradesh government also facilitates the reimbursement of 25 percent of the lease rental subsidy to startup units established in the state under incubators, operating for a period of three years from the date of rent payment to incubator, subject to a ceiling of Rs 3 lakh per year.
Go-to-market support and skilling and training
While aspiring and entrepreneurs may not lack innovative ideas and concepts, they often face challenges when it comes to implementation. This can be due to a number of reasons, including skills gaps and lack of knowledge in a number of areas essential to grow the business.
The Madhya Pradesh government, has launched the Mukhyamantri Yuva Udyami Yojna, an initiative supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), aimed at “Building an institutional structure to provide marketing support and capacity building for Entrepreneurs”. Under this comprehensive entrepreneurship support programme, any resident of Madhya Pradesh aged between 18-40 years who has studied up till Class 10 can seek the district authorities’ help to set up a new small scale enterprise in the industry/ service sector for an amount of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 200 lakh.
To enable startups to successfully go to market, the state government also provides funds of up to Rs 10 lakh to eligible startups which they can use for marketing and to launch their product/service in the market.
The government has roped in academic institutes like IIM Indore, and is collaborating with them to design and conduct focused training modules for entrepreneurs to address the skills gaps among entrepreneurs and add to their knowledge.
In January 2017, Madhya Pradesh became the first state to have an entrepreneurship development centre under the Technical Assistance provided by the government of the United Kingdom, under their Skills for Jobs Programme.
In addition, during the Startup India MP Yatra 2018 held in July, the state government also recognised and felicitated the 12 best startup ideas across technology, social and agricultural domains.
Focus on women entrepreneurs
The connection between economic growth and prosperity and an ecosystem which fosters and encourages the growth of women entrepreneurs is well-established.
The Madhya Pradesh government has been proactively working to encourage entrepreneurship among women and has launched a number of schemes in this direction. In 2016, the state government increased the interest subsidy limit for women entrepreneurs at six percent for seven years, under the Mukhyamantri Yuva Udyami Yojana.
The state government also amended the MP Stores and Purchase rules to include startups and women entrepreneurs.
Intellectual Property support
Intellectual Property Rights is an area which startups an leverage to get competitive advantage. But they also require a fair amount of hand-holding as the process is complicated. In order to nurture innovation and creativity by startups and entrepreneurs, the MP government has in place a number of IP facilitation initiatives.
As of 2018, seven Intellectual Property (IP) support centres, 15 mentor networks, 17 incubation networks and 11 entrepreneurship development cells have been established.
The government also has measures in place to reimburse startups applying for patent/quality certification, both for domestic as well as international certifications. They are eligible to get a one-time reimbursement per patent or certification fee, or fee for prototype development.
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