SIDBI plans Rs 2,000 cr fund-of-funds for startups


The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) said it has set aside Rs 2,000 crore for a fund-of-funds to pick-up equity in startups under the Rs 10,000-crore corpus announced in the Budget.

SIDBI will use a part the remaining Rs 8,000 crore of the budgetary allocation to extend soft loans to micro, small and medium units at concessional rates, SIDBI chairman and managing director Kshatrapati Shivaji told reporters in Mumbai. "We will be utilising a part of the money allocated in the Budget for a fund-of-funds which will take equity interest in startup enterprises while the rest (Rs 8,000 crore) will be for soft and term loans," Shivaji said.

The contribution towards the fund of funds will be around Rs 2,000 crore, he said, but didn't give exact details of the amount to be devoted for lending or the number of beneficiaries. Under the scheme, startups and MSMEs can get soft loans at 10-12 per cent interest, which is lower than what banks offer, he said. The lending will be done to companies which are taking the 'Make in India' initiative ahead, he said, adding the lending scheme has been given the acronym 'SMILE' which centres around lending to small units.

On April 30, Parliament was informed that the Reserve Bank had allocated Rs 10,000 crore to SIDBI to set up a venture capital (VC) fund to attract private capital for startups, which was first announced in the budget. "The whole fund is operational now. In the fund of funds, already screening process has started, and a six-member venture capital investment committee which includes Mohandas Pai has been set up," said Shivaji.

The Budget had announced the setting up of the Mudra Bank, which is under SIDBI and aimed at refinancing the debt of micro-enterprises. Shivaji, who also heads Mudra Bank, said there is no issue of over-lap between the two institutions -- SIDBI and Mudra Bank. "We will not be competing. In fact, they will be playing a complementary role to us," he said, adding given the large number of micro enterprises, there is a need to develop the entire ecosystem which will support to such companies.

According to PTI, Mudra Bank has already given out over 5,000 'Mudra cards' to beneficiary enterprises and over Rs 120 crore has been refinanced," he said. The bank is mulling to raise funds through bond sales, Shivaji said, adding the Rs 20,000-crore initial corpus can be leveraged to raise the money. The leverage can be of up to 10 times of the Rs 20,000 crore, he said, but declined details. Mudra Bank will be soon announcing the initiative, he added.

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