At the 4th Bihar Entrepreneurship Summit (BES), organised by Bihar Entrepreneurs Association, on Tuesday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar released Bihar StartUp Policy 2017.
Bihar is among the few states in India to have a startup policy that was drafted and introduced in 2016. It was later repealed to incorporate changes based on the suggestions and feedback, and was re-launched last week.
Speaking at the event, Kumar noted the various government schemes introduced to empower women and encourage the youth to take to entrepreneurship. "We have given the youth and entrepreneurs a revised startup policy, and set up a Rs 500-crore fund to encourage and facilitate entrepreneurship," he said. He also asked the committee shortlisitng the startup applications for funding to be more communicative so there was complete transparency in the selection process.
Addressing the entrepreneurs at the BES event, Jai Kumar Singh, Minister of Industries, Government of Bihar, said,
We decided upon the startup policy in 2016, and in 2017 we implemented it too. We have given it much thought, taken expert advice and then brought out this policy because we want our youth to have the very best. Our generation used to go looking for a job, but today we want the youth to be their own boss. It is a challenge that we want our youth to accept.
The aim of the policy is to enable Bihar to emerge as the most preferred destination for startups and entrepreneurs.
The policy has four primary pillars called YUVA. Y stands for 'Yes to startups' (this includes awareness, networking and mentoring campaign). U is for 'Unleashing regulatory enablers for supporting startups', V stands for 'Vibrancy in the education system to encourage and facilitate startups', and, finally, A stands for 'Access to financing and incubation support'.
The startup policy has set up a nodal agency with an initial corpus of Rs 50,000 lakh. Startups will receive financial assistance up to Rs 10 lakh as an interest-free loan for 10 years. The entrepreneur will contribute five percent of this financial assistance. The policy also states that it will facilitate access to angel investors, provide free-of-cost valuation for startups, and that the government will also bear all costs associated with filing domestic patents.
The project management unit is to specifically handhold SC/ST/women/differently-abled entrepreneurs in setting up their ventures. An additional 15-percent incentive for SC/ST/differently-abled, and five percent for women-run enterprises is also set down in the policy.
Financial assistance is to be given to incubators too and the policy stipulates a reimbursement of the cost of incubating a startup, up to Rs 2 lakh.
Regulatory enablers and infrastructure for startups
Additionally, the policy provides a one-stop portal for all kinds of statutory clearances from regulatory authorities, exemption from licencing/registration/inspection requirements under various State Acts for a period of five years. Reservation of 10 percent in forthcoming industrial parks/SME clusters for startups/incubators/common infrastructure is also mentioned.
To facilitate entrepreneurship, the government will also establish entrepreneurship development cells and facilitation centres at educational and professional institutes, provide mentors to startups, and give out awards too.
On a free-of-cost basis for three years startups can avail common infrastructure support such as R&D labs, testing labs, software, hardware such as printers etc., and shared services such as accounting, technology etc.
Bihar Innovation Hub
The Bihar Innovation Hub will provide incubation services to startups, including shared workspaces, access to funding, valuation advisory etc. among other things.
Singh added, "This is a phase where the challenges and bottlenecks will appear and seem insurmountable, but the best way for the youth to overcome these challenges is through continued perseverance."