The Government of Rajasthan has given out funding to over 30 early-stage startups being incubated under its flagship iStart Rajasthan programme to foster the startup ecosystem in the space. The amounts range from Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 20 lakh as part of various financial incentives under the programme, including a sustenance allowance, seed funding, marketing assistance, as well as the Techno Fund.
The funds were given out after participating startups were invited to pitch before a panel of experts including various stakeholders in the ecosystem, as well as members of academia, the government and investors.
Abhay Kumar, Principal Secretary, Department of Information Technology & Communication, Government of Rajasthan, said in a statement,
“We have incentives for startups at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey right from ideation to scaling. We are also very pleased to see exponential growth in the startups applying for various incentives as part of iStart Rajasthan."
Several startups from Rajasthan have also received funding from other avenues as well. One recent example was the Udaipur-based agritech startup EF Polymer, which was selected for a one-year residency incubation programme by the Japanese government at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST). The startup will also get a funding of ¥10 million as part of the programme, as well as access to market, mentorship, clients, training, residency, and a connect with other investors.
The statement from the Department of Information Technology and Communications, which runs iStart, also said, "The state government already has one of the largest government run incubation network in the country which it is expanding further to other cities of the state."
As of September 2018, the iStart programme reportedly had over 700 startups registered on its platform. Rajasthan launched its Startup Policy in 2015, among the first five states to do so, and had allocated Rs 500 crore for investments in early-stage startups in the form of either equity or soft loans under the Techno Fund. Within this, funds were allocated for women entrepreneurs (Rs 100 crore) and for green initiatives (Rs 50 crore).
In addition to the 700-seater Bhamashah Techno Hub incubation centre in Jaipur, the programme also runs iStart Nest facilities to house emerging businesses across Jaipur, Kota, Udaipur, with plans to set up new ones in Jodhpur and other cities.