Youth & Women Empowerment Cuts Across Diverse Concerns of State & UT Startup Policies

While Bihar launched its Startup Policy 2022 last month, Tamil Nadu and Chandigarh are also scheduled to unveil their policies soon this year

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As the startup boom continues in India, with over 75,000 such companies having been recognized by the Centre thus far, many state and Union territory governments are releasing their own startup policies tailored to specific regional concerns. Youth and women empowerment appears to be a common focus area in recent announcements, such as those that have come from Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Chandigarh.

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On July 29, Bihar industry minister Syed Shahnawaz launched the Bihar Startup Policy 2022 and the startup portal said, "We are providing opportunities to the young entrepreneurs of Bihar to move forward. After the Mukhya Mantri Udyami Yojna, the youth of the state must take advantage of this startup policy."

According to the minister, the Bihar Start-up Policy 2022 provides young entrepreneurs with a decade-long interest-free startup fund of INR 10 lakh. Notably, women entrepreneurs among them will receive the fund with a five per cent investment, totalling INR 10.5 lakh, and SC/ST and differently-abled startup founders are entitled to the fund amount with a 15 per cent incentive, totalling INR 11.50 lakh. There is other monetary support as well for training, product enhancement and nurturing.

Similarly, the Tamil Nadu government is also gearing up to unveil its startup and innovation policy to foster the development of startup businesses in the state as well as to enhance the latter's socioeconomic status, according to chief minister M.K. Stalin. New-age entrepreneurs and youth would certainly be involved in the mission to achieve the $1 trillion economy, he recently said.

In his attempt to boost the state's startup ecosystem, Stalin has thus far launched three regional startup hubs, namely in Madurai, Tirunelveli and Erode. The minister has also launched two more initiatives: incubator maturity model framework and community circles, with the latter focusing on promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among students. Additionally, the chief minister also awarded INR 5 lakh to 31 startups, 16 of which have women spearheading the ventures as founders or co-founders.

Interestingly, after several ups and downs, the Union territory of Chandigarh finally appears to be close to receiving a startup policy. The UT administration has reportedly drawn up a draft policy likely to be released this week and to be finalized by September end, according to Hargunjit Kaur, the industries secretary. The UT has allocated a budget of INR 10 crore to strengthen incubation centres which will help prepare the startups to grow as per the policy parameters. Along with expert assistance on matters ranging from launch to promotion, incentives to students and co-working space centres for professionals will also be provided.

First conceptualized in 2018, the Chandigarh Startup Policy is yet to be finalized due to the UT administration repeatedly going back and forth between a city-specific policy and following central government's norms before seemingly settling on the former in early 2022. Since a previous draft of the policy mandated that the administration set up a dedicated hub for aspiring and seasoned women entrepreneurs in the form of an Entrepreneurship Centre for Women (ECW), the new policy is also expected to continue with the theme of women empowerment.