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Have a Science & Tech Startup Idea? These Govt Grants Will Help Early-stage funding in technology startups in India hit a 12-month low in May 2022; government grants are all the more important now

By Soumya Duggal

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The startup boom in India has made its presence felt deeply over the past couple of years across various sectors, especially science and technology. As per government data, 44 new billion-dollar tech companies emerged in the country last year alone. Inspired by the recent rise of well known names such as, PharmEasy, Renew Power, etc., young aspirants in the STEM field are looking to take their own entrepreneurial journeys forward. But there exists a roadblock in their path to success: funding concerns.

According to research firm Tracxn, early-stage funding in technology startups in India hit a 12-month low in May 2022. There was even a drop in late-stage funding, which came down below $1 billion in a month for the first time in a year. But all you young entrepreneurs in the science and technology sector need not fear! We have curated below a list of lucrative government grants that are sure to tentatively dispel your funding worries and give you a headstart in your business ventures.

1. Karnataka Semiconductor Venture Capital Fund (KARSEMVEN Fund): A SEBI-registered venture capital fund worth over INR 90 crore that funds Karnataka-based companies dealing with semiconductors, electronics system design and manufacturing, etc.

Area: Engineering sciences

Eligibility: Startups in early and growth stage, excluding seed stage.

Funding grant: Max. INR 9.2 crore; Min INR 2 crore.

Institution: Karnataka Asset Management Company Private Limited (KAMCO)


2. Industry Innovation Programme on Medical Electronics (IIPME) BIRAC: The programme aims to promote and foster cutting-edge technologies in the field of medical electronics through this scheme.

Area: Life Sciences & Biotechnology, Medical Sciences

Eligibility: Indian startups which are less than three years old from date of advertisement which have 51 per cent ownership, Indian LLPs and those which have Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) Recognition (only for early transition and transition to scale).

Funding Grant: As per the startup's stage. The Seed Grant (Idea to Proof of Concept) is INR 50 Lakhs for 18 months, early transitions funding include INR 100 Lakhs for 24 months and for those transitioning to scale, a mix of grant and loan for 24 months is provided.

Institution: Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt of India


3. Support for International Patent Protection in E&IT (SIP-EIT) – II for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Technology Startup Units: This is an initiative to facilitate MSMEs and technology startup units for international patent filing by providing financial support.

Area: Engineering Sciences

Eligibility: The Applicant should be registered under GoI's MSME Development Act 2006 or the Companies Act. Or the applicant should be a technology incubation enterprise or a startup located in an incubation centre/ park and registered as a company.

Funding Grant: INR 15 lakh per invention or 50 per cent of the total expenses incurred in filing and processing of patent application upto grant, whichever is lesser.

Institution: Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Govt of India


4. Students Innovations for Advancement of Research Explorations (SITARE): BIRAC has collaborated with SRISTI (Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions), a non-profit organization based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, for promoting grass-root level innovations at the university/college level among the students.

Area: Life Sciences & Biotechnology, Medical Sciences, Other Areas

Funding Grant:

  • BIRAC-SRISTI GYTI Awards: 15 entrepreneurial ideas at the university level are selected from across India every year and nurtured for 2 years with a grant of INR 15 lakhs.
  • BIRAC-SRISTI Appreciation Awards: 100 young innovators are awarded INR 1 lakh every year to take their innovations to the next level.

Institution: Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt of India


5. United States–India Science & Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF): The fund seeks to support and foster joint applied R&D to generate public good through the commercialization of technology developed through sustained partnerships between U.S. and Indian researchers and entrepreneurs.

Area: Life Sciences & Biotechnology, Medical Sciences

Eligibility: Proposals must have at least one Indian and one U. S. partner for the complete duration of the proposed project. At least one of the partners must be an entrepreneurial entity (preferably a small or medium scale enterprise) and the team may include any combination of the following: (i) Incorporated companies including start-ups; or (ii) Non-incorporated entities; or (iii) Academic, governmental and non-governmental research institutions or their consortia (iv) Individuals.

Funding Grant:

  • Ignition Stage I: Grant support up to INR 50,00,000/-
  • Ignition Stage II: Grant support up to INR 1,00,00,000/-

Institution: Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt of India


Soumya Duggal

Former Feature Writer


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