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Kerala govt looking into possibility of setting up a dedicated VC fund for startups : CM

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the state government is looking into the possibility of setting up a dedicated Venture Capital (VC) fund for start-ups, besides opening up the government market for startup consortiums and hiking the special fund for startup development.

A proposal to set up the VC fund with the backing of the public sector Kerala Bank and Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) is under active consideration, Mr. Vijayan said during an interaction with start-up founders, organized by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) here on Monday evening.

Noting that these initiatives would further strengthen the robust government-startup relationship, the Chief Minister said that the proposals for start-ups announced in the state budget for 2021-22 would be implemented at the earliest.

“It’s the policy of the government to offer necessary financial aid to startups to blossom. The government will consider increasing the special fund for the development of start-ups. Besides, the state will take further measures to enable entrepreneurs to improve their skills,” he said.
Mr. Vijayan said “The government will think about earmarking more funds to strengthen the marketing side of startups. They can create a strong impression at the National and International level through expos and industrial cooperation. From this year the government has decided to form an ‘International Launching Pad’ for startups,” the Chief Minister said.

Elaborating on various schemes and events of KSUM, he said women entrepreneurs will get up to Rs 15 lakh as loan. Startups led by women have been given a moratorium of two years for aid from KSUM.

He said for facilitating the investment of NRIs in startups, there are programs like the annual Seeding Kerala events and monthly Investor Cafe.

The Chief Minister said startups have already been given complete exemption in their rent for the last four months and there will be a partial exemption in the rent amount for the next three months.

“Under KSUM’s Fund of Fund scheme, 11 startups have been given aid through Kerala Specific Angel Fund, which is the first-of-its-kind in the country,” Mr. Vijayan added.

According to startup circles, the move will enable more start-ups to participate in big government tenders. This is a novel model to bring business to startups through the government. The budget also has proposed to bring in startup innovation zones in government departments, which will help evolve problem-solving innovations for the benefit of the public.

Around 100 startup founders, 70 of them online, made suggestions and demands for further strengthening the startup ecosystem in the state.

KSUM is the nodal agency for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.

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