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The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched a $15 Mn (INR 100 Cr) programme to support startups in India.

National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) is an umbrella programme conceived and developed by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship division, Department of Science & Technology, and Government of India, for nurturing ideas and innovations in knowledge-based and technology-driven startups.

 Key Components of NIDHI –

  1. NIDHI-GCC – Grand Challenges and Competitions for scouting innovations;
  2. NIDHI-PRomotion and Acceleration of Young and Aspiring technology entrepreneurs (NIDHI-PRAYAS) – Support from Idea to Prototype;
  3. NIDHI-Entrepreneur In Residence (NIDHI-EIR) – Support system to reduce risk;
  4. Startup-NIDHI through Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centres (IEDCs) in academic institutions; encouraging Students to promote start-ups;
  5. Startup Centre in collaboration with MHRD; Inculcating a spirit of entrepreneurship in National Institutions of Higher Learning;
  6. NIDHI-Technology Business Incubator (TBI) – Converting Innovations to start-ups;
  7. NIDHI-Accelerator – Fast tracking a start-up through focused intervention;
  8. NIDHI-Seed Support System (NIDHI-SSS)- Providing early stage investment;
  9. NIDHI Centres of Excellence (NIDHI-CoE) – A world-class facility to help startups go global.

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NIDHI would help startups with initial funding. Startup-NIDHI would financially support each of the selected startups with $15K (INR 10 lakh) which will be given as ignition grant/award.

Startup-NIDHI aims to provide financial support to 20 student startups each year. The startups essentially have to be student startups and should be a student startup of IEDC/NewGen IEDC. Startups selection would be through a national level competition.

Under NIDHI Prayas, the department plans to set up 10 Prayas centres across incubation centres supported by it. The other schemes include NIDHI Seed Support System for funding early-stage startups and NIDHI Centres of Excellence, which will help startups go global.

Harkesh Mittal, head of the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board at the Department of Science and Technology said, “DST will soon revise the total funding limit to startups at supported incubators from up to INR 50 lakh to INR 1 Cr. The revised investment limit is soon to be implemented.”

DST has supported over 100 technology-focussed incubators. It plans to support another 15-20 incubators this year. It usually supports incubators with grants up to INR 15 Cr to set up an incubator. The funding grant depends upon various factors, varying from the city, type of startups the incubator is catering to and more.

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