The\u00a0Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has launched ASPIRE Fund with a corpus of $8.9 Mn (INR 60 Cr) that aims at the promotion of entrepreneurship in rural India. The fund was launched by Kalraj Mishra, Minister, MSME, India.\r\n\r\nThe funds launched will be administered The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), as per an official statement.\r\n\r\nThey are a part of an initiative launched under \u201cA Scheme for Promotion of Innovation and Rural Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE),\u201d\u00a0with an aggregate corpus of $29 Mn for promoting rural entrepreneurship through technology business incubators.\r\n\r\nThe funds will be administered for supporting venture capital funds registered with the SEBI for investing in startups in the agro and rural space.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nCommenting on the development, Kalraj Mishra, Minister, MSME said, \u201cThe growth of the MSME is intrinsically linked to that of the country and the MSMEs are the catalysts of growth in the country. Government initiatives, such as Aspire Fund, is just one of the many steps in providing the necessary support environment to unleash the potential of MSME and to enable them to realise their true potential.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe SIDBI is the principal development financial institution for promotion, financing and development of industries in the MSME sector, and for coordinating the functions of other institutions engaged in similar activities.\r\n\r\nIt has been mandated to support various angel & venture capital funds for investing in startups and early stage enterprises that focus on innovation and development of the rural economy. Under the same, the SIDBI has been extending assistance directly to MSMEs in niche areas such as risk capital, receivable finance schemes, energy efficiency, and cleaner environment techniques.\r\n\r\nAs per an official statement, the ASPIRE Fund corpus would be sanctioned towards bringing growth and development of MSMEs in the agro and rural space. An amount of $3 Mn has already been deployed to two venture capital funds which are Ankur Capital and Omnivore Partners.\r\n\r\nSIDBI will also be responsible for the management of India Aspiration Fund (IAF), launched in August 2015. 35 funds have been deployed under the same amounting to about $181 Mn.\r\n\r\nWith an aim to aid startups in the country, the SIDBI has also been supporting enterprises via the web portal launched by the Prime Minister in March 2016. The online platform aims to connect various stakeholders in the startup ecosystem. Around 2,000 startups, 100 investors, and incubators have registered on the platform and cumulatively so far more than 75 applications have been accepted by the SIDBI for processing, according to an official statement.\r\n\r\nIn February this year, the SIDBI announced that it will raise the proposed fund amounting to $1.4 Bn (INR 10,000 Cr) corpus for \u2018Stand Up India Fund\u2019 from RBI. The fund will be disbursed to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and women entrepreneurs.\r\n\r\nFollowing that, in July it announced an \u00a0investment of $64 Mn (INR 428 Cr) in eight venture funds, as defined under the Startup India Action Plan.\r\n\r\nAccording to an official statement, SIDBI has provided support to 107 funds including 11 regional funds with a cumulative funding of around $455 Mn.