Startup Bengal is an initiative of the West Bengal Government that aims in helping small business enterprises and emerging entrepreneurs to achieve great heights in the world of business. This startup policy will be implemented from January 1st 2016 to December 31st 2021. A particular focus is for women and rural youth to join the movement and add momentum to the process of start-up leading the industrial growth of the state.
Objectives of Startup Bengal
The goals of Startup Bengal is to create an enabling environment to address the aspirations of the youth and to engage with all stakeholders of Startup eco-system for enhancing the start-ups. This is done with the help of accurate incubation and mentoring infrastructure to develop the human capital in providing fast track legal support and network of appropriate funding agencies.
Vision of Startup Bengal
The idea of this policy is to make the State emerge as one of the top start-up destinations in the country by providing the most enabling ecosystems to support and nurture start-up entrepreneurship in the State.
Mission of Startup Bengal
The purpose of Startup Bengal is as follows.
- To develop the start-up culture in Bengal by fostering greater social acceptance and recognition of promising start-ups using various programs.
- To encourage and inspire youth to actively consider entrepreneurship as a career choice by including appropriate learning modules within the university curriculum, organising relevant entrepreneurship development programs in vocational institutions and in supporting outreach programs, interactions with entrepreneurs, e-calls and entrepreneurship development centres across educational institutions in the State.
- To assist and strengthen the existing business incubators and accelerators in Bengal.
- To provide enabling mechanisms to start-ups, through training and skill development, capacity building, networking, access to acknowledgement and support services, etc.
- To implement a supportive regulatory framework that provides hassle-free and time-bound statutory clearances for all start-ups.
- To facilitate appropriate infrastructural support that is required to enable start-ups.
- To create a platform to access multiple avenues that provide financial assistance to start-ups in WestBegal, including West Bengal MSME Venture Capital Fund, bank loans, network of registered Venture/ Equity funds fiscal incentives.
- To create a supporting ecosystem and developing an environment that facilitaes10,000 start-ups in the next ten years.
- The growth of start-ups are largely sector-agnostic; it would be appropriate to give added focus to areas that are particularly suitable for West Bengal.
- Entrepreneurship initiatives are to enable sustainable and socio-economic development across the State.
- Entrepreneurship development activities that leverage the natural resources, human skills and other strength areas of the State.
- Innovative ideas, new business domains and sectors that have high future growth potential would be encouraged.
- Particular encouragement to sectors and capabilities that can catalyse growth across multiple industries, or can have a multiplier effect.
The eligibility criteria for Startup Bengal is given below.
- Any individual/ group of individuals having an innovative idea/ concept
- Students of EDCN Institutes
- Incubates of TBIs in the state
- Incubators/ investment bankers
All the assistance and incentives under the policy will be available to any start-up in the State by direct lateral access without passing through any government regulatory regime, a State Start-Up Council managed by the Chief Secretary and comprising of the Secretaries and heads of all concerned government department make sure effective operationalisation of the policy. It takes stock of the policy impact and recommends policy changes and systemic reforms to ensure that the start-ups in the State are well assisted.
The State develops an ecosystem with ideal access to start-ups across the State. The State strives to set up successful start-up sectors requiring quality services that are offered by the statutory domain in an enabling environment. This initiative creates appropriate infrastructure including the mentoring and handholding support leveraging the existing partnerships with leading technical business institutions like IIT Kharagpur, IIM Calcutta, CSIR Labs in West Bengal, IIEST etc. It facilitates new partnerships with professional and academic institutions of national reputation to rapidly expand their reach out with improved accessibility for new startups across the State.
- Pre-idea stage: Entrepreneurship Development Centre Network (EDCN)
- The State creates an Entrepreneurship Development Centre Network (EDCN), with the universities and leading higher education institutions across the districts in the State undertakes the role of creating entrepreneurial aspiration among the youth. EDCN facilitates the information dissemination and shares best practices in promoting entrepreneurship. More institutions will be authorised under EDCN to expand the network’s reach and impact.
- The State facilitates EDCN institutions to incentivise entrepreneurship by providing appropriate credit for students who are pursuing entrepreneurship activities like participation in EDPs, internships with start-ups, project works etc. The endeavour would be to incorporate this credit in their overall academic assessment using innovative course credit structure.
- The State facilitates capacity building of EDCN institutions via active collaboration leading Technical Business Incubators (TBI) in the State.
2. Idea/ Prototype stage of Start-ups: Business idea incubation
- Recognising the importance of business incubation as an essential driver of start-ups and a necessary tool for economic development to create jobs in the State in which the incubators play a significant role. A multipronged approach would be employed to render effective incubation assistance for the start-ups.
- The State assists in building the existing technical business incubators to enable them to incubate a higher number of start-up, apart from providing mentoring to the new incubators. Necessary assistance to create additional capacity for incubation infrastructure including the trained human resources, awareness and entrepreneurship development programs will be offered by the State.
- The State facilitates in establishing new incubators on government as well as private sectors.
- Preferential lease of land from the State Government according to the land policy to government recognised TBIs in the State.
- 20% of space that is available will be reserved in the existing and forthcoming industrial estate, SME clusters and Rural Craft Hub (ECH) having common facility centre for start-ups during their Proof of Concept (POC) development stage.
- Access to Government R&D labs to start-ups will be provided by MSME Technology Facilitation Centre (TFC) set up by State Government along with CSIR.
- Access to the latest technologies for start-ups will be facilitated by TFC.
Idea/ prototype stage of Start-ups: Networks of Mentor and Expert (MEN), Innovation Enabler Mechanism (IEM) and Kick-starter funds (KSFN).
- The State facilitates in the creation of a state-wide Mentor and Expert Network (MEN) for Start-ups. The start-ups can access MEN using the digital gateway that is maintained by the State.
- State facilitates the creation of a network of kick-starter funds to be accessed by start-ups for early funding support.
- State establishes an Innovation Enabler Mechanism (IEM) to address statutory compliance issues/ legal hurdles emanating from disruptive/ innovative technology or processes for which there is no specific enabling provision. IEM assists start-ups by assisting in getting legal/ regulatory support in the form of enabling legislation/ rules/ clarification from the Government. Directorate of MSME will be the nodal agency.
4. State facilitates access to effective networking and showcasing opportunities for promising start-ups using active linkage programmes.
5. The State creates a ‘Fund of Fund’ to incentivise funding of start-ups in Bengal.
6. The portal connects all the eco-system stakeholders, network of support, funding and service providers to enable ideal access.
The platform provides the following services.
- Free online project evaluation and assessment services.
- Access to a network of certified and venture capital funds.
- A digital application gateway used in WB MSME Equity Fund.
- Access to the resource base of mentors and professional experts.
- The facility for voluntary start-up registration is made available for start-ups to register themselves with the government voluntarily. The registration number/ ID assigned to a start-up serves as its single point of identification for dealing with the state government agencies/ department.
- A web-based tutorial that is necessary for statutory requirements for setting up a business enterprise and Single Application Gateway (SAG) for all statutory clearances.
- Pre-Idea Stage
- The State funds capital expenditure up to Rs. 10 lakhs to universities in the State to create a central Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC).
- The State funds relevant activities of the EDC’s to nurture entrepreneurship and promotion of innovation led start-up culture up to Rs, 10 lakhs per annum.
- The State provides funding assistance for EDCN capacity development programme for a maximum of 2 EDC faculty/ resource per EDC at one of the recognised TBIs int he states.
2. Ideas/ Proof of Concept Stage
- The Government facilitates the creation of a network of funds for sustenance or early-stage funding to start-ups.
- The cost of prosecution and filing of the patent application will be reimbursed to the incubated start-up companies as per MSME policy of Government of West Bengal.
3. Pilot Stage
- Access of priority equity funding from WB MSME Venture Capital Fund, where at least 20% of the fund is reserved to aid start-ups.
- Any fiscal incentive that is available under the State Government policy applies to Start-ups.
- A special fiscal incentive to investment bankers at 1% of the investment that is made by registered Venture Capital/ Private Equity Fund into Bengal- based start-ups as a success fee.
- Special fiscal incentives to incubators at 2% of the investment that is received by its incubators from SEBI registered Venture Capital/ Private Equity Fund into Bengal-based start-ups.
- Special grant to TBIs in the state at 5% of the investment that is received by its incubates from SEBI registered Venture Capital/ Private Equity Fund, or Grant received from the Government of India for promoting agricultural technology-based start-ups and social enterprise start-ups giving the solution to service-access problems in rural Bengal.
- Incentives provided by the existing policies/ schemes of the State Government will be given to registered startups.
4. Recognising the unique needs of TS sector start-ups, separate incentives and support to IT startups will be notified by the government.
5. To avail the incentives, the candidates have to register with the State Government.
Here are the steps to register for Startup Bengal.
Step 1: Login to the website
The user has to access login to the official website.
Step 2: Click the appropriate option
The user has to select the desired option from the Incubator/ MEN/ EDCN/ Kick-starter fund WB MSME Venture fund, etc.
Here is a step-by-step procedure to contact the authorities.
Step 1: Login to the website
The user has to login to the official state website.
Step 2: Contact Us tab
The user has to click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab.
Step 3: Enter the Details
The user has to enter all the required details.
Step 4: Click Send
To send the query, the user has to click the ‘Send’ option.