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Centre announces fund to support startups in edtech, agritech, fintech domains

startups, computers

The government is looking to fund startups in areas of edtech, agritech, fintech, medical healthcare, among others, and has earmarked a budget of Rs 95 crore over a period of three years for this programme. The initiative, called Chunauti (Challenge Hunt Under NGIS for Advanced Uninhibited Technology Intervention) aims to identify around 300 startups, and provide them a seed fund of upto Rs 25 lakh each, and other facilities, the IT Ministry said in a statement.

Sectors: Startups in sectors such as edtech, developing products or solutions for online education, training teachers, e-learning, e-Assessments, and online collaboration are invited to participate. Similarly, startups working on peer to peer lending apps for individuals MSMEs, or UPI are also invited. Startups developing products or solutions using technologies like GIS ( geographic information system), big data, AI, drones, CCTVs, and robots among others, for contactless and remote surveying, quality assurance, monitoring, and reporting can also participate in the challenge.

Funding and incentives: Aside from the funding, startups selected as part of the Chunauti programme will be offered cloud credits from “leading third-party service providers”. It is not clear who these companies could be. Disbursal of the seed fund to startups will be based on milestones achieved, periodic review, and recommendations. Apart from that, start-ups that are in the ideation stage might be selected under a pre-incubation programme, and mentored for upto six months to develop their business plan. Such startups will be paid Rs 10,000 per month for a period of six months.

Selected startups will be offered a ready to work incubation space along with high speed internet access. They’ll be entitled to a security and vulnerability testing of their software products through the Software Product Security Testing (SPST) facility. They will also be given access to venture capital firms for further funding opportunities.

Chunauti will be conducted in a single stage. A designated committee will be formed for screening and evaluation of proposals sent by participating startups, and will go through a centralised “multi-tier screening process” with involvement of experts from respective domains. The deadline to submit proposals to the government is September 7, and the winners are expected to be announced on September 28.

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