SIDBI launched Rs 60 crore ASPIRE fund to promote innovation, rural entrepreneurship and agricultural industry. “SIDBI would contribute to various angel/ venture capital funds for investing in start-ups/ early stage enterprises focusing on value addition in the rural economy and job creation through social impact funding,” Union Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj Mishra said at the launch of the fund.
The Rs 60 crore ‘fund of funds’ falls under ‘A Scheme for Promotion of Innovation and Rural Entrepreneurship and agro industry (ASPIRE)’ for supporting various venture capital funds registered with market regulator Sebi for investing in startups in the agro and rural space. “The government initiative, 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 realize their true potential,” he added.
At the launch event, SIDBI chairman and MD Kshatrapati Shivaji said that Rs 19.50 crore have already been sanctioned to two venture capital funds and one more proposal for commitment of contribution of Rs 10 crore is under process. Overall, ASPIRE, has an aggregate corpus of Rs 200 crore. SIDBI is also managing India Aspiration Fund (IAF), which was formally launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in August 2015 under which so far 35 funds have been extended an aggregate support of Rs 1,211.75 crore.