iStart: Dreamland for entrepreneurs

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Innovative Flagship of Rajasthan for end to end promotions of Startups .

iStart Rajasthan is the flagship program by the Department of Information Technology & Communication, Government of Rajasthan to foster innovation, create jobs and facilitate investment in the State. iStart is an integrated comprehensive platform, which is a one-of-its-kind, single window resource for startups, investors, incubators, accelerators and mentors. The focus of this initiative is on idea stage, early stage and startups with MVP (Minimal Viable Product). This initiative helps the startups minimize the bureaucracy associated with the initiation of startup operations. Startups who want to work in Rajasthan can visit the iStart portal and all the requirements with respect to the startup ecosystem like registering, approval or applying for funds can be accomplished via this platform. This platform also facilitates the startup to connect with 100+ investors which are already on boarded on the platform.

All startups are evaluated via QRrate program, which is recognized all over India by leading investors and VCs. QRate program is a rating mechanism which helps a startups evaluate themselves and provides avenues for self-improvement.

In order to have the right mix in its startup portfolio, and as a part of the iStart initiative, the Government of Rajasthan has announced Bhamashah Startup Promotion Fund of INR 500 crore.

Also to encourage the envolvement of womens and the green thinking. The women-led and green solutions startups and has earmarked INR 100 crore and INR 50 crore for both respectively.

The funds for green startups will be payable from the funds available with Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board. The funding has been capped at 25 lakhs per startup. The amount is based on the Qrate rankings which is based on the Qrate Assessment Framework. Startups are ranked as Bronze and Silver (capped at 15 Lakhs), Gold and Platinum (capped at 20 Lakhs) and Signature (capped at 25 Lakhs). Fund will be provided in terms of loan and equity to startups registered in Rajasthan.

“iStart is the flagship startup incubation programme of the Rajasthan government which is working towards presenting Rajasthan prominently as a major startup hub of the country,” said Akhil Arora, Principal Secretary, IT&C.

The platform has all the options for startups viz incubators, VCs, accelerators, etc. for people who want to be a part of the startup ecosystem either private or public, at one place.

iStart has been provided with great infrastructure by the government of Rajasthan. With a huge complex “BHAMASHAH TechnoHub”, equipped with state of art office facilities. It provides entrepreneurs with a superb, connective, no-walls and mutual environment to work in.

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So How Does iStart Work?

At iStart, the startups are first provided with a detailed assessment report and a scorecard called Qrate Scorecard. For the next step, startups undergo customized and group skill-building as well as mentoring programs. Coupled with the assessment done in the first phase, this helps startups to zero in on the areas that need improvement.

After the successful completion of the first two phases, participants are connected with investors and potential customers via the iStart platform. Startups mentored from the programme are then offered opportunities to pitch their ideas for grants and investments from the Rajasthan government.

Qrate Ranking is the most important parameter of iStart which sets the benchmark for the startups. Currently, Qrate is the only startup rating mechanism in the country where the startups are ranked on the basis of bronze, silver, gold and signature categories. There are 250 different tangible parameters on the basis of which it rates the startups. Once the rating is done, on basis of these ratings, the platform offers multiple benefits to the startups including the benefit of funding.

Now, in accordance with their Qrate ranking, startups can avail all these facilities as well as raise their seed fundings from the VCs and angel investors, on the iStart platform itself. Further, the iStart platform also facilitates and pays for all kinds of benefits that startups need – from broadband to patent filing and from legal advisory to applying for incubators.

This programme created such an environment in the state that startups found it easy to get access to knowledge (know-how related to their respective businesses) and funding through VC firms and government schemes.

Now with over 700 startups on the platform, the iStart officials are taking more initiatives to fulfill their vision of becoming a major startup hub. And as per a government official, the state government is also working to launch the biggest incubator of India which would have a capacity to incubate 700 startups at one place.

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