India Aspiration Fund to boost prospects of MSME start-ups

CRISIL has analysed 1,050 start-up micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that were rated on the basis of their 2013-14 (financial year April 1 to March 31) financials. For arriving at start-ups, CRISIL has considered MSMEs that started business operations after 2010. The MSMEs featured in the sample are primarily non-e-commerce enterprises that are in the manufacturing and services space.

The analysis reveals that seven sectors – engineering; construction; agri products; textile; printing & packaging; transport & logistics; and outsourcing & support services – account for 68 per cent of these, and 41 per cent are operational in the engineering, construction, and agri products sectors. Several of these sectors form part of the government’s 25 sectors under the ‘Make in India’ programme.

Additionally, the Government of India has recently announced a Rs 10,000-crore India Aspiration Fund to provide equity capital for MSMEs-based start-ups. The average net worth of the CRISIL-rated MSME start-ups in the sample was Rs 35 lakh as on March 31, 2014. CRISIL believes that the new fund provides start-ups with the opportunity to raise capital and to grow, and thus contribute to strengthening the economy.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley has announced the launch of India Aspiration Fund with an initial corpus of $305 Mn set under SIDBI.

The India Aspiration Fund to be set up as “fund of funds” is intended to “catalyse tens of thousands of crores of equity investment into startups and MSMEs (micro and small enterprises), creating employment for lakhs of persons, mostly educated youth, over the next four to five years,” Sidbi said.

The fund will be investing in venture capital funds for meeting the equity requirement of MSME startups.

The India Aspiration Fund will have an initial corpus of $305 Mn. “As and when required, more money can be infused,” Jayant Sinha said.

$115 Mn (INR 753 Cr.) of the total $305 Mn (INR 2,000 Cr.) seed capital has already been sanctioned for the equity fund and disbursements have started. According to SIDBI chairman and managing director Kshatrapati Shivaji, the total, $305 Mn of seed capital can be leveraged to raise $3.8 Bn (INR 25,000 Cr.)

The IAF will be managed by an investment committee which includes Harkesh Mittal, Secretary, Technology Development Board, Manipal Global Education Chairman TV Mohandas Pai, Info Edge founder Sanjeev Bhikchandani, former Nasscom chairman Kiran Karnik and Indian Angel Network cofounder Saurabh Srivastava.

“Any move by the government to assist startups is welcome. However, government announcements are usually met with skepticism, and rightly so. But I am quite encouraged to see the way “The India Aspiration Fund” is structured. Since this is going to be a fund of funds administered by SIDBI, the final money will be routed through professional funds and not some government departments. That should fuel the startup ecosystem. Two thumbs up,” said Ajeet Khurana.