A Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industries and Entrepreneurship, otherwise known as ASPIRE is an initiative by the Government of India and promoted by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). The ASPIRE scheme was launched in 2017 with the aim of setting up technology centres to encourage technical prowess and innovation. The scheme also aims at setting up incubation centres to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in the agro industry.
In order to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship from the grassroots level, the Indian government has launched the ASPIRE scheme. The ASPIRE scheme is designed to promote entrepreneurship, adoption of technology and infrastructure to increase efficiency in socially and economically-backward areas.
The ASPIRE scheme is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and adopting technology to empower farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs. Here are some of objectives of the ASPIRE scheme:
Boosting entrepreneurship and a self-sufficient culture
Creating new jobs, resulting in reduced underemployment and unemployment
Facilitating business development and entrepreneurship, which leads to societal development
Promoting innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and technological advancement
Economic development that begins from the grassroot level
The ASPIRE scheme offers a number of different types of assistance to entrepreneurs and those engaged in farming and allied activities. Here are some of the different types of assistance provided by the ASPIRE scheme:
Value addition for forest and agriculture produce.
Automating agricultural and other related activities by enhancing existing infrastructure or adopting new technologies.
Helping entrepreneurs develop and fund new business models that are aimed at value addition, job creation, social impact, etc.
Recycling agricultural waste (including pre and post-harvest waste)
Here’s a list of individuals and entities that are eligible for the ASPIRE scheme:
Entrepreneur(s) who is looking to fund or develop their start-up.
Any research, technical or educational institutions that are focused on rural and agro industries.
All MSMEs with Entrepreneurs Memorandum Registration.
Existing business incubation centres that are currently operating under different Ministries and Departments of Government of India and institutions. These centres can include national or regional level institutions that are dedicated to enterprise development and incubation in the field of agricultural and rural development.
The application for the ASPIRE scheme is to be submitted to the ASPIRE Scheme Steering Committee of the Ministry of MSME. The Scheme Steering Committee is responsible for the smooth operation, coordination, policy integration and management support
Here are some of the components of the ASPIRE scheme and their key features:
The Livelihood Business Incubation is aimed at setting up and developing business incubators to help businesses incubate, imparting entrepreneurial education and helping entrepreneurs get access to funding for starting and running businesses.
The main objective of the Livelihood Business Incubation is encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit while creating jobs at a grassroots level, thereby reducing unemployment levels. Another added benefit of the Livelihood Business Incubation is that it helps in creating a favourable and sustainable environment for businesses to flourish.
Technology Business Incubation are incubation centres that are aimed at using adoption of technology and using technological advancements to boost the growth of businesses in India. The Technology Business Incubation is aimed at empowering entrepreneurs and small business owners with technical knowledge to help them take their businesses to new heights. The main activities taken up by Technology Business Incubation include incubation of businesses and business ideas, accelerator programmes, etc.
The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) helps businesses and entrepreneurs with business ideas that are commercially viable and scalable by helping them access funds that are required to develop their businesses. There are a number of means through which entrepreneurs can get financial assistance from the Small Industries Development Bank of India, this can include quasi-equity, venture capital fund, equity, angel fund, venture capital fund, challenge fund, etc.
The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises has entrusted the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) with the effective management of ASPIRE Fund. The ASPIRE fund has a total corpus of ₹310 Crore to support various Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), which in turn are expected to invest twice of SIDBI’s contribution in various MSME and startup businesses, particularly in rural and agro sectors.
Here are some of the objectives of the ASPIRE FUND:
To support early stage enterprises, businesses and startups that showcase entrepreneurship, innovation, forward-backward linkage with multiple value chains of manufacturing and service delivery.
These Alternative IInvestment Funds should invest a minimum of double the amount of contribution received under ASPIRE Fund in small enterprises, startups that fall under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) category. Out of this investment, at least 1X will be invested in rural and agro-focused early stage enterprises and startups that fall under the MSME category. Exclusively Information Technology-based applications, even if engaged in rural and agro-focuses industry verticals will not be eligible under this scheme.
Here are some of the benefits of the ASPIRE scheme:
The ASPIRE scheme helps in value addition in the agricultural and produce sector
The ASPIRE scheme helps in developing new and creative business models for value addition and aggregation in the rural areas.
The ASPIRE scheme helps in empowering new-age entrepreneurs, particularly in rural areas.
The ASPIRE scheme helps rural and agro-based industries adopt new technology and infrastructure to maximise productivity.
The ASPIRE scheme helps create new employment opportunities, which in turn can empower small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.
Applications for the ASPIRE can be sent to the ASPIRE Scheme Steering Committee of the Ministry of MSME. This committee will be responsible for coordination, overall policy as well as management support. The Council will be chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of MSME.
As of 2016, 80 Livelihood Business Incubators have been proposed to be set up by KVIC, NSIC, Coir Board or any other scheme or agency that’s aimed at promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, and/or the agro and related industries. A one-time grant will be provided, this grant will be equivalent to 100% of the cost of plant & machinery (excluding the cost of land and other infrastructure) or a maximum amount of ₹100 Lakhs.
You can apply for funding under the ASPIRE scheme by sending across a formal proposal to the Member Convener, Scheme Steering Committee, ASPIRE, Office of the Joint Secretary (ARI Division) to this address - Ministry of MSME, Room no. 171, Udyog Bhawan, New Delhi – 110011.
You should be able to find everything you need to know about the ASPIRE scheme by going on the official website of NSIC - www.nsic.co.in, or the Ministry of MSME - www.msme.gov.in.
You can only purchase plant and machinery with the grants received under this scheme.
The ASPIRE fund has a total corpus of ₹310 Crore.
Under Livelihood Business Incubation, there will be a provision for a funding of up to 100% of the cost of plant and machinery (this will not include land or infrastructure) or a maximum of ₹100 lakh, whichever is lower.
The ASPIRE scheme was introduced by the Government of India in 2015 to boost the growth of small and medium enterprises.
The full form of ASPIRE is ‘A Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industries and Entrepreneurship’.