Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment launched the ‘Ambedkar Social Innovation and Incubation Mission’ (ASIIM) under Venture Capital Fund for SCs on 30th September with a view to promoting innovation and enterprise among Schedule Caste students, studying in higher educational institutions. Ministry of Social Justice had launched the Venture Capital Fund for SCs (VCF-SC) in 2014-15 with a view to developing entrepreneurship amongst the SC/Divyang youth and to enable them to become 'job-givers’. The objective of this fund is to provide concessional finance to the entities of the SC entrepreneurs.It hopes to support 1,000 innovative ideas till 2024 through a synergetic work with the Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) set up by the Department of Science and Technology.
The key features of ASIIM include:
·1,000 SC youth would be identified in the next 4 years with start-up ideas through the Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) in various higher educational institutions.
·They will be funded Rs. 30 lakhs in 3 years as equity (investment) funding so that they can translate their start-up ideas into commercial ventures.
·To support, promote, hand-hold the start-up ideas till they reach commercial stage by providing liberal equity support
·Successful ventures would further qualify for venture funding of up to Rs. 5 crore from the VCF for SCs.
·Will give acceleration to PM’s initiative ‘Start Up India’.
Youth who have been identified by the TBIs will be eligible under the scheme. Others, like students who have been awarded under the ‘Smart India Hackathon’
or ‘Smart India Hardware Hackathon’ conducted by the Ministry of Education are also eligible.
Apart from ASIIM, the government has undertaken other initiatives for the economic development of SCs like - the Stand-up India Scheme for financing SC/ST and women entrepreneurs; the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation for financing income generation amongst SC/STs, etc.