iStart: A Unique Fund-raising Assistance Program for Startups
Startups and aspiring entrepreneurs can join access these initiatives via www.istart.rajasthan.gov.in - a high-quality online platform will also a single source for startups to access the range of services, participate in programs and increase their chances of success.
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The Government of Rajasthan recently launched iStart, a unique platform to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation in the State. Managed by Applyifi, the initiative is designed to assist startups in increasing their chances of success by making it easier for them to access mentoring and funding.
The most important differentiator and the key value proposition is the ‘Assess-Improve-Access’ model. I.e. startups will be first provided a detailed assessment report and Applyifi scorecard, based on which startups will undergo customized and group skill building and mentoring programs to help them strengthen their venture on areas that need improvement. Once ready, startups will be connected to investors and potential customers. Startups that graduate from the program will also get fast-tracked to pitch for grants and investments from the Government of Rajasthan.
Speaking on the initiative, Principal Secretary IT&C Rajasthan Sh. Akhil Arora said, “We wanted to create a meaningful platform. Not just one more platform for start-ups. The programs are all well-thought through with very clear and measurable deliverables to ensure that we can help more start-ups succeed”.
iStart Rajasthan will nurture innovation and entrepreneurship, which would further help in the economic growth and development of the State.
The iStart Rajasthan Initiative has 3 components:
- Qrate (Stands for Quality Rating and Curation):
A unique rating system based on the Applyifi scorecard for startups.
Under the Qrate program, Applyifi will first assess startups on various parameters of business and provide them a detailed scorecard and assessment report on their strengths and weaknesses. The assessment report will also provide startups a perspective on how investors will view their venture, and thus provide them actionable input on getting their startup better prepared for fund raising.
Startups will undergo a comprehensive 1-month skill-building program wherein they will be provided customized mentoring and expert advice. Once the startups are ready, they will be presented to relevant investors and/or customers via online presentation every month, and a quarterly ‘Startup Showcase Yatra’ across Mumbai, Delhi NCR and Bangalore.
Investors can also join the online platform where they can view curated startups that have been made business-ready via the QRate program. As a result, the initiative will also be a source for investors to find high-quality startups to engage with.
Startups will be given the iStart and QRate cards, which will provide them access to several benefits and offers from partners. All startups will start with the basic iStart card, but will move up the ladder – bronze, silver, gold, platinum and signature cards – as their scores improve. Depending on their Qrate score, Startups will be eligible for a tiered structure of online and offline benefits, including via partners.
- Challenge for Change: This is a unique initiative where the Government of Rajasthan will give contracts for tech-enabled solutions for various citizen services, or address big issues like healthcare, education, sanitation, transportation, transparency, efficiency in operations, etc.
This initiative has a multi-pronged objective - (a) it will help the state government find solutions that can will have a large-scale social impact and (b) help innovators and entrepreneurs with game-changing social impact solutions take their concepts to market.
- Rajasthan Stack: A set of APIs which lets the governments, startups, developers and businesses to utilize the unique digital infrastructure to resolve the issues/problems that the state of Rajasthan is currently facing. It works towards providing 4 unique technological layers - Paperless layer, Cashless layer, Presence layer and Consent layer – on which startups can build solutions on.
Prajakt Raut, founder Applyifi said “The objective of the program is to assist anyone with an entrepreneurial aspiration to take their concepts and business to the next level – be it at idea/concept stage or MVP or early-growth stage startups. Additionally, initiatives like alumni angel networks will help aspiring entrepreneurs raise smaller sums that they may require to develop their MVPs and test their concepts in the market.”
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