The ASPIRE Scheme aims to unravel this problem and make more employment opportunities through entrepreneurship in rural areas.


ASPIRE Scheme or Scheme for promotion of innovation, entrepreneurship and Agro-Industry is promoted by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. In the 2014-15 Budget, the then Hon’ble Finance Minister Late Shri Arun Jaitley announced that “To establish Technology Centre Network to promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Agro-Industry, I propose to set up a fund with a corpus of Rs.200 crores.” and ”A nationwide “District level Incubation and Accelerator Programme” would be haunted for incubation of latest ideas and providing necessary support for accelerating entrepreneurship.”.

The ASPIRE Scheme may be a result of that announcement aimed toward promoting innovation, Entrepreneurship and agro-industry.

ASPIRE Scheme Background

Development of the rural economy has been one of the prime concerns for the Government of India. Accordingly, efforts are made on endless basis for improving the economic and social well-being of individuals in rural areas on a sustainable basis. Despite the sincere efforts, the problems of poverty, unemployment, drudgery and migration still exist in the rural economy. There is a requirement to deal with these problems by creating employment opportunities within the rural areas and this might be done by fixing of small enterprises within the Agro-based industry sector more so as nearly 56 you look after the population remains hooked in to agriculture.

There is ample scope for innovation, value addition and entrepreneurship development during this sector. This is possible only by skill up-gradation, handholding, mentoring, incubation and credit support aimed especially at rural youth and ladies providing them employment opportunities in rural areas. The ASPIRE Scheme aims to unravel this problem and make more employment opportunities through entrepreneurship in rural areas.

Objective of ASPIRE Scheme

The Main Objectives of the ASPIRE scheme are to:

  1. To Create new jobs and reduce unemployment;
  2. Promote entrepreneurship culture in India;
  3. Grassroots economic development at the district level;
  4. Facilitate innovative business solution to meet the social needs; and
  5. Promote innovation to further strengthen the competitiveness of the MSME sector.
The ASPIRE Scheme fund has an Rs.200 crores corpus, which can be dedicated for the subsequent uses:
  1. Automation of agricultural practices and activities which are related;
  2. Value addition to agriculture and forest produce;
  3. Recycling of agricultural pre/post-harvest wastages, off-farm but farm linked, animal husbandry etc.,
  4. Business models that adds value to the rural areas;
  5. Business models for the creation of local employment in rural areas; and
  6. Business models for social impact.
Utilization of Rs.200 Crores ASPIRE Scheme Corpus

The Rs.200 crore corpus of the ASPIRE Scheme utilizes for the subsequent purposes:

Fund of Funds Creation with SIDBI – Rs.60 Crores

A Fund of Funds will be created under Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and Rs.60 Crores will be allotted for the same. SIDBI by using innovative means of finance like Equity, Quasi-Equity, Angel fund, risk capital fund, Impact funds, Challenge funds etc. will need to enable ideas/innovation and convert these into commercial enterprises.

This fund targets mainly those initiatives which need support and nurturing to succeed in developing technology and business enterprise in the near future. Areas of focus for the fund with SIDBI are going to be forward-backwards linkage within the chain of producing , service delivery and accelerator support for agro-based industries.

Support & fixing of Incubation Centers – Rs.16.00 Crores

The incubation centers assistance will be of two types, i.e. supporting existing incubation centers or fixing of dedicated incubation centers within the area of Agro-based Industries. Plans are made to support 20 existing incubation centers [Rs.30 lakh x 20 Centers = Rs. 6 Crores]. Setting up of latest incubation centers within the area of Agro-based Industry [INR 1 Crore x 10 Centers = Rs.10 Crores].

Incubation of Ideas – Rs.13.50 Crores

Support would be provided for incubation of ideas at the inception stage, each idea would be provided support of Rs.3 lakh per idea to be paid upfront to the incubator to nurture the idea. Such innovative and successful ideas which are ready for commercialization through developing prototype or proof of concept (POC) or test marketing/ validation in the case where PoC already exists will be supported by the incubator out of the Seed Capital fund . 450 ideas to be supported at the inception stage at Rs. 3 lakh each [INR 3 lakh x 450 Ideas=INR 13.50 crores];

Creation of commercial enterprise out of Innovative Ideas – Rs.30 Crores

A one time grant of Rs 1.00 crore are getting to be provided to the eligible incubator as Seed Capital. The Incubator will invest as Debt/ Equity funding up to 50% of total project cost of INR 20 Lakh per startup whichever is less for setting up of the start-ups to the incubate for commercialization of the innovative and successful ideas. The returns are plough to the Seed Capital Revolving Fund. 150 such innovative and successful ideas to be supported for commercial enterprise creation after successful incubation [Rs. 20 lakh x 150 start-ups = Rs.30 Crores];

Accelerator Programme for Incubates – Rs.2 Crores

For the creation of successful business enterprises within the domain of agriculture and rural industrialization, the available accelerators would be providing one-stop holistic support to the incubates to make them leapfrog to the next level by conducting regular workshops, mentoring support under this subcomponent. Rs. 2 Crores for Accelerators to carry 10 workshops for incubates [10 workshops x 20 lakh per workshop = Rs. 2 Crores];

Livelihood Business Incubation (LBI) – Rs.62.50 Crores

The objective of this component of the Scheme is to set business incubators to incubate, impart entrepreneurship, skill development training to youth, mentoring and hand holding with facilitation for funding with a view to empower them to set up their own business enterprises. The prime focus of these incubators is to create jobs at the local level and reduce unemployment by creating a favorable ecosystem for entrepreneurial development in the country.

The Main Focus Area under the livelihood incubation is to require up those commercial activities which are already established to make enterprises on an outsized scale. 80 Livelihood Business incubators have planned with an investment of Rs.1 crore per incubator in case of Government-owned Incubation Center. Rs.50 lakh investment per incubation centre is envisaged,  for the incubation centre having Public-Private Partnership Model.

Edited by Dhivya A

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