Start-up idea to solve civic issues? BMC gets ready to fund itUpdated: Feb 10, 2020 23:47 IST
If you have a start-up idea that could resolve a civic governance issue, you now have a chance to get funds for the project from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to implement it. As a part of its start-up policy, the BMC has now decided to fund not just the professionals but also individual residents, students and citizen groups who come up with an actionable solution on a civic issue. The BMC will give preference to those start-ups for funding which can develop innovative ideas along with technical implementation.
The move to involve citizens for start-up ideas was announced in BMC’s annual budget 2020-21, presented on February 4. However, the budgetary allocation for the implementation of the start-up policy has been curtailed by 25% to ₹15 crore for the upcoming financial year.
“It is true that we were considering only professionals to come up with innovative ideas for start-ups. But the word ‘start-up’ itself indicates that anyone with an innovative idea, which can be implemented, can be a part of a start-up. So, if any citizen pitches an idea that not only offers solutions to civic issues but also has the potential to become a business model, the civic body will provide the necessary help to the individual,” a senior civic official said.
According to BMC’s start-up policy, the incubation centre at Andheri to aid the start-ups will house nascent entrepreneurs who can offer novel solutions on civic issues such as education, health management, waste management, transportation etc, by providing them with infrastructure and funds to get working on the start-up ideas. The aspirants selected to implement their start-up ideas will be granted a work order of up to ₹50 lakh to implement a pilot of the proposed solution.
The BMC’s special purpose vehicle (SPV), which will be implementing the start-up policy, will be called the Society for Mumbai Incubation Lab to Entrepreneurship (SMILE). For the start-up hub and innovation policy, the civic body has tied up with Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay’s (IIT-B) Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), which runs a similar start-up cell or incubation centre.
Until now, the BMC has not listed out a mechanism for the selection of aspirants, but the incubation centre for the initiative is ready.
James John, coordinator of non-governmental organisation Action for good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI), said, “The move is appreciable as citizens’ involvement with the government to work on civic issues is very important. This initiative has a scope to bring innovative ideas on the table that will work for everyone.”
The start-ups will be selected by a panel comprising BMC officials, IIT professionals and experts from the industry. The incubation centre will also have experts from various sectors such as finance, public sector and administration. The new firms can occupy the offices until they start making enough profits to run their organisation on their own. Similarly, if any firm fails to show good results or continues to make losses, they will be asked to move out of the incubation centre.