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NEW DELHI : As many as 42 startups cutting across multiple domains including ed-tech, agri-tech, and fintech, have been selected in 'CHUNAUTI' screening contest and will now be eligible for benefits under the Next Generation Incubation Scheme, a top STPI official said on Tuesday.

Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) Director General Omkar Rai told PTI that these startups were selected through a rigorous process and screened through multiple rounds that included presentation of business plans, innovative ideas, feasibility of the concept before a panel of eminent experts, including key industry representatives.

Over 6,700 applications had been received, about 1,820 applications qualified and 111 applicants were selected for the presentation round.

In the final selection round which concluded recently, 42 startups were chosen in domains such as ed-tech, agri-tech and fin-tech solutions for masses (18 startups), infrastructure and remote monitoring (8), jobs and skilling, linguistic tools and technologies (4), medical healthcare, diagnostic, preventive and psychological care (5), and supply chain, logistics and transportation management (7).

The Next Generation Incubation Scheme (NGIS) is being executed by STPI, which is an organisation under the Ministry of Electronics and IT. NGIS aims to identify, in all, around 300 startups (over 3 years) working in identified areas and provide them with a seed fund of up to 25 lakh and other facilities.

The government has earmarked an amount of about 95 crore over 3 years for the programme. More startups will be onboarded through the duration of the scheme.

"We have picked up 42 startups finally for onboarding under `CHUNAUTI', which is a screening process for selecting young entrepreneurs. The scheme is Next Generation Incubation Scheme, and CHUNAUTI was the shortlisting process," Rai said.

The scheme "enthused" young entrepreneurs in smaller towns, and is expected to foster an enabling environment of entrepreneurship in Tier 2 and 3 locations.

"The response was overwhelming, despite the backdrop of the pandemic. Given the response this time, we expect the next phase to be even more exciting," Rai pointed out.

The selected startups will be incubated by STPI and provided with stipends/seed funding and other facilities to set up their venture. The scheme has more than 125 mentors and 46 knowledge partners.

"These 42 startups are just the beginning, and on average we will host 100 startups every year...," Rai said.

The NextGen Startup Challenge was launched by Minister of Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, in August 2020. The objective of the initiative is to identify and support solutions for sectors and domains that have emerged as a priority in the post-pandemic world.

NGIS is focused on 12 Tier-II locations in the country -- Agartala, Bhilai, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Dehradun, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow, Prayagraj, Mohali, Patna and Vijayawada.

Startups pan-India could apply and become NGIS beneficiary. Each NGIS location has a dedicated chief mentor along with a 'mentor pool' and knowledge partners.

The services offered by NGIS to its beneficiaries include physical infrastructure (including state-of-the-art incubation and dedicated Software Product Security Testing facility), mentoring, access to VCs for funding support, advisory services (such as HR, Legal, Accounting, IPR/Patenting) along with financial incentives like the seed funding of up to 25 lakh.

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