Centre launches funding scheme for startups, MSMEs

The Union Ministry of Mines announced on Wednesday that it has decided to fund research and innovation in startups and MSMEs in the mining, mineral processing, metallurgy and recycling sector (S&T-PRISM) and has brought out guidelines for the scheme.

Proposals will be invited from Startups, MSMEs and Individual Innovators which have a direct bearing on theminerals sector, applied and sustainable aspects of mining and industrial applications, for funding up to two years, the ministry said.

The decision can enable them to graduate to a level where they will be able to raise investments or they will reach a position to seek loans from commercial banks/financial institutions. The funding is positioned to act as a bridge between development and commercialization of innovative technologies/products/services in a relatively hassle-free manner, the ministry’s statement explained.

The main idea of the S&T-PRISM is translation of research into technology (product/process/services) but not to carry out open- ended fundamental research.Investigations must lead to innovation or new product/process ready for demonstration or pilot scale deployment not merely be at the patent stage.

Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development and Design Center, Nagpur, an autonomous body under the administrative control of Ministry of Mines will be the implementing agency for S&T — PRISM.

Selected Startups and MSMEs will be provided mentorship or incubation support and technical advisory support during entire project development period and additionally for two years from the date of technical completion, by a Facilitation & Mentorship team under the implementing agency. Scope of mentoring support will include advisory, networking, tapping resources, piloting, business planning and fund-raising. Further, piloting opportunities forStartups and MSMEs, shall be provided in the mining, mineral processing, metallurgy and recycling sector. Preference will be given to Startups/MSMEs of North East region and women led enterprises, according to the ministry’s statement.

Recognising the paramount importance of safety, economy, speed and the efficiency in extraction of mineral resources and in its convergence into viable economic alloys and metals, National Mineral Policy has accorded higher priority to Research and Development (R&D) programmes.

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