Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), the principal financial institution engaged in the promotion, financing and development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), in partnership with Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, UK (FCDO UK) has launched ‘Swavalamban Challenge Fund’ (SCF).
A challenge fund is a fund support mechanism to allocate funds for specific purposes using competition among organisations. Suppose there is an idea which needs to be piloted or scaled up, but funds are an issue, challenge fund provides solution platform to present the idea in prescribed theme, implement and validate it. Later the same can be scaled up by leveraging other donor / financier support.
SCF shall provide financial support to non-profit organizations/educational institutions/social startups which have focus on sustainable livelihood, financial inclusion, and access to financial services besides promoting the culture of entrepreneurship in the country. On select six themes of livelihood, women empowerment, financial literacy, responsible business etc. eligible entities can submit their proposal for award.
The SCF along with digital portal (https://scf.udyamimitra.in) was launched by Secretary, Ministry of MSME, Shri B. B. Swain in the presence of Shri D. K. Singh, Development Commissioner of MSME, Shri Sivasubramanian Ramann, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of SIDBI, Ms Mamta Kohli, Senior Social Development Advisor and Shri Gaurav Kapoor, senior official of FCDO UK.
Shri Sivasubramanian Ramann, CMD SIDBI said, “The Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav is going on and we thought to give a fillip to actionable/innovative initiatives leading to further ease of independence to entrepreneurship. Challenge fund comes with this perspective in mind. I am sure removing barriers and easing the seamless development flow through innovative solutions shall be fostered through this challenge fund.”
Under this fund, applications are invited in two categories namely, ‘Pilot Category’ and ‘Scale-up Category’. Under the ‘Pilot Category’ applicants can apply with their proposal to pilot/test/trial their innovative ideas while in the “Scale-up Category’, already ongoing/completed projects done by the applicants for scaling-up can be nominated. The present window shall be open up to August 21, 2021.
The total outlay of fund will depend on number of proposals selected in various themes and category-wise amount allocated is up to Rs. 20 lakh for the ‘Pilot Category’ and up to Rs. 35 lakh for the ‘Scale-up Category’. To operationalize the fund, the project period shall be more than 6 months and up to 2 years.