JICA to fund startups, innovation project in Telangana

Hyderabad, Feb 20 (IANS): The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will fund a project for promoting startups and innovation in Telangana, it was announced on Tuesday.

The JICA will extend the Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan of 23,697 million Japanese yen (approximately Rs 1,336 crore) to empower the state government in addressing job creation and economic development challenges through innovative measures and the augmentation of the startup ecosystem in Telangana.

The unique project will help discover entrepreneurial skills with focus on women and rural population and support business expansion of MSMEs.

This ODA loan is part of the loan agreement signed by JICA with the Indian government for nine projects.

The total ODA loan for these projects will be 232.209 billion yen.

According to an official statement, the initiative for Telangana is strategically designed to extend support not only to urban entrepreneurs but also to women and aspiring business leaders in rural areas, fostering inclusive economic growth. JICA is committing in line with its sustainability policy to promote diversity, equity and inclusion including gender equality, to create opportunities and an environment where diverse human resources can thrive and grow, according to the statement.

The loan agreement for the project was signed between Vikas Sheel, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Saito Mitsunori, Chief Representative, JICA India.

This project represents JICA's maiden endeavor to support a state government in bolstering innovation and the startup ecosystem through an ODA loan.

The primary objective of the project is to discover and promote potential entrepreneurs, including women and those in rural areas, by providing capacity building, infrastructure development, financial support, and market creation subprojects.

The project will be addressed to each of the three enterprise growth stages of the startup ecosystem: "Finding Entrepreneurs," "Support for Startups and Commercialization," and "Support for Business Expansion."

JICA will play a pivotal role in facilitating Japanese startups to venture into Telangana, and conduct Proof of Concept (PoC) for their businesses.

The facilitation by JICA is anticipated to attract investments from Japanese companies, further enriching the collaborative landscape between Japan and India.

Mitsunori said: "I am very pleased to announce that this is the very first project in which JICA supports promotion of start-up ecosystem and innovation by ODA loan in the world. It further aligns with the Indian government's 'Startup India' policy, focusing on the creation of a conducive environment for entrepreneurship, innovation, and job growth.

"This project also aligns with the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Partnership (FOIP) Pillar of 'Multi-layered Connectivity', fostering collaboration between Japan and India in supporting startups and enterprises. JICA remains steadfast in its commitment to bolster India's pursuit of innovation and growth, thereby contributing to the overall well-being of the people in Telangana."



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Title: JICA to fund startups, innovation project in Telangana

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