The Start-Up Wish List

The New Year has dawned upon us with Covid’s blessings – the Third Wave. And while businesses do their best to tackle this googly ball that keeps recurring, hope stays steadfast in our hearts. And it opens its doors with the Fin Min planning to present her Budget next month.

So, if the Govt. was a genie that could make your wish come true with its budget, what would be on a start-up founder’s wish list? We ask a few to find out what the Govt. can do to help their business.

Atul Kherde

Atul Kherde, founder, Sushrut Designs:

The Govt. offered a collateral-free loan of Rs. One Crore to start-ups. But please tell us, dear Govt., where is this loan available?

Well, I would like the Govt. to provide more clarity about its schemes. They announced a collateral-free loan up to Rs. One Crore to start-ups, which is very exciting. But please tell dear Govt., where is this loan available? I have asked almost all the banks, and they are aware of this scheme but do not have any idea about the details and how it is to be disbursed. The other thing that this Govt. can do is to make the benefits offered to patent holders more market friendly. There is a scheme in which the State Govt. offers to reimburse up to 80% of the costs incurred by an innovator to file a patent. This is up to Rs. 2 lakhs for a domestic patent and Rs. 10 lakhs for a global patent. While the Govt. cleared Rs. 12 lakhs for my reimbursement, the problem is that I can receive it only if I assign my licence to a company, not licence it. As a founder, I need every penny I can lay my hands on, but how can I gauge what will be the value my product can bring in its lifetime? How can I assign my patent just like that? Why is this money not available to me if I licence my patent? I wish the Govt. would make its schemes to help the start-up community more practical, so we can get those benefits.

Sameer Anja

Sameer Anja, co-founder, Arrka Infosec P Ltd:

I would say fewer taxes, fewer taxes and fewer taxes. And relief in terms of GST payout sequence. GST payments should be quarterly in my opinion. Making monthly payments hits working capital for a start-up.

Mayur Patil

Mayur Patil, co-founder, Small Spark Concepts:

Have a separate category for innovative products on the GEM portal

I think the Govt. should look at product innovating companies differently. Simply because our problems are different. Funds for a hardware manufacturer like myself are scarce as the payback time is longer than, say, an app-based start-up. At the same time, CAPEX for us is high given the investment into machinery etc. The Govt. did try to help and come up with a PMEGP and CMEGP scheme that aims to provide collateral-free loans to start-ups. However, though this is collateral-free, the interest rate is 10-12%. If I can get a car loan for 6-7%, why are PMEGP loans charging almost double the interest? A loan to my company will help create jobs, but a loan to me to buy a car won’t.

The other thing I would like from our Govt. is to create a separate category on their GEM portal for innovative products. Given the cost we invest into building a newer, better product, it is unfair to clamp it with older products that can compete on cost. A separate innovation category will help the Govt. buy better products as well as give a boost to innovating companies.

Imtiyaz Kazi

Imtiyaz Kazi, co-founder, Formobi Solutions:

Draft policies in such a way that the entrepreneur’s mind is not occupied by anxieties of compliance.

Historically, governments have prioritized compliance over business success. It is necessary to undergo a paradigm shift. The Govt. can establish a business success department to identify and answer entrepreneurs’ challenges. Policies can be established in such a way that the entrepreneur’s mind is not occupied by anxieties of compliance resulting in legal action.

Nivedita Saboo

Nivedita Saboo, founder, Nivedita Saboo Couturier:

I think the GST on craft-based garment production should be reduced and taxes on organic garments removed.

My business is about fashion and style, and I do my best to use our traditional art in my designs. What I would like from the Govt. is to support businesses like mine who work to help promote our country’s art and craft via subsidies or working capital.

Then I think the GST on craft-based garment production should be reduced or exempted to encourage retail sales, traceability and sustainability. This will help control the selling price of organic sustainable products which are also craft-based.

I feel the production of organic garments entails extra cost, so I feel our Govt. should not tax such manufacturers to offset the cost of production and other sustainable practices. For the small-scale garment industry, there should be ease of doing business – in terms of help to acquire funding and ease of repayment to build international brands and labels that adhere to global standards and are created in India.

This will ensure that India becomes a “Created in India” or “Brand India” rather than a “Job working Nation”.

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