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Kolkata, Jan. 21

THE National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) under the Department of Science & Technology, has decided to create an incubation fund with an initial corpus of Rs 5 crore to facilitate the development of entrepreneurship in knowledge-based, high-growth businesses, according to Mr H.K. Mittal, Advisor & Head of NSTEDB.

Speaking to reporters after delivering the keynote address at a workshop on `Entrepreneurship in the ITES Sector', organised here jointly by the Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC) at St Xavier's College, Kolkata, and The Indus Entrepreneurs Kolkata Chapter, Mr Mittal said the corpus of Rs 5 crore would be allocated in equal measure to five out of the 32 Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Park (STEP) and technology business incubators (TBU) that were under the administrative ambit of the Centre's Department of Science & Technology (DST).

According to him, a selection panel of the DST would soon identify which STEP and TBU would be given Rs 1 crore each from the incubation fund.

The idea behind the initiative was to ensure that technology entrepreneurship based on business ideas was not hindered for want of initial funds required for market research, etc.

"There is some time lag between the time a technology entrepreneur floats his business venture and the time he begins to attract venture funding. We hope this fund will bridge the gap between the time an entrepreneur floats his venture and the time he receives support from venture capitalists", he said.

Mr Mittal said the NSTEDB had decided to facilitate the setting up and would provide support to five new TBUs and seven new EDCs every year.

The development of entrepreneurship, however, would be the responsibility of the concerned TBU or EDC.

He said that DST, in association with the United Nations Development Programme, had undertaken a project that was aimed at improving the skills of people living in the Sundarbans region.

"We wish to create opportunities for the people there in areas such as tissue culture, bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides", Mr Mittal said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 22, 2005)
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