The Bombay Stock Exchange launched an institutional trading platform for small and medium enterprises today.

Ashish Kumar Chauhan, Managing Director & CEO, BSE, said that the new platform will help SMEs raise capital without going through the extensive IPO process and also enable easy exit options for angel investors and venture capitalists. BSE officials said that the listing process in the new platform will be done within one month as against the couple of months that a regular IPO route would take. Costs would be just a tenth of the IPO process, they said.

Rajeev Kumar Agarwal, Wholetime Member, SEBI, speaking at the launch said that SEBI had taken upon itself a role to enable the SME segment to raise cheap funds. Acknowledging that the Initial public offer process was a big burden involving regulatory costs, Agarwal said that SEBI wanted to ringfence the small investors while also ensuring that there is visibility for SMEs with no compromise on corporate governance and disclosures. He hoped that the new platform would serve as a training ground for the SME sector to come to the main platform after some time.

Chandrakant Salunkhe, President of the SME development chamber of India, assured the BSE that at least 50 companies would join the new platform within the next three months.