National

Numaligarh Refinery to rope in NEDF to run its start-up fund

Pratim Ranjan Bose Guwahati | Updated on February 25, 2019 Published on February 25, 2019

State-owned Numaligarh Refinery Ltd may rope in North East Development Foundation (NEDF) of Guwahati-based NEDFi (North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd) for operating its ₹10-crore start-up fund.

A similar move is also expected from the Dhuliajan-based Oil India, which announced the setting up of a ₹50-crore fund.

Tie-up with IIT Guwahati

Created in 2017, the NRL fund saw disbursement of seed capital of around ₹1.5 crore. The BPCL subsidiary tied up with IIT-Guwahati for incubation of the start-ups. However, operation of the fund remains a concern as venture capital requires specialised skills and attention.

SK Barua, Managing Director, NRL, confirmed that the company is considering roping in NEDF, which currently handles a ₹100-crore venture fund, created by NEDFi, and has invested in 13 start-ups, including 10 from Assam and one each from Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

According to NEDF sources, the start-up ecosystem is gaining ground in the North-East, particularly in Assam and Manipur. Though the State governments has also floated funds, not much is known about their progress or success. All the funds limit participation to at least one promoter from the soil and business presence in the region.

National level start-ups like Automovil and Parking Rhino used their North-East connect to get NEDF funding. Among the North-East born initiatives, Guwahati-based ERC Eye Care and Symbiotic Foods received NEDF funding. ERC is now mulling expansion of its affordable eye care facility in the Eastern region.

Start-up boom

Manipur is witnessing a start-up boom with first generation entrepreneurs, many having worked in other parts of the world, returning home with ideas such as ambulance aggregation (Mediland) or making chocolates using local flavours, nuts and seeds (Hill Wild). There is also a start-up (MOBIMP) for offering tech support to start-ups.

The enthusiasm can be gauged from the nearly six-fold rise in the number of applicants to approximately 4,000 in the second Manipur Start-up Weekend in 2017.

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Published on February 25, 2019
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