What is GIFT City? How Is It Significant For Startups?

GIFT City, which stands for Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, represents a robust business district featuring commercial and residential spaces. Read on to know how GIFT city is relevant or startups?

Shreshtha Verma
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What is GIFT City Benefits For Startups

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Nestled across 886 acres along the banks of the Sabarmati River, GIFT City stands as India's pioneering operational smart city. Designed to cater to the burgeoning needs of cross-border financial services, GIFT City provides a cutting-edge infrastructure for both Indian and international banks. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the full meaning of GIFT City, its prominent features, and its immense relevance for startups aiming to flourish within its dynamic ecosystem.


What is GIFT City?

GIFT City, which stands for Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, represents a robust business district featuring commercial and residential spaces. Its commercial segments focus on creating a global financial services hub, offering a spectrum of services, including offshore banking, asset management, and insurance. Noteworthy industries such as capital markets, information technology (IT) services, and business process outsourcing are establishing their presence in GIFT City, further solidifying its position as a financial and IT services powerhouse.

Key Features of GIFT City:


India’s First Operational Smart City

  • GIFT City incorporates underground utility tunnels, minimizing the need for disruptive road excavations.
  • The City Command and Control Centre (C4) utilizes IoT technology for efficient oversight and management of the city's infrastructure.
  • Automated district cooling system (DCS) and waste collection system (WCS) contribute to sustainable urban living.

India’s First International Financial Services Centre (IFSC)

  • Approved under the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act, 2005, GIFT City hosts the country's inaugural IFSC.
  • Financial institutions are authorized to establish IFSC Banking Units (IBU) catering to both resident and foreign client.

Tax Incentives

  • IFSC Gift City offers substantial tax benefits, including 100% income tax exemption for 10 out of 15 years.
  • Goods and services tax (GST) exemptions on services benefit both units and investors.

Integrated Development

  • 67% of GIFT City comprises high-rise buildings hosting smart offices, accompanied by a dedicated residential zone.
  • Amenities include pedestrian walkways, a multilevel parking system, and enhanced connectivity through the mass rapid transit system (MRTS).

Strategic Location

  • Strategically positioned between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, GIFT City leverages proximity to top educational institutions, ensuring access to a pool of talented professionals.

Which Startups Can Set Up in GIFT City?

GIFT City, heralded as India's first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), offers an unparalleled environment for startups across a spectrum of industries. The distinctiveness of GIFT City lies in its multifaceted appeal to various sectors, providing a conducive ecosystem for startups to thrive. Here's a detailed exploration of the sectors that can establish a foothold within the dynamic landscape of GIFT City:



GIFT City's IFSC status makes it an attractive destination for banking startups aiming to offer international financial services. The infrastructure and regulatory support create an environment where banking institutions can seamlessly operate and cater to a global clientele.


Insurance startups find GIFT City to be an ideal hub for launching their operations. The IFSC designation, coupled with favorable regulatory conditions, enables insurance companies to provide cross-border services and innovative insurance solutions.

Capital Markets

GIFT City's role as an IFSC extends to the realm of capital markets, making it an optimal location for startups in this sector. Companies involved in stock exchanges, trading platforms, and other capital market activities can establish a strong presence within GIFT City.

Fund Management

Startups in the fund management sector can leverage GIFT City's comprehensive infrastructure and regulatory support to navigate the complexities of global financial services. The IFSC framework facilitates the establishment of fund management units, attracting both domestic and international investors.


GIFT City emerges as a hub for fintech and techfin startups, providing a fertile ground for innovation in financial technology. With a dedicated fintech sandbox introduced by the International Financial Services Centre Authority (IFSCA), startups can test and implement cutting-edge financial solutions within a regulated environment.

Other Financial Services

Beyond the highlighted sectors, GIFT City welcomes startups in various other financial services. This includes entities involved in asset management, wealth management, financial advisory, and related domains. The IFSC status ensures that these startups can operate seamlessly on a global scale.

The regulatory framework established within GIFT City, coupled with tax incentives and state subsidies, creates a favorable landscape for startups to establish and expand their operations. Additionally, the strategic location of GIFT City between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, with proximity to educational institutions, ensures access to a skilled workforce, further enhancing its appeal to startups across diverse sectors.

GIFT City Benefits for Startups

The allure of GIFT City for startups extends far beyond its title as India's first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). The ecosystem within GIFT City is designed to empower and propel startups towards success, offering a myriad of benefits that distinguish it as a thriving hub for entrepreneurial endeavors. Let's delve into the detailed advantages that beckon startups to set up shop in GIFT City:

Access to Funding Opportunities

GIFT City serves as a fertile ground for startups seeking financial support. The ecosystem is strategically connected to an array of financial institutions, venture capitalists, and angel investors who actively engage with the entrepreneurial community. This connectivity opens doors for startups to secure funding, fostering their growth and development.

Pro-Business Climate

The business environment within GIFT City is characterized by its proactiveness and receptiveness towards startups. The regulatory framework is streamlined, offering a hassle-free setup process for businesses. The administrative support and guidance provided by local authorities facilitate a smoother transition for startups, enabling them to focus on their core operations without unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles.

Culture of Innovation

Innovation lies at the heart of GIFT City's ethos. The collaborative atmosphere and the presence of like-minded businesses foster a culture that actively encourages and champions innovation. Startups within GIFT City find themselves immersed in an environment where creativity is celebrated, providing them with the ideal conditions to ideate, iterate, and implement groundbreaking solutions.

Strategic Location

GIFT City's strategic location, situated between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, holds strategic significance. The proximity to major urban centers and educational institutions ensures a steady influx of skilled professionals. This positioning not only facilitates networking and collaboration but also enhances accessibility for businesses seeking talent and partnerships.

Tax Exemptions

One of the standout attractions for startups in GIFT City is the substantial tax incentives offered. The IFSC status brings forth a range of tax benefits, including 100% income tax exemption for a decade out of a 15-year period. This significant exemption eases the financial burden on startups, allowing them to reinvest and grow.

State Subsidies

GIFT City goes a step further by extending state subsidies on various operational aspects. These subsidies encompass lease rentals, provident fund contributions, electricity duty, and more. Such financial incentives alleviate the operational costs for startups, contributing to a favorable cost structure within the city.

GIFT City emerges not only as a testament to India's ambition for global financial prominence but also as a thriving ecosystem for startups seeking to carve a niche in the competitive landscape. Its innovative approach, strategic advantages, and pro-business policies make it a compelling destination for those looking to capitalize on the intersection of finance, technology, and innovation.

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