Startup Entrepreneurs Guide: MAARG to Mentorship, Money And Success

Through MAARG, startups access diverse mentors regardless of location. The portal uses AI for personalized growth guidance, providing invaluable support.

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DPIIT's MAARG Portal: Fostering Collaboration Between Experts and Startups

There can't be a better guide for startup entrepreneurs than the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, operating under the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. DPIIT is paving the way for unprecedented collaboration between top sectoral experts and promising startups through its innovative MAARG portal. In 2024, with the Indian startup ecosystem having grown significantly since its initiation under the Startup India mission in 2016, let's revisit an important pillar of it and learn how startup entrepreneurs can benefit from it fully — that's the path of MAARG to mentorship, money, and success.

Referred to as the National Mentorship Platform by Startup India, the MAARG portal symbolises the government's commitment to nurturing the vibrant startup ecosystem in India. With the Indian startup ecosystem currently ranked as the third-largest globally, initiatives like Startup India aim to catalyse this growth further by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

What is MAARG Portal: Support and Mentorship for Startups 

DPIIT highlights the significance of the MAARG portal as a comprehensive platform aimed at providing mentorship, advisory services, assistance, resilience, and growth opportunities to startups across various sectors, stages, and backgrounds. This initiative underscores the government's dedication to creating a robust and inclusive environment for startups to thrive.

How Does MAARG Portal Help Startup Entrepreneurs in India?

  1. Sector-Focused Support: The portal aims to offer tailored guidance and support to startups throughout their lifecycle, catering to the specific needs and challenges of different sectors.
  2. Intelligent Matchmaking: By establishing a formalised platform, MAARG facilitates intelligent matchmaking between mentors and mentees, ensuring that startups are connected with the most suitable experts.
  3. Outcome-Oriented Engagement: MAARG emphasises an outcome-oriented approach, enabling efficient and expert mentorship while enabling timely tracking of mentor-mentee engagements.

Pool of Mentors and AI-driven Guidance For Startups 

Through the MAARG portal, startups now have access to a diverse pool of mentors, including academicians, industry experts, successful founders, seasoned investors, and more, transcending geographical barriers. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI), the portal facilitates personalised guidance on growth strategies, providing startups with invaluable insights and support.

Key features of the portal include customisable mentorship programs, a user-friendly interface optimised for mobile devices, recognition for contributing mentors, and seamless video and audio call options, enhancing the overall mentorship experience.

How MAARG Portal Works? 

  1. Mentor Onboarding: The first phase focused on onboarding expert mentors across various sectors, with over four hundred mentors already enlisted.
  2. Startup Onboarding: Phase two, launched on November 14, 2022, initiates the onboarding of startups onto the MAARG portal, enabling them to access mentorship and guidance tailored to their needs.
  3. Matchmaking: The final phase involves matching mentors with startups, facilitating meaningful engagements that drive growth and innovation.

DPIIT encourages all interested startups to apply through the MAARG website, signalling a concerted effort to democratise access to mentorship and support within the startup ecosystem.

What is Startup India Initiative? What are the Startup India Funds?

The Startup India initiative, launched in January 2016, has been instrumental in nurturing innovation and investments. It encompasses 19 action items, including "Simplification and handholding, "Funding support and incentives," and "Industry-academia partnership and incubation." Under this initiative, three flagship schemes have been implemented:

  1. Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS): With a corpus of Rs. 10,000 crore, FFS aims to catalyse venture capital investments. In Tamil Nadu, Rs. 500 crore has been committed to 6 Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), with Rs. 384 crore disbursed as of December 31, 2023.
  2. Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS): Endowed with Rs. 945 crore, SISFS provides financial assistance to seed-stage startups through incubators. In Tamil Nadu, 20 incubators have been approved for a total sum of Rs. 86.10 crore, with Rs. 43.63 crore disbursed by December 31, 2023.
  3. Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS): Operationalised on a pilot basis since April 1, 2023, CGSS facilitates collateral-free loans to DPIIT-recognised startups through eligible financial institutions. In Tamil Nadu, 5 loans amounting to Rs. 8.65 crore have been disbursed to eligible startups by December 31, 2023.

These schemes have significantly contributed to the growth of the startup ecosystem, evident from the increase in DPIIT-recognised startups from over 300 in 2016 to a staggering 1,17,254, with over 110 Unicorns. Tamil Nadu alone boasts 7,559 recognised startups. The initiative's impact resonates across states, union territories, cities, towns, and rural areas, fostering inclusive growth and innovation nationwide. Emphasising the transition from a nation of job seekers to a nation of job creators, the DPIIT reaffirms its commitment to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit and propelling India towards prosperity

Note: This article has been updated