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Tamil Nadu Seeds Change: Fund for Disabled & Trans Startup Founders

Tamil Nadu is empowering a new wave of entrepreneurs: Transgender and differently-abled founders can now access a special seed fund. Tamil Nadu has a new Rs 50 lakh seed fund for them. Plus, design studio access and global connections. Read on!

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To cultivate inclusive growth and next-generation entrepreneurship, the Tamil Nadu government has unveiled a pioneering special seed fund. This initiative is specifically designed to empower startups spearheaded by persons with disabilities and transgender individuals. By providing crucial financial backing, the fund aims to propel these ventures to launch and flourish, fostering a more diversified and inclusive startup landscape within the state.

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Targeted Support Through StartupTN

The Tamil Nadu Startup and Innovation Mission (StartupTN) will spearhead the identification of beneficiaries for this special seed fund.

Thiru Sivarajah Ramanathan, the Managing Director and CEO of Startup Tamil Nadu, emphasized their unwavering commitment, stating, '"The special Seedfund is meant to support startups run by differently-abled individuals and transgender people in order to achieve inclusive growth in new-age entrepreneurship development.StartupTN will meticulously identify potential beneficiaries across the state."'

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This targeted approach ensures that the most promising and innovative startups led by differently-abled and transgender individuals are equipped with the resources they require to flourish.

"A special seed fund, designed as a grant, will be introduced for startups helmed by these individuals to achieve inclusive growth in the development of new-age entrepreneurship. A sum of Rs 50 lakh has been earmarked for this scheme,” said T.M. Anbarasan, Minister for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

Expanding the Reach: New Regional Startup Hubs

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Minister Anbarasan also announced the establishment of new Regional Startup Hubs in Coimbatore and Tiruchi during the current financial year. These hubs will complement the existing ones established over the past two years in Madurai, Tirunelveli, Erode, Salem, Hosur, Cuddalore, and Thanjavur. The minister underscored that these hubs are integral to the government's comprehensive strategy to decentralize startup support, ensuring that entrepreneurial resources are readily accessible across the state.

Global Ambitions: Establishing Startup Coordination Centres

With a vision extending beyond state and national borders, the Tamil Nadu government plans to establish Global Startup Coordination Centres (GCC) in Singapore and the United States of America in the 2024-25 financial year. These centers would serve as launchpads for startups registered in Tamil Nadu, propelling them onto the global stage and equipping them with international exposure and avenues for growth.

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Tamil Nadu, which is home to startups like Zoho, Freshworks, Uniphore, and Chargebee, has over 7,700 DPIIT-registered startups

'Thozhil Nayam' Design Studio: Empowering Design Excellence

Further bolstering the design needs of startups, the government will establish a state-of-the-art design studio named 'Thozhil Nayam' at the StartupTN Chennai Metro Hub. This studio will provide startups with access to exceptional resources and expertise, empowering them to refine and develop their product designs to meet market standards and exceed consumer expectations.

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The Tamil Nadu government has demonstrated robust support for early-stage startups, particularly through the StartupTN program. Under this initiative, the state has backed 132 seed-stage startups with grants totaling INR 14 crore. This substantial investment underscores the government's commitment to nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship at the grassroots level.

Focus on Inclusivity: Tamil Nadu's Support for SC/ST Entrepreneurs

In a noteworthy effort to promote inclusivity, the government sanctioned equity investments amounting to Rs 7.5 crore last year in five startups led by entrepreneurs from scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) communities. This targeted funding aims to empower SC/ST entrepreneurs, providing them with the financial resources necessary to scale their businesses and contribute to the state's economic growth.

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Diverse Funding Options for Startups

Beyond the SC/ST fund, the Tamil Nadu government has established four additional funds to support startups across various sectors and stages of development. These funds include:

  1. TANSEED: Focused on providing seed funding to early-stage startups to help them validate and develop their business ideas.

  2. Tamil Angels: This fund leverages the expertise and investment potential of angel investors to support promising startups.

  3. Tanfund: A versatile funding option designed to meet the diverse financial needs of startups in different sectors.

  4. Emerging Sector Startup Fund: Specifically aimed at startups in emerging and high-growth sectors, this fund provides the necessary capital to drive innovation and market expansion.

These diverse funding programs reflect the government's holistic approach to fostering a dynamic and inclusive startup ecosystem in Tamil Nadu. By offering multiple avenues for financial support, the state ensures that startups at various stages and from different backgrounds can access the resources they need to succeed.

The introduction of the special seed fund, coupled with the establishment of new regional and global support structures, exemplifies Tamil Nadu's unwavering commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive startup environment. By providing targeted financial aid and establishing a robust infrastructure for entrepreneurship, the state aspires to empower persons with disabilities and transgender individuals, transforming their innovative ideas into flourishing business ventures. 

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