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NSDC to help skilling firms get early-stage funding

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) will help innovative skilling enterprises across the country get funding up to Rs 3 crore. The corporation has announced the launch of NSDC Innovations for Skills Challenge-2014 (NISC) to be organised at the national level.

NISC’s objective is to identify project proposals, which will positively impact and create a multiplier effect in the skill development space. The proposals can be from enterprises, which have solutions to reduce cost, enable new processes and create higher impact in the skill development space.

The programme will identify and invest in 10 to 15 innovative fundable enterprises that are robust, have sustainable models to impact the skill development ecosystem by achieving faster, inclusive, and sustainable growth of India. The only mode of funding for the proposals is through debt investments. In exceptional cases, other modes of funding such as grant loan or equity can be analysed and ascertained.

Minimum number of people trained over 10 years (50,000 people as specified in NSDC funding guidelines) might not be applicable for the programme.

Besides monetary awards, finalists will have The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) mentorships for six months, access to discounted co-working spaces at reputed accelerators, access to major entrepreneurial events pro-bono or discounted, network opportunities, introductions to investors, national visibility, including offline and online media.

NSDC has developed the programme to encourage organisations with innovative solutions that can provide scale, reduce cost and train and equip the workforce of India on a par with industry standards.

NSDC, through its innovation fund, has invested in enterprises such as Milaap, AVR Edge, Microspin, LIQVID, Employability Bridge, ACE Experiences (Asia) and Aspiring Minds.

“Through NISC, we aim to invest in innovative businesses that have the capability to scale rapidly and create a sustainable impact on the skilling ecosystem in India. Our focus would be to identify best in class innovations focused on various sectors addressing critical gaps along the value chain. We welcome and encourage entrepreneurs to consider opportunities in this sector, and submit solutions that have the ability to strengthen the industry, particularly the manufacturing sector that consists of millions of SMEs,” said an NSDC spokesperson.

NISC 2014 is sector-agnostic and is open to all skilling enterprises. Applications are encouraged from enterprises working in certain high-growth and high-employment potential sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, food processing, real estate and arts/handicrafts. Proposals must be validated with a proof of concept and all initiatives must have at least a pilot that has seen some traction along with a scalable business proposition.

The first level applications are open till September 24, after which a list of selected proposals will be released. The selected proposals will receive a detailed template for further rounds. The evaluation process will include field verifications and a jury presentation to an expert panel of judges before the winners are announced.

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