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FM launches the Ubharte Sitaare Fund to support India’s Future Export Champions

Finance Minister, in her budget speech last year, announced the Ubharte Sitaare Programme (USP) to be anchored by India Exim Bank together with SIDBI, in the backdrop of the constraints faced by small and mid-sized companies in realising their export ambitions.

The Hon’ble Finance Minister of India, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, on Saturday, August 21, 2021 launched the Ubharte Sitaare Fund in Lucknow in the presence of Shri Siddharth Nath Singh Hon’ble Minister for MSME and Export Promotion, Government of Uttar Pradesh and Shri Pankaj Jain, Additional Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

The Hon’ble Finance Minister, in her budget speech last year, announced the Ubharte Sitaare Programme (USP) to be anchored by India Exim Bank together with SIDBI, in the backdrop of the constraints faced by small and mid-sized companies in realising their export ambitions. The Programme identifies Indian companies that have the potential to be future champions in the domestic arena, while catering to global demands. The identified Indian companies supported under the Programme exhibit a latent advantage by way of technology, product or process. The Programme diagnoses the hurdles and constraints of identified enterprises, and assists them, in their growth and export strategies through a mix of structured support which covers both financial and advisory services in the form of equity, debt, and technical assistance.

Under the Programme, an Alternative Investment Fund, christened “Ubharte Sitaare Fund”, co-sponsored by India Exim Bank and SIDBI with a contribution of ? 40 crore each has been successfully registered with SEBI in July 2021. The corpus of the Fund is ? 250 crore with a green shoe option of ? 250 crore. The Fund would invest by way of equity, and equity like products in export-oriented units, both in the manufacturing and services sectors, across the country and facilitate rising stars in the export market to attain greater heights.

The objective of the USF is to identify and invest in small and mid-size ventures in manufacturing and service industries with good export potential that could be future champions of export and handhold them through the growth phase.

Speaking on the occasion, the hon’ble Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the efforts taken by the government to provide a boost to the MSME sector in the country including the launch of the Production-Linked Incentive scheme. She noted that the government similarly announced the AatmaNirbhar Bharat initiative during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which enables Indian companies to become internationally competitive and facilitate greater self-reliance in India. She noted that the USF would make investments in export-oriented small and mid-sized companies by way of equity and equity-like products, and thereby help script a new paradigm of growth in exports. The initiative would play a catalytic role in contributing to the growth of the identified companies and would also have downstream benefits such as growth and diversification of India’s exports, impetus to brand India, and employment generation.

During the event, Smt. Harsha Bangari, Deputy Managing Director, India Exim Bank, highlighted the Bank’s efforts, amidst the Covid pandemic, in developing and strengthening partnerships with leading academia, chambers of commerce, industry bodies, amongst others while operationalising the USP. Smt. Bangari further added that India Exim Bank has developed a robust pipeline of over 100 potential proposals and supported several companies across a diverse range of sectors. Some of these companies were showcased during the event including a manufacturer of key ingredients for Covid vaccines and black fungus drug and a company promoting environmental sustainability in recycling and manufacturing key inputs for FMCG packaging.

Speaking on the occasion SIDBI’s Chairman & Manging Director, Shri Sivasubramanian Ramann, highlighted several initiatives that have been taken in the recent past for the benefit of MSMEs in the country, more so in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He reiterated that SIDBI is committed to facilitate the all-round growth of MSMEs in the country through Credit-plus approach.

The event was attended physically and virtually by participants from the Indian industry and academia from across the country.