FAQ’s for Incubators (from DIPP)

Which incubators are authorized to provide a recommendation/ support/ endorsement letter?

As per the notification no. G.S.R 180(E) dated February 17, 2016, an incubator must fall in one of the following categories to be authorized to provide a recommendation/ support/ endorsement letter to an entity:

  1. Incubator established in a post-graduate college in India
  2. Incubator funded by Government of India or any State Government as part of any specified scheme to promote innovation
  3. Incubator recognized by Government of India

With regards to (3), an incubator shall be recognized by DIPP on application.

Our incubator does not feature in the list(s) of incubators published on Startup India portal. How can we get it included in the list(s)?

In such cases, you can make an application at Startup India portal. Once an incubator application is found eligible, the name of the incubator shall be included in the appropriate list(s) by DIPP.

What are the aspects that need to be reviewed before issuing a recommendation/ support/ endorsement letter?

An incubator is required to validate if the entity under review is working towards innovation, development, deployment or commercialization of new products, processes or services driven by technology or intellectual property if it aims to develop and commercialize:

  1. A new product or service or process; OR
  2. A significantly improved existing product or service or process that will create or add value for customers or workflow.

The following activities are not considered as a valid case for issuing a recommendation/ support/ endorsement letter:

  1. Products or services or processes which do not have potential for commercialization; OR
  2. Undifferentiated products or services or processes; OR
  3. Products or services or processes with no or limited incremental value for customers or workflow.

Is there any specific format in which an incubator would be required to provide recommendation?

Yes. The prescribed formats for recommendation/ support/ endorsement letters are published on Startup India portal.

Is there any prescribed fee(s) that can be charged from the Startups for providing them with a recommendation/ support/ endorsement letter?

No fee is prescribed by the Government. However, the incubators may considering the efforts involved in the process charge a fee.

Can we recommend/ endorse an idea that has not been incubated at our incubator?

Yes. An incubator featured in any of the lists on Startup India portal, can endorse an idea/ Startup not incubated in such incubator. The objective of the recommendation is to validate that a Startup is involved in an eligible business.

Do we need to designate someone to sign/ issue the recommendation/ endorsement letter?

An incubator is encouraged to designate its officer(s) to sign/ issue the recommendation/ support/ endorsement letter to entities, and share the same with DIPP.

What process needs to be followed for receiving applications from entities not incubated at our incubator?

There is no prescribed format for receipt of application. It is expected that incubator will capture the process and innovative nature of business before making a recommendation.

Who will upload the recommendation/ support/ endorsement letter on the Startup India portal and mobile app?

The entity receiving the recommendation/ support/ endorsement letter will upload the relevant documents at the time of applying for recognition.

Is there any liability on a recommender/ incubator?

Where a recommendation is issued by an incubator without proper examination or without itself satisfying about the innovative nature of the business it shall be blacklisted from giving any future recommendation or receiving any benefit from Government. Any such action shall, however, be taken only after a due opportunity is given to the incubator.

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