The initial qualification criteria for ESIC were, justifiably, established with a narrow scope. The scheme offers generous tax incentives, and there was some uncertainty as to its popularity and the mechanics by which it would operate. A narrow scope allowed oddities and quirks in the scheme to be ironed out and reduced the potential for abuse.
Nevertheless, this narrow scope has led some genuine startups to be excluded from the scheme, or increased uncertainty by pushing companies to use the principles-based assessment method. In an environment where early stage capital remains a concern for the startup ecosystem, this is an area where improvement could yield valuable results.
More could also be done to boost awareness and understanding of the scheme, helping boost uptake and impact.