Based on inputs by Meeta K
HDFC bank on Tuesday disbursed SmartUp grants cumulatively worth Rs 5 crore to startups working in the social sector under the aegis of Parivartan, the umbrella name for the bank’s social initiatives.
In Bengaluru, 20 startups were awarded these grants. This takes the total tally to more than 60 startups that have been given this grant over the past three years.
“Startups fuel innovation in all sectors of the economy and we in HDFC bank support startups in all sectors. From starting nowhere, there are almost 9000 startups banking with us today. The SmartUp grants are part of the bank’s endeavor to further deepen our relationship with the startup eco-system in India. We realize there are startups who are working on innovative solutions to bring a sustainable change in the society. Therefore, these grants are a small token of our appreciation and encouragement to startups in the social sector to pursue ideas that’s benefits the society,” said Smita Bhagat, Country Head, Government & Institutional Business, e-commerce and startups, HDFC Bank in Bengaluru.
Bhagat added that the bank hopes to take the number of startups that will be benefitted from the Smartup grants to 100 by the end of the next financial year.
The Bank works through incubators such as IIT Kanpur, T -Hub, KIIT TBI, Villgro, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and BITS Pilani to among others to identify startups in the social sector.
The foremost criteria to identify startups for the grants include sustainability of the idea, potential to scale up, how does it benefit the society and the environment and uniqueness of the project.
“We have also tied up with MeitY startup hub which is a part of the Ministry of Information and Technology and are working with six state governments to encourage startups and entrepreneurship,” informed Bhagat. She also mentioned that the bank also has a market platform where the startups can register themselves and sell their products to the banks’ customers.
In the past, Smart-Up grants have been given to some unique ideas by startups working on innovative solutions in tackling climate change, waste management, skills training and enhancing livelihood. For example, last year, grant was offered to Bleetech, a startup that works on need – based technological solutions in the social sector for the deaf and hard of hearing community. Another example is Kriya Labs, that’s developing a processing technology to convert agro-waste like rice straw into pulp, which can then be used to make several biodegradable products like cups, plates and other tableware.