HDFC Bank Provides SmartUp Grants to Social Sector Start-Ups

HDFC Bank Provides SmartUp Grants to Social Sector Start-Ups

CEO Insights team, Press Release

HDFC Bank disburses SmartUp grants cumulatively worth Rs 5 crore to start-ups working in the social sector. These grants are helping to nurture start-ups that offer unique solutions to bring about sustainable change in society and the environment. These grants have been offered under the aegis of Parivartan, the umbrella name for the bank’s social initiatives.
In Bengaluru, 20 start-ups were awarded these grants. Over the past three years, the count of grants given to the starts-ups goes over 60. 30 shortlisted start-ups made presentations to a jury panel, out of which SmartUp grants were offered to about 20 start-ups.

The Bank functions through incubators such as IIT Kanpur, T -Hub, KIIT TBI, Villgro, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, BITS Pilani to name a few to identify start-ups in the social sector. To spot start-ups for the grants, the basic criteria is the start-up should be working in the social sector. During the presentation, start-ups were evaluated on the following points: sustainability of the idea, potential to scale up, how does it benefit the society and environment and uniqueness of the project.

Earlier, SmartUp grants have been granted to some unique ideas by start-ups working on innovative solutions in tackling climate change, waste management, skills training and enhancing livelihood. Previously, these grants have been given to startups based not just in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi, but also from Jamshedpur, Kalahandi in Odisha, Kochi, Tiruvanathapuram, and Hyderabad to name a few.

For example, last year, grant was offered to Bleetech, a start-up 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.
Smita Bhagat, Country Head, Government & Institutional Business, e-commerce and start-ups, HDFC Bank says, “The SmartUp grants are part of Bank’s endeavor to further deepen our relationship with the start-up eco-system in India. Through the SmartUp programme, we are already engaging with the start-up community to partner with them in their entrepreneurial journey using smart financial tools, advisory services and technology. We realize there are start-ups 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 start-ups in social sector to pursue ideas that’s benefits the society.”

SmartUp Grants are part of a huge effort by HDFC Bank to create an ecosystem to nurture the spirit of innovation and enterprise in the start-up space

Ashima Bhat, group head – CSR, Infrastructure and Finance, HDFC Bank says, “Parivartan means change and we are happy to be part of a positive change that start-ups in social sector are looking to bring about. There are start-ups working in enhancing livelihood, skilling and working with the challenged sections of the society; bringing inclusive change which is in sync with our objective to give back to the society we live in.”

SmartUp Grants are part of a huge effort by HDFC Bank to create an ecosystem to nurture the spirit of innovation and enterprise in the start-up space. It is an extension of HDFC Bank's SmartUp Solution through which the bank offers tailor-made banking and advisory solutions to entrepreneurs.

The journey began with the launch of SmartUp solution, a first-of-its-kind banking solution for start-ups, curated to meet all the requirements of a start-up by offering banking and payment solutions, along with advisory and forex services. Furthermore, by accessing the bank's SmartUp portal, start-ups are able to tap into the knowledge and experience of a complete network of start-ups while simultaneously offering their services to this universe. The bank now has dedicated SmartUp zones in over 65 branches in 30 cities across India, including tier 2 and 3 cities that are emerging as start-up hubs.
Source : Press Release