Private lender HDFC Bank today started inviting applications for its fifth edition of SmartUp grants. This annual programme awards funds to social start-ups and incubators under #Parivartan, HDFC Bank’s umbrella for its corporate social responsibility. This year the bank has allocated up to Rs 15 crore toward SmartUp grants.
The Bank intends to select 12-15 incubators and around 50 start-ups working in the environment, healthcare, gender and diversity sectors. The deadline to submit applications is the third week of November, 2021 and winners will be declared in February, 2022
So far, the Bank has disbursed Rs 20 crore through 22 incubator partners to 90 start-ups cumulatively across segments like agri business, ed-tech, waste management, healthcare, and skill development.
“SmartUp grants are meant to support and nurture social entrepreneurs,” said Ashima Bhat, Group Head CSR, Business Finance and Infrastructure, HDFC Bank. “India needs innovative businesses to address needs of the society. We strive to discover and nurture both start-ups and incubators working in three focus areas: Environment – Conservation of the natural world; Health – Improving Healthcare; and Gender Diversity – Improving gender equality. This is aligned with some of the larger strategic goals of our Parivartan programme,” she added.
“Startups are reimagining and reshaping the world we live in. At HDFC Bank, we are committed to developing, strengthening and collaborating with the start-up community and ecosystem in India,” said Smita Bhagat, Country Head, Government & Institutional Business, E-Commerce & Startups, HDFC Bank. “By inviting incubators to pitch this year, we are expanding and deepening our reach across the country. We are confident this approach will enhance funding opportunities for more start-ups and social entrepreneurs,” she added.
The bank would be shortlisting incubators and announcing the names of gf start-ups by November-end and would be invited to pitch to the screening panel, comprising top management of HDFC Bank. Due diligence for shortlisted entities will start from December and the final winners will be announced in February, 2022.