The country's largest private sector lender HDFC Bank on Tuesday said it is inviting applications from start-ups and solo entrepreneurs for its SmartUp grants under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) brand -- Parivartan. The window for applying closes on February 16, 2021.
The initiative is aimed at finding and deploying long-term, sustainable solutions at scale, to address social issues and contribute to the economic and social development of the country, the bank said. The bank will be focusing on start-ups in the education (edtech) and skill development sector this year for the grant.
The bank has partnered with nine start-up incubators registered with the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology to mentor the start-ups selected for the grant. The nine incubators are from premier institutes and include: IIT – Delhi, IIT – BHU, AIC BIMTECH Noida, IIM Kashipur, GUSEC Gujarat, C-CAMP Bangalore, Banasthali University – Jaipur, Villgro Incubation – Chennai, and T – HUB Hyderabad, the bank said.
The candidates will be evaluated on certain criteria including market reach, penetration, and scalability of their product as well as degree of social impact in beneficiaries' lives their product brings. Furthermore, economic viability of the product at scale will also be one of the factors the start-ups and entrepreneurs will be evaluated on.
"Our partnership with incubators will mentor the winners to scale up their ideas. Enterprises working in the social sector are doing a commendable work in changing the lives of millions of Indians. SmartUp grants is one way of offering our support and encouragement in this journey. We want to be a pillar of support for social entrepreneurs who want to bring a positive change to the society.” said Smita Bhagat, country head – Government, E-commerce and Start-ups, HDFC Bank.