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After helping startups go public, HDFC Bank now backs those with social impact ideas

FE Online

Private sector lender HDFC Bank has backed 25 social sector startups with ‘Parivartan’ grants as part of its corporate social responsibility programme. The capital is offered to startups focusing on bringing sustainable change to the social issues around the environment, waste management, health and well being.

The bank has disbursed Rs 10 to startups and incubators in the first phase, it said in a statement. Startups are based in small cities including Jamshedpur, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kalahandi (Odisha) etc., apart from those in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad.

The chosen startups are aligned to the bank’s “core value sustainability” along with “sustainable development goals by the United Nations Development Programme on the World Environment Day,” said Ashima Bhat, Group head, CSR, HDFC Bank.

HDFC Bank will further invest in startups in the following phase while it will continue to work with its partners “to build a strong pipeline of social start-ups whom we can support,” Bhat said.

Selected startups include agri supply chain startup Zoofresh, Krimanshi that makes animal feed from surplus agriculture and food residues, plastic recycling firm Banyan Nation, AI-led eyecare company Advenio Technosys-Chironx, Proklean Technologies that makes non-toxic and biodegradable products, skill development firm Talento, agri startup Onganic, charity-based crowdsourcing platform Donatekart, Bleetech Innovations that develop products for hearing-impaired people, cancer diagnosis startup Periwinkle Technologies etc.

HDFC Bank has enhanced its exposure to startups in terms of support offered. It had partnered with Bombay Stock Exchange in April this year to promote startup listing on the exchange’s startup listing platform — BSE Startups that was launched in December 2018.

We are the first bank in India to do so. HDFC Bank already has a startup portal called SmartUp to offer financial and technology support to startups along with to provide mentoring to startups, encourage them through various incubators even as we do an innovation summit annually, Smita Bhagat, Country Head Government, e-commerce and Start-ups, HDFC Bank had told Financial Express Online earlier.

HDFC Bank has 60 dedicated branches for startups across 30 cities in India.