India startups shine: Three named awardees of DBS Foundation’s Grant Programme 2022

The Indian startups selected as part of the programme are: Neomotion Assistive Solutions, Saathi Eco Innovations, and Urdhvam Environmental Technologies. 

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Three Indian startups have made it to the list of winners under the DBS Foundation’s Grant Programme for the year 2022. The Indian startups selected as part of the programme are: Neomotion Assistive Solutions, Saathi Eco Innovations, and Urdhvam Environmental Technologies. 

The three Indian startups were among the 23 finalists from across Asia. Of the 23 startups selected for 2022, 15 are social enterprises (SEs), including the three Indian winners, and eight are small and medium enterprises (SMEs). From a record 900-plus grant applications received, the final grantees were selected on the basis of stringent criteria, including their ability to create social and environmental impact, innovate and on the overall sustainability and scalability of their organisations.

Since 2014, the DBS Foundation through its flagship Grant Programme, has been supporting social enterprises (SEs) in growing their businesses and creating positive impact. The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) programme was launched more recently and seeks to help SMEs kickstart their transition towards becoming more sustainable businesses. 

A total of SGD 3 million will be disbursed to scale the growth and impact of the 2022 programme grant awardees, who will join the Foundation’s growing community of over 100 businesses for impact in the bank’s key markets. Apart from the financial support as part of the grant, the businesses will also benefit from capacity building, networking and advisory & mentoring support to be extended over the grant period of 2 years. 

Shoma Narayanan, Managing Director, Group Strategic Marketing & Communications, DBS Bank India, said, "At DBS Bank India, we are committed to creating social impact beyond banking and take the lead in encouraging more responsible business practices. The DBS Foundation and its Grant Programme are a manifestation of this commitment. Indian startups have been doing some exemplary work in the ESG space. The impactful work of the winners this year - Neomotion Assistive Solutions, Saathi Eco Innovations, and Urdhvam Environmental Technologies - and what they have achieved so far is indeed very inspiring. We are proud to be a part of their journey as they work towards improving lives and livelihoods, and happy to help them scale positive change.”

Using the grant 

With DBS Foundation’s grant funding, Neomotion Assistive Solutions will be able to increase its production and provide mobility solutions for the differently abled and the elderly and empower them with the ability to travel without assistance. Saathi Eco Innovations will use the grant to expand its production capacity to make eco-friendly hygiene products, educate and provide sanitary pads to underserved women in India and reduce plastic waste. Urdhvam Environmental Technologies will utilise the grant to advance its groundwater mapping and patented smart rainwater harvesting “BoreCharger” technology to make villages sustainable for future generations. The growth of these businesses would help India on its journey towards net-zero emissions and to meet their food security aims and Sustainable Development Goals.

Collectively, the 23 businesses will support over two million lives and livelihoods by providing access to education, healthcare, accessibility solutions and employment opportunities. The businesses will also work towards reducing 319 tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to growing 15,960 trees a year and reducing 132,000 tonnes of food waste. In addition, these organisations will also provide one billion litres of clean water. 

In 2021, Trestle Labs, Recity Network, and Jovaki Agro Food were the three Indian social enterprises that received grants from DBS Foundation. Trestle Labs utilised the grant to develop and scale a new product line, which resulted in a 300% growth in revenue, 500% increase in distribution partner network and 112% increase in workforce. Recity Network's waste technology platform was improved with enhanced transparency and traceability of plastic waste movement and the formalisation of the informal waste workforce. Jovaki Agro Food successfully launched three new products and processed 30 megatonnes of wild fruit & vegetable produce, thereby reducing deforestation and increasing climate resilience while providing livelihood opportunities to women from tribal communities.

Last year, DBS Bank committed an additional SGD 100 million to DBSF Foundation to further its efforts to improve lives in Asia. This would allow the bank and DBS Foundation to boost their support to purpose-driven businesses and contribute towards finding solutions to the region's increasingly pressing societal issues. Recently, DBS Bank India in collaboration with Social Alpha, awarded grants to five Indian startups focused on enhancing food security by reducing quantitative and qualitative food loss and waste, under the accelerator programme ‘Techtonic – Innovations Towards Zero Food Waste’. The bank has also announced decarbonisation targets for nine industry sectors, including power, oil and gas, aviation and shipping, and has reinforced its commitment to net-zero financed emissions by 2050. 

Applications for the 2023 DBS Foundation Grant Programme will open in April 2023, more information on how social enterprises and SMEs can apply is detailed here

DBS Bank