Mumbai: HDFC Bank on Monday said it has opened applications for its fifth edition of SmartUp grants, an annual programme that awards funds to social start-ups and incubators.

This year, the bank has allocated up to ₹15 crore toward SmartUp grants, and 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 and winners will be declared in February next year. So far, the bank has disbursed ₹20 crore through 22 incubator partners to 90 start-ups cumulatively across segments like agri business, ed-tech, waste management, healthcare, and skill development.

For the current year, the bank has proposed two different approaches to disburse up to ₹15 crore.

Eligible incubators as per Schedule VII of The Companies Act, 2013 and The Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy ) Rules 2014 will pitch their capabilities to execute the grant process based on the CSR program requirements, in the application the incubators will also provide a long list of startups that align with program focus areas.

Startups eligible under Schedule VII of The Companies Act, 2013 and The Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules 2014 and working towards innovation, development or improvement of products or processes or services, or if it is a scalable business model with a high potential of employment generation or wealth creation can also apply.

“SmartUp grants are meant to support and nurture social entrepreneurs,” said Ashima Bhat, group head corporate social responsibility (CSR), business finance and infrastructure, HDFC Bank.

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