Travel tech company OYO’s founder Ritesh Agarwal announced on Thursday that he is awarding grants worth Rs 5 lakh to four early-stage start-ups in partnership with a fellowship programme called Naropa. These start-ups are based in Ladakh.
This funding is equity-free and the businesses have been selected based on various parameters such as clarity of purpose, conviction of the founding team, strength of business model and the gap they are bridging with their unique solutions.
Start-ups selected for this fellowship include superfoods company Siachen Naturals, beverage brand Ladakh Brew, tea brand Nima Goos Goos and wellness products manufacturer, The Forest Collective.
Commenting on this move, Agarwal wrote on social media platform that he is supporting these start-ups as they are putting the hinterlands on the world map. “To support them, I am pledging an equity-free grant of Rs 5 lakh each to four promising start-ups from Ladakh. I will also be actively supporting and mentoring them.”
Agarwal, who himself belongs to a small town (Orissa) said he resonates with individuals who are building something from these towns. “Being from a small town myself, I resonate with the potential of these startups to create an exponential impact on their communities. I'm truly looking forward to supporting and mentoring them!” He also said that while entrepreneurship is booming in Tier II cities and beyond, access to capital and resources remains a challenge for these companies .
He said he hopes to inspire these start-ups with his journey and experience and foster entrepreneurship at the grassroot level. Some of the start-ups which have previously been funded by this fellowship include sustainable clothing brand EcoKash, organic chocolate start-up The Himalayan Chocolate, and more.
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