Indian startups that work for inclusivity in fintech, skilling and livelihoods will receive up to INR 25 Lakh to develop technology solutions for low and middle income (LMI) segment, the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at IIM Ahmedabad announced today. The move comes under the purview of CIIE’s Bharat Inclusion Initiative. The decision to help startups with capital was taken as part of its announcement of the third cohort of its accelerator programme, the Financial Inclusion Lab, created in partnership with global consulting firm MicroSave Consulting.
The lab invites entries from promising Indian startups that work for inclusivity in the areas of fintech, skilling, and livelihoods. The interested startups can apply through CIIE’s website before October 24, 2019. The capital is majorly meant for product development and market validation.
The selected startups will also receive mentoring support with field studies by financial inclusion experts and curated sessions by faculty and experts at IIM Ahmedabad. The lab prefers startups that build technology solutions to help improve the financial health and capabilities of LMI segments. These could be solutions that utilise alternative data, new technologies, and open access platforms to help the LMI segments earn more, save better, minimize financial shocks, access low-cost capital, become employable, and create wealth, said a press statement from CIIE.
The Bharat Inclusion initiative aims at building knowledge and fosters innovation and entrepreneurial activity towards improving financial inclusion and livelihood for the lower-income segment. Taking an ecosystem development approach, the programme creates and disseminates resources that help startups and entrepreneurs get the right knowledge, tools, funding, partners, and access to test markets to help develop inclusive solutions.
Will Bharat Inclusion Initiative Change Things?
Last year, global banking and financial services provider JP Morgan collaborated with IIMA-CIIE to set up the Financial Inclusion Lab worth $9.5 Mn. The initiative was aimed at identifying and bringing to scale early-stage Indian fintech startups.
As part of the collaboration, the startups will enable access and usage of appropriate financial products and services such as savings, credit and insurance for the LMI segment which earns $2 to $10 a day.
“Start-ups are often unaware of the specific user needs, design elements, and distribution models that they should consider while solving problems for the underserved LMI segments. A one-size-fits-all solution deployed ends up being irrelevant to the customers and drains the start-up’s limited resources. The need to reimagine such solutions inspired the setup of the Financial Inclusion Lab,” said the statement.
J.P. Morgan provides up to $7 Mn over a span of four years towards this initiative. This is considered the largest philanthropic commitment made by JP Morgan. US-based Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are also supporting the Lab.