Winners at Swachhata Startup Challenge receives grant from MoHUA and AFD

Winners at Swachhata Startup Challenge receives grant from MoHUA and AFD

The Swachhata Startup Conclave's closing and award ceremony took place at the Dr. Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi. The Swachhata Startup Challenge was established by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Agence Française de Developpement (AFD), with Villgro serving as the implementation partner.

The top 10 startups creating innovative solutions, catalysing the momentum of the waste management ecosystem in India, were felicitated by Kaushal Kishore, Minister of State, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, Roopa Mishra, Joint Secretary and National Mission Director, Swachh Bharat Mission (MoHUA), and Manoj Joshi, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

The top 10 startups will each receive funding to the tune of Rs 25 lakhs from MoHUA and AFD as well as personalized professional and capacity-building support for a year. Eligible startups will also receive 50 lakhs in follow-on investment from Villgro.

Speaking at the event, the Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain remarked, "France and India are committed to working together on tackling plastic pollution and waste management. The AFD-MoHUA Swachhata Startup Challenge is a concrete step in this direction, and we are proud of the overwhelming response it has received. I warmly congratulate the 10 winners whose innovative solutions will bring about socially impactful transformation to India's waste management ecosystem."

Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, interacted with the founders of the top 30 startups, who were featured in a booklet launched at the Swachhata Startup Conclave, along with their innovations. Two-panel discussions, Sankalp, facilitated by Ananth Aravamudan, Sector Lead, Climate Action, Villgro, and Prerna, facilitated by Mohammad Azhar, Lead, Government & Public Sector Initiatives, were also held to discuss the challenges, learnings and journeys of Indian soonicorns and unicorns.

The Swachhata Startup Challenge seeks to create a conducive environment and nurture impactful startups creating solutions at the nexus of social innovation and technology. Furthermore, it provides financial, capacity building and GTM support to the startups to reinforce India's waste management ecosystem and catalyze digital transformation, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 (SBM-U 2.0).

The Swachata Startup Challenge received an overwhelming response with a diverse application pool of 244* applications from 23 States and Union Territories, including 100 women-led startups.

The Top 10 winners are

- Genrobotics develops robotic scavengers engineered to clean manholes and sewers, thereby eliminating manual scavenging.

- The Kabadiwala enables users to sell and schedule free pickup of over 40 different categories of recyclable wastes.

- Bintix Waste Research tracks collection, weighing, sorting and recycling of dry waste coming from each household.

- Recycler India-Saltech transforms single-use plastics, construction and industrial waste into high-performance composite building materials.

- Jal Sevak recycles wastewater from bathrooms, sinks, cloth-washing and dishwashing for flushing toilets and urinals.

- GreenJams produces carbon-negative building materials out of crop residues and industrial by-products to replace conventional bricks.

- Mudita and Radhesh transforms chicken waste into handloom cloth, which is turned into clothes and accessories by tribal women and local village artisans.

- Green Delight Innovation produces India's first FDA-approved sanitary pads that are organic, plastic-free and biodegradable.

- KNP Arises offers a platform for hotels, restaurants and other food businesses to dispose of used cooking oil in a traceable and effective manner.

- Cherries produces a portable, multi-functional Sanitation Service Equipment, which pumps high-density fecal and sanitary sludge from leach-pits, septic tanks and manholes.

Villgro is India's foremost and one of the world's largest social enterprise incubators. Established in 2001, Villgro's mission is to make innovative, impactful businesses succeed in Health, Agribusiness, and Climate Action. Since 2001, Villgro has supported 340 social enterprises that have raised over INR 4.28 billion in investments, created 5646 jobs and impacted over 20.8 million lives. Villgro was awarded the Top Incubator Award by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (GoI) in 2020 and the DivHERsity awards in 2022.

Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) Group is a public financial institution that funds, supports and accelerates transitions towards a more just and sustainable world. As a French overseas aid platform for sustainable development and investment, we and our partners create shared solutions, with and for the people of the global South.

AFD is working on over 4,000 projects in 115 countries where it strives to promote health, education and gender equality, and to protect common resources with a focus on peace, biodiversity and a stable climate.

A partner of India since 2008, AFD works with Indian authorities to promote green and inclusive growth.

AFD operates through loans to State and public enterprises as well as through technical assistance programs to support sustainable urban development, energy transitions and ecological preservation in the country.