Ritesh Agarwal has granted a part of a partnership with Naropa, to nurture microentrepreneurial in Ladakh and nearby regions
Travel tech OYO's founder, Ritesh Agarwal, along with Naropa Fellowship has announced an equity-free grant of Rs five lakh each for four start-ups from Ladakh. The grants are a part of an initiative pledging Rs one crore equity-free grant and mentorship to grassroots entrepreneurs in the Ladakh region picking up promising start-ups for funding.
The selection is said to be based on the parameters such as the importance of the gap in the market they are trying to fulfill, clarity of purpose, the conviction of the founding team, and strength of the business model.
Agarwal will continue to support these ventures through regular interactions and sustained guidance, said the company.
The four start-ups picked up are Siachen Naturals, Ladakh Brew, Nima Goos Goos and The Forest Collective.
Siachen Naturals was founded with the aim to produce and promote healthy food alternatives to fast food. They have developed a range of traditional Ladakhi superfoods made of organic ingredients such as barley which are rich in protein and fiber.
Ladakh Beer produces and promotes Chaang, a local Ladakhi beer, as the only commercial local beverage available in the region. Beer production also encourages the farming of Barley, the main ingredient used in manufacturing. The start-up also provides livelihood opportunities to local women who have been making Chaang for ages.
Nima Goos Goos promotes the natural herbs and crops which are found in abundance in the Himalayan region. Their herbal tea product, also known as ‘Tisanes’ is available in different varieties.
The Forest Collective aims to stop pine-fueled forest fires and promote pine-based biomaterials which are alternatives to plastic and timber for varied industries. They are also exploring the potential of using them for the manufacture of wellness products such as perfumes and candles to diversify our income streams.
Naropa Fellowship, co-founded by His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche and Dr Pramath Raj Sinha is a Ladakh-based fellowship programme aimed at creating environmentally and socially conscious entrepreneurs of tomorrow from the Himalayan region. The fellowship provides a platform for budding entrepreneurs to create businesses that add value to the local community and bring economic sustainability to the region.
Agarwal has worked closely in collaboration with the Naropa Fellowship to shortlist these start-ups that will bring value to and boost the local economies of the region.
The start-ups previously granted are EcoKash, a women-owned, sustainable fashion and branding startup, The Himalayan Chocolates, manufacturing chocolates using local and indigenous organic ingredients, Zarin, a business-to-business (B2B) platform that facilitates the processing and supply of Kashmiri rainbow trout to e-commerce platforms and premium hotel chains and My Pahadi Dukan, an e-commerce platform featuring curated products from small and medium-scale enterprises.