Ritesh Agarwal and Naropa on Thursday announce an equity-free grant of Rs 5 lakh each for four startups from Ladakh. The grants are a part of an initiative pledging Rs 1 crore equity-free grant and mentorship to grassroots entrepreneurs in the Ladakh region picking up promising start-ups for funding.
The selection was made based on the parameters such as the importance of the gap in the market they are trying to fulfil, clarity of purpose, the conviction of the founding team and strength of business model.
Ritesh will continue to support these ventures through regular interactions and sustained guidance.
The four startups picked up by Ritesh 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. Ladakh Beer identified the market potential of Chaang (Ladakhi local beer) and decided to produce and promote it. Nima Goos Goos promotes the natural herbs and crops which are found in abundance in the Himalayan region. The Forest Collective aims to stop pine-fueled forest fires and promote pine-based biomaterials.
Naropa Fellowship, co-founded by Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche and 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.
Ritesh Agarwal has worked closely in collaboration with the Naropa Fellowship to shortlist these startups 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 B2B platform that facilitates the processing and supply of Kashmiri rainbow trout to ecommerce platforms and premium hotel chains and My Pahadi Dukan - an ecommerce platform featuring curated products from small- and medium-scale enterprises.