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Bharat Inclusion Initiative

Updated: Dec 30, 2022



The Bharat Inclusion Initiative is an effort towards building knowledge and fostering innovation and entrepreneurial activity directed at improving financial inclusion and livelihood for the poor. The initiative focuses on solutions leveraging technology, especially the India Stack. Taking an ecosystem development approach, the program will create and disseminate resources that help startups and entrepreneurs get the right knowledge, tools, funding, partners and access to test markets to help develop inclusive solutions.


Why we are doing this


India is going through a massive state-led digitization effort. This includes various initiatives such as the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile trinity, the move to a fully online GST regime, and the creation of inclusive and open access technologies (such as UPI, DigiLocker, eKYC, electronic consent etc.). With this rapid digitization, the unseen majority of Bharat will join the economic mainstream creating vast opportunities for innovative ventures aiming to improve the financial health of the poor. There has never been a better time to create solutions for Bharat as these technologies will help overcome the traditional cost and trust barriers in the currently underserved markets.


While these new technology platforms and digital infrastructure can potentially make the economics work in favor of start-ups serving Bharat, deploying these newly built platforms (often still in beta/initial development phases) can be technically challenging and requires significant technical assistance and hand-holding to support experimentation. Further, to overcome the problems of long investment horizons, uncertain paths to monetization, and difficulties achieving scale, a nascent ecosystem like this requires patient capital to help Bharat focused startups cross the proverbial valley of death and attract commercial capital eventually.


How we help


The Initiative comprises of several programs that are aligned with the different stages of development of a viable use case. The continuous feedback loop between programs helps create a symbiotic ecosystem that enables the stakeholders to create the intended positive impact. The key programs are:


1. Evangelizing the program objective by

  • Developing a community of stakeholders including startups, professionals and enthusiasts

  • Creating original content to disseminate knowledge about new inclusive technologies, promising business models and exciting ideas to tackle financial exclusion

  • Extensive online and offline interactions through discussions, hackathons and conferences

2. Research on Financial Inclusion through fellowships and developing the IIMA Center of Excellence to build knowledge about the underserved and enhance the learning of the entire ecosystem by disseminating the knowledge generated.


3. Incubation support to Entrepreneurs in Residence already working on relevant solutions or willing to work on problems identified via research.


4. Accelerators to speed up and augment entrepreneurial effort through capacity building and customized mentoring.

  • Product Accelerator to help idea/prototype stage startups achieve product-market fit

  • Business Accelerator for MVP stage startups to achieve commercially viability

5. Grants for research, prototyping and market validation efforts of early stage entrepreneurs and startups.


6. Scale up Capital through the Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund to support promising startups from within the program and outside.


7. Market Making by identifying the policy and infrastructure bottlenecks, proposing solutions and creating a partner network to fill these gaps.


Engage with us

From startups to industry leaders and experts, if you believe in the cause and would like to contribute to the project, please email to bharatinclusion@ciieindia.org. Follow BharatInclusion on your preferred social media channel to receive regular updates about the initiative.

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