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Startups with a social focus will get Rs 50 lakh grant from Karnataka Govt: Minister Priyank Kharge

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Speaking at Shell Energy Entrepreneurship Conference 2018, Karnataka Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge says government wants to encourage innovations that focus on rural development.

There’s good news for Indian startups with a social bent. The Karnataka Government on Monday announced that it would grant Rs 50 lakh to startups that have a strong social focus and are working for rural development in the state.

Announcing the grant at the Shell Energy Entrepreneurship Conference 2018, State Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge said, “To encourage more social innovations, any innovations that focus on rural development and well-being with a strong social impact, the Department of Social Welfare, Government of Karnataka, will be willing to support startups across the state with a grant of Rs 50 lakh.”

The minister also expressed his willingness to adopt a startup currently being incubated in Shell E4 for piloting as part of his department’s efforts related to manual scavenging.

The conference, organised by Shell E4, the company’s startup hub, hosted an energy-focused startups, venture capitalists, energy experts, and academia. The day also served as the graduation event for Shell E4’s first cohort of energy and sustainability startups.

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Launched in 2017, Shell E4 Startup Hub aims to foster a vibrant ecosystem of energy entrepreneurs by bringing together talent, technology, capital, and know-how to accelerate India’s transition towards a sustainable energy future.

Earlier this year, Shell selected five startups – Detect Technologies, ION Energy, IoTrek, Trashcon, and Ossus Biorenewables – that are working on a diverse range of solutions. These include real-time pipeline monitoring, creating safer and smarter infrastructure and outdoor work sites, automating segregation of municipal solid waste, recovering green chemicals from waste water, and building energy storage systems and infrastructure for electric vehicles. These startups are successfully integrating technologies like IoT and artificial intelligence within their core products.

Speaking at the conference, Nitin Prasad, Chairman, Shell Companies in India, said, “Shell is committed to be a trusted partner in India’s growth story through its people, partnerships, and innovations. Shell E4 furthers our commitment to nurture the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country. We will continue to evolve Shell E4 to foster solutions that can help India access more and cleaner energy, and drive sustainable growth. We wish each of the graduating startups the very best in their journey towards a sustainable future. We shall continue to liaison with them through Shell’s alumni network to help them further develop and deploy their technologies at a larger scale.”

The Demo Day also witnessed several panel discussions on Energy Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Future of Transportation and Mobility. In the discussion on Energy Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the focus was primarily on the overall scenario of energy innovation in India with a focus on production and consumption of energy within the country. The discussion on investment in energy sector saw panellists talk about what investors are looking at in the energy sector along with investment possibilities.

The day also saw “Speed Pitching”, where a few startups made elevator pitches to investors.

James Unterreiner, General Manager, Shell E4 Startup Hub, said, “The strategic intent of Shell E4 is to accelerate India’s transition to a sustainable energy future by becoming a major actor in the entrepreneurial ecosystem by linking talent, technology, capital and know-how for energy entrepreneurs in the country. The E4 incubator invests in the most promising startups to develop early insights in critical innovations and to build alignment and commitment with companies that we like to partner with.”

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