Small towns will write next chapter of India’s startup story

Small towns will write the next chapter of India''s startup story, OYO Founder and Chairman Ritesh Agarwal said, as he extended his support to four startups from Ladakh and the Himalayan region that are part of the Naropa Fellowship programme.

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 from the Himalayan region.

"Small towns in India will write the next chapter of India''s startup story & I''m delighted to extend my support to this momentum, through an initial pledge of INR 1CR equity-free grant & mentorship to entrepreneurs across India-starting with 4 fantastic startups from @TheNaropa," Agarwal said in a tweet.

Small town entrepreneurs often struggle with a lack of access to resources and expertise, he added, stating that through strategic feedback, mentorship sessions and funding, he looks forward to doing his part for grassroots entrepreneurship.

"The 4 startups- EcoKash, My Pahadi Dukan, Zarin & The Himalayan Chocolate stand out because of their positive social impact, their unique approach toward the economic + ecological growth of their local communities & the resilience of their business models to adversity," Agarwal said in another tweet.

Agarwal has worked closely in collaboration with the Naropa Fellowship to shortlist the four startups.

"Being from Rayagada (a small town) myself, I know the unique privilege of being able to give back through your own efforts. These startups are poised to put their hometown on the map & let the world experience their rich culture. I hope my contribution can support their journey," he said.

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