Suzuki Motor Launches Next Bharat Ventures, Rs 340 Crore Fund to Bolster Startups

Suzuki Motor
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Suzuki Motor has launched its first investment fund in India, Next Bharat Ventures, a Rs 340 crore fund aimed at fostering impact entrepreneurs in Tier-II and smaller cities. This initiative is designed to support social impact startups in agriculture, financial inclusion, rural supply chains, and rural mobility through a comprehensive residency program.

Next Bharat Ventures will run a 4-month hybrid residency program where selected entrepreneurs will receive mentorship, access to resources, and networking opportunities with industry experts and peers. Upon completion, these startups will be eligible for equity investments ranging from Rs 10 million to 50 million.

“The core value of Next Bharat lies in nurturing and empowering impact entrepreneurs driven by cause, contribution, and community, with a strong emphasis on supporting businesses from Tier-II and III cities,” said Jindal. “We aim to empower under-represented regions, drive economic development, and foster a culture of innovation that addresses the unique challenges faced by these communities.”

An official statement added, “Next Bharat Ventures aims to empower ‘India’s next billion’ by supporting these impact entrepreneurs.”

Toshihiro Suzuki, President and CEO of Suzuki Motor Corporation, stated, “Bharat has about 1.4 billion people, but we have only reached about 0.4 billion with our mobility business. Our goal is to connect with the ‘Next Billion’ people of India, extending beyond mobility and becoming a part of India’s future story.”

Next Bharat Ventures plans to make up to 20 investments each year for the next three to four years. The cheque sizes would vary between Rs 1 crore and Rs 8 crore. The fund will prioritize sectors such as agritech, supply chain management, financial inclusion, and rural mobility, among others.

The investments will be made over a 15-year period, with an emphasis on firms that support workers in the informal economy, such as gig workers and waste management workers, as well as those who deal with the rural economy, including farmers and craftsmen. In June 2023, Maruti Suzuki India picked six businesses for its nurture program: DriverShaab, Route2Jute, OiHelp, Hopun Innovations, Backyard Creators, and Salutem Ridegear. The initiative was run in collaboration with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP).

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