OYO CEO Ritesh Agarwal along with Naropa has announced equity-free grants of ₹5 lakh each for four start-ups from Ladakh. 

These grants are part of an initiative pledging ₹1 crore equity-free grant and mentorship to grassroots entrepreneurs in the Ladakh region picking up promising start-ups for funding. The four selected start-ups are Siachen Naturals, Ladakh Brew, Nima Goos Goos and The Forest Collective.

Siachen Naturals has developed a range of traditional Ladakhi superfoods made of organic ingredients such a barley which are rich in protein and fiber. Whereas, Ladakh Beer has identified the market potential of Chaang (Ladakhi local beer) and decided to produce and promote it as the only commercial local beverage available in the region.  

Further, Nima Goos Goos retails products made of herbs and crops found in abundance in the Himalayan region. On the other hand, The Forest Collective aims to stop pine-fueled forest fires by promoting pine-based biomaterials which are alternatives to plastic and timber for varied industries.

These startups were selected based on the parameters such as the importance of the gap in market they are trying to fulfil, clarity of purpose, conviction of the founding team, strength of business model. Agarwal will continue to support these ventures through regular interactions and sustained guidance. 

Naropa Fellowship, co-founded by His Eminence 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.

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. This latest initiative falls in line with Agarwal’s personal aspirations to support and grow India’s dynamic startup ecosystem at the grassroots and in small towns.