If you are in a sustainable business then chances are that you will be given a helping hand, mentored and provided technical and financial advice to grow faster and better. That is, once your enterprise is spotted by the Mumbai-based Greenr — an equity-free accelerator with the mandate to scale-up green innovations in India.

Hasiru Dala Innovations in Bangalore which is transforming waste recycling while empowering waste pickers; Mumbai-based RUR Greenlife, which employs an end-to-end approach towards urban solid waste management and Delight Innovations, Coimbatore, a one-stop organic, natural solution for women hygiene products, are among the 130 start-ups hand-picked last June in round one of the Greenr Sustainability Accelerator programme.

The programme, one of the largest of its kind in the country, hopes to handhold 400 green start-ups in a three-year project. It is currently scouting for its second round of 130 green entrepreneurs. Greenr is part of the global TechnoServe Green Entrepreneurship Accelerator programme, and is supported by IKEA and Visa foundations. Its aim is to provide small and growing businesses (SGBs) the support they need to scale up.

Ajay Menon, Senior Practice Lead, TechnoServe India and Program Director of the Greenr Sustainability Accelerator programme, says evidence suggests that if green SGBs are supported, it can result in economic and ecological sustainability. These start-ups, however, face challenges that are peculiar to them. These include “immature markets, the ‘intention-action’ gap in green consumerism, insufficient knowledge of green technology solutions, inadequate access to finance, limited business building and management skills and an inability to quantify environmental impact.” Hence, to scale them up and leverage their potential, Greenr provides them with mentoring, tailored business advice, funding options and even talent search for their products or services.

For Greenr, the number of start-ups it touches is significant. Says Menon: “I think in terms of the numbers right now, our ability to strike up the right conversations with relevant ecosystem partners — whether we’re talking about market linkages, corporate connections or financing and fundraising... our whole accelerator immediately becomes a deal flow pipeline for a lot of these investors...”

Moreover, TechnoServe intends to learn from the accelerator experience and help the green sector to strengthen policy discussions and influence industry practices. It hopes existing accelerators in India and beyond will forge partnerships and adopt its model.