In 2016, Pratyush Halen and Anuraag Agrawal decided to leave corporate life behind and work on their vision of changing banking for rural markets. Fingpay was the result and quickly built a name for itself among the growing list of startups in India. In order to get a financial boost and mentorship for their business, the co-founders decided to participate in the Amazon Smbhav Entrepreneurship Challenge, a program that enables small and medium businesses to transform into large-scale enterprises. The startups competing in the Entrepreneurship Challenge get the opportunity to pitch their business ideas, participate in curated mentoring programs, and showcase their brand to potential customers, alongside leading investors and industry experts. For Fingpay, the platform proved to be gamechanger and a catalyst for monumental growth, as it emerged as the winner of the 2021 Entrepreneurship Challenge.
Amazon Smbhav Entrepreneurship Challenge is an amazing initiative that recognizes the efforts of startups in India and supports them in their growth.
"This program gave us good visibility among clients, consumers, and other startups. Amazon had very comprehensive steps around the program. Smbhav gave us a lot of ideas and many experts guided us. Amazon Smbhav Entrepreneurship Challenge is an amazing initiative that recognizes the efforts of startups in India and supports them in their growth. It promotes innovation, brand awareness, and lots of other benefits," says Halen.
Smbhav aims to provide a support system to startups to unlock their potential through expert mentoring. This helps startups eliminate blind spots as they learn from the experience of industry leaders. Solethreads — a Delhi-based D2C startup co-founded by Sumant Kakaria, Gaurav Chopra, Vikram Iyer, and Aprajit Kathuria — built an exciting success path by identifying the right accelerators, investors, and mentors at Smbhav. Starting as a completely bootstrapped business, Solethreads aims to disrupt the open footwear category with an emphasis on comfort, sustainability, innovation, and superior designs.
The Entrepreneurship Challenge provided Solethreads with much-needed resources in the form of tools and tech that were needed to build and refine our offerings. This helped us drive impact at scale.
"The Entrepreneurship Challenge 2021 provided Solethreads with much-needed resources in the form of tools and tech that were needed to build and refine our offerings. This helped us drive impact at scale. The challenge encouraged us to refine our thoughts and brand-focused ideas, and helped us build networks along the way," says Sumant Kakaria, Founder & CEO, Solethreads.
The brand is also part of Amazon's Global Selling Propel Accelerator program and is now aiming for offline expansion. "We have a close working relationship with Amazon, and that's how we got to know about the Smbhav initiative. We were more focused on showcasing our brand to potential customers and getting guidance from a team of experts, so prize money was not our key agenda. We got the opportunity to meet and connect with other brands who were part of the same journey. As winners, our business garnered mileage on social media, which helped in brand building and recognition," says Vikram Iyer, Co-Founder, Solethreads.
Last year, Amazon recognized agriculture and healthcare as its two focus areas. The aim was to invest in Indian startups using technology to bring the best produce to consumers and make agri-inputs more accessible to farmers. Arya.ag — a startup that connects sellers and buyers of agriproduce by providing complete assurance on quantity, quality, and payments — emerged as one of the winners at the Entrepreneurship Challenge 2021.
"This has been a great validation of our efforts in building Arya.ag as India's largest agri-services platform. It is a great platform for aspiring businesses to get guidance from leaders who have driven large technology-enabled transformations in their respective industries. We continue to envision newer use cases and explore potential avenues of growth, and take this opportunity to wish all the participants of the 2022 program great success," says Chattanathan Devarajan, Co-Founder, Arya.ag.
The Smbhav Entrepreneurship Challenge 2022 is all set to return with the theme of pragati (progress). The Amazon Smbhav virtual summit is spread across two days, and will include leaders from the government, Amazon, and several industries in panel discussions that focus on topics like small business digitization, enablement of exports, and innovation, skilling, and job creation. The winners of the Entrepreneurship Challenge this year will be announced during the Amazon Smbhav summit on May 18-19.
Register here to be part of the event.