Home / Industry / Banking /  Sidbi's new fund to ease access to assistive technologies

Mumbai: The recent tie-up between Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) and Social Alpha will aid startups working in the assistive technology sector through financial support, thereby easing access to these technologies.

Assistive technology is a product or software that supports and improves capabilities of people with disabilities. Named Swavalamban Divyangjan Assistive Tech Market Access (ATMA) fund, it is a first of its kind inclusion fund offering financial grant to startups from this sector.

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Sidbi is the principal financial institution engaged in the promotion, financing and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Set up in 2016, Social Alpha is a multistage innovation curation and venture development platform for science and technology start-ups that address the most critical social, economic and environmental challenges.

Under this arrangement, each incubatee will have access to implementation support of up to 2 million. The fund will finance up to 50% of product price for the initial users improving the access and reducing the out-of-pocket expenditure for procuring new technologies.

V Satya Venkata Rao, deputy managing director of Sidbi said, “MSMEs and the development sector are the worst impacted by the covid-19 pandemic."

In India, there are anywhere between 40 million and 80 million persons with disabilities (PWDs) or one in 12 households has a family member with a disability. The Sidbi statement said that due to low literacy levels, social stigma and lack of opportunities, people with disabilities remain the most excluded members of society.

Sidbi said that though need for assistive technologies is well established, India lacks a vibrant market for disruptive assistive technologies solutions that can uplift people with disabilities.

“This is because the assistive technologies industry’s value chain is broken; distribution, sales and service mechanisms are poorly established, and, in many cases, non-existent. Moreover, the gap between need and affordability is huge, thus making it extremely difficult for persons with disabilities to access the latest innovations," it said.

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