Suzuki Aims for “Next Billion” in India with ₹340Cr Social Impact Fund

July 4, 2024: Japanese automotive giant Suzuki Motor Corporation is deepening its commitment to the Indian market with the launch of a social impact investment fund, Next Bharat Ventures IFSC Private Limited. The subsidiary aims to cultivate a robust social entrepreneurship ecosystem by deploying a Rs 340 crore fund to back startups in Tier II cities and beyond.

Next Bharat Ventures will focus on fostering sustainable businesses that address societal challenges in key areas like agriculture, financial inclusion, rural supply chain management, and mobility. This targeted approach aligns with the company’s vision of empowering “Next Billion” individuals in India, a segment beyond its traditional mobility customer base.

Scaling Impact Through Investment and Incubation

“We’re building a deeply community-oriented impact entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Vipul Nath Jindal, CEO and Managing Director of Next Bharat Ventures. The fund prioritizes horizontal scaling, aiming to nurture hundreds of profitable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over a single fund cycle, rather than focusing on a few high-growth ventures.

To achieve this objective, Next Bharat Ventures has launched a unique “Next Bharat Residency program.” This four-month program identifies promising early-stage entrepreneurs who prioritize social impact and demonstrate a clear problem-solving approach for India’s rural communities and informal sector.

Selected ventures will receive not only seed funding ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 5 crore but also critical mentorship, industry connections, and access to essential resources, including risk capital. This comprehensive support system is designed to equip them with the tools they need to scale their operations and transition into successful SMEs.

Suzuki Innovation Center Integrates with Next Bharat Ventures

Emphasizing Suzuki’s long-term commitment to India’s social fabric, Toshihiro Suzuki, President and CEO of Suzuki Motor Corporation, highlighted the company’s desire to connect with a broader segment of the Indian populace. “We want to be part of India’s future story,” he remarked.

As part of this strategy, the Suzuki Innovation Center, established over two and a half years ago at IIT Hyderabad, will now become an integral part of Next Bharat Ventures. The center will continue its focus on open-innovation and fostering an India-Japan ecosystem dedicated to social good initiatives.

Next Bharat Ventures’ initiative signals a significant shift in corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies in India. By directly investing in and nurturing social impact ventures, Suzuki is taking a proactive approach to addressing societal challenges and fostering inclusive economic growth in Tier II and beyond.

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