Inclusion in Finance through Assistive Technology

The opportunity is massive; one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability, constituting the largest minority group in the world. A 2019 UN report cites that 28% of banks in developed countries, and between 8% and 64% banks in some emerging economies, to be inaccessible.

i-Innovate, a joint initiative of Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH) & HDFC Bank in partnership with AssisTech Foundation (ATF) is committed to implementing a range of programs aimed at nurturing innovation and inclusivity within the financial sector for Persons with Disabilities by leveraging cutting edge tech solutions. The initiative will embark on an extensive study of the financial landscape, focusing on identifying key market gaps and challenges at the intersection of technology and finance for PwDs. Additionally, the initiative also aims to support existing endeavors by entrepreneurs to enable financial inclusion for PwDs through the i-Innovate Innovation Grant. 

The i-Innovate Innovation Challenge aims to empower & assist startups in India that are dedicated to leveraging innovative technologies to break down barriers, enhance accessibility, and foster inclusivity within the financial ecosystem for persons with disabilities.


Grant upto 15 Lacs

Network Mixers
Offline Demo Day
Need Assessment
1:1 Mentoring
Access to Grand Funding
Domain Specific Masterclasses
Access to Partnerships

Who is it for?

Assistive Technology Startups | FinTech Startups

Focus Area

Solutions Enabling Financial Ecosystem to be More Inclusive for Persons with Disabilities

The program’s focus is to enhance access, usage and quality of financial services for disabled persons. Submissions may include:

  1. Products & Services that utilize technology to bridge communication gaps between persons with disabilities and financial institutions, ensuring a smooth and inclusive interaction for various financial needs.
  2. Solutions that enhance digital accessibility for persons with disabilities, ensuring they can independently and seamlessly access a wide range of financial services.
  3. Solutions that enhance physical accessibility for persons with disabilities, ensuring they can independently and seamlessly access a wide range of financial services
  4. Innovative solutions that leverage technology to provide inclusive financial education, empowering persons with disabilities with knowledge about financial resources, planning, and management.
  5. Technology solutions that make point-of-sale systems and financial transactions more accessible for persons with disabilities, ensuring a seamless shopping and payment experience.
  6. Technology tools that facilitate easy and secure banking transactions for persons with disabilities, allowing them to manage their finances with autonomy.
  7. Solutions that enable real-time financial assistance for individuals with disabilities, fostering quick and efficient support during emergencies or unique financial situations.
  8. Other innovative solutions for the financial inclusion of persons with disabilities, like creation of diverse financial instruments, alternate credit models tailored to the credit access needs of persons with disabilities, and similar groundbreaking initiatives, are encouraged to apply.

Representative List of Solutions

Eligibility Criteria

  • Startups are eligible to apply, a startup is a legal entity with its period of existence and operations being less than 10 years from the date of incorporation and incorporated as a Private Limited Company, a Registered Partnership Firm or a Limited Liability Partnership with an annual turnover not exceeding Rs. 100 crore for any of the financial years since its Incorporation
  • The startup should be legally registered in India.
  • The startup must focus on developing Assistive Technology or FinTech solutions that address the specified fnancial inclusion areas for People with Disabilities (PwDs).
  • Startups at early-stage (revenue generating) & growth stage are eligible.
  • Startups should provide evidence or projections of the impact of their solutions on enhancing financial inclusion for PwDs.
  • Products and services should comply with accessibility standards to ensure usability by individuals with disabilities.
  • The startup should showcase the potential for scaling its operations and impact.

Apply Now

Deadline - February 20, 2024

Tentative Schedule

Application Period: Jan 20, 2024 – Feb 20, 2024

Selection Process: Feb 25, 2024

Announcement of Winners: TBD (Tentatively Last Week of February)

While the specific date remains to be determined, the announcement of challenge winners is tentatively scheduled for the last week of February. This moment will mark the unveiling of those visionary startups whose innovative solutions have earned them the prestigious i-Innovate Innovation Grant.

Excitement is building, and the journey is just beginning. Together, we can break down barriers and create a future where financial services are truly inclusive for persons with disabilities. Apply now to win the “i-Innovate” Innovation Challenge and make a lasting impact on the lives of Persons with Disabilities.

Apply Now

About Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBiH)

The Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBiH) – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) – is an organization that enables frictionless finance to a billion Indians. RBiH functions as a focal platform, bringing together members of financial, technological and academic institutions, to promote and accelerate innovation across the financial sector. With a robust ecosystem that enables the exchange of ideas, research and development of prototypes, RBiH aims to not only strengthen the Indian financial system but also keep India at the forefront of global financial innovation.

About HDFC Bank

Promoted in 1995 by Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), India’s leading housing finance company, HDFC Bank is one of India’s premier banks providing a wide range of financial products and services to its 8.28 crore customers (as on March 31, 2023) across hundreds of Indian cities using multiple distribution channels including a pan-India network of branches, ATMs, phone banking, net banking and mobile banking.

The HDFC Bank Parivartan StartUp Grants was launched in 2017 under the HDFC Bank’s Parivartan (CSR) and StartUp vertical. The program contributes towards social development in India by supporting emerging innovative startups working in the social space via incubators. Over the 6 cohorts, the program has disbursed ~Rs.45 crore in grants via 75+ incubator partners and a cumulative ~250 Startups have received financial support for developing impactful solutions.

During FY 2023–24, the HDFC Bank Parivartan StartUp Grants intend to provide grant assistance to 15-20 incubators and accelerators  to further support 40-50 potential social impact startups.

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About AssisTech Foundation (ATF)

In the landscape of Assistive Technology (AT), the AssisTech Foundation (ATF) emerges as a thought leader, spearheading innovation, and inclusivity. ATF has been impacting 5.1 Lakhs lives of people with disabilities through its high impact initiatives. ATF has a portfolio of 42 start-ups, with 100+ assistive technology products and 43 patents spread across 5 cohorts.

A Way Forward

Join us on this transformative journey! Together, we can break down barriers and create a future where financial services are truly inclusive. Apply now to win the the “i-Innovate” Innovation Grant and make a lasting impact on the lives of Persons with Disabilities.

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