SwissRe’s Shine Programme looks to maximise the impact of social innovators with sustainable ideas

In its first two cohorts, the company selected Pure Paani and Bee Basket as two startups as impactful and commercially viable businesses.
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Amit Kalra, MD and Head of Global Business Service of SwissRe India

SwissRe, the global reinsurance company, has announced that it will be closing its third cohort of the Shine Programme by August 15. After assessing hundreds of applications,only one startup will be able to get through the programme. The last two cohorts (2018 and 2019) saw Pure Paani and Bee Basket get through.

SwissRe’s Shine Programme is a corporate programme looking for startups that are building sustainable products with a social impact. The selection process goes through a panel that has looked at sustainable ideas globally.

“Innovation can be on technology and a unique product around climate risk, agriculture, healthcare, and renewable energy. We provide them with the grants and also guidance through the programme to scale the idea,” says Amit Kalra, MD and Head of Global Business Service of SwissRe India.

The Shine Programme functions under the aegis of Swiss Re Foundation, which supports social innovators in translating their ideas into scalable business models and to maximise social impact. Shine has partnered with BOOKBRIDGE, a social enterprise, and Ashoka, a global NGO nurturing social entrepreneurs. Its twin objectives are:

  • To support India-based social entrepreneur, preferably in its early stage, to scale up its business to maximise social impact and become sustainable in the long run.
  • Swiss Re employees' participation in a six-month entrepreneurial journey with this social enterprise. Here, employees work with entrepreneurs and learn the importance of entrepreneurial thinking in today's VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity).


At the end of the programme, the selected social enterprise stands a chance to win a financial grant of up to Rs 15 lakh to fuel their growth. The amount is given in two tranches – Rs 5 lakh upfront on being selected for the programme, and the rest of the Rs 10 lakh after successfully pitching to a jury.

Pure Paani, was the winner of the first edition of the programme. It is a social enterprise that is dedicated to making drinking water available to all by providing access to affordable filtration and treatment solutions.

Since the Shine engagement, Pure Paani has been able to increase its customer base, add new partners, and expand into nine states in India. In addition to their products, they have also launched water consultancy for different kinds of projects.

In the second edition, the company selected Bee Basket, a company that focuses on delivering pure honey without destroying the beehive. They intend to promote a healthy lifestyle and a sustainable ecosystem, along with a focus on bee conservation and upliftment of indigenous communities engaged in honey harvesting.

The third cohort is currently open and startups can apply on the Swiss Re Foundation website.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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