Mitti Cafe is one of the winners of the Bumble Grant Program launched in March 2020, to support women-led small businesses. The Bengaluru café is run by people with physical and intellectual disabilities, and claims that the grant helped Mitti kick-start its COVID-19 relief work.
“Food is the need of the hour,” says founder Alina Alam, “The grant money is going towards the Mitti Karuna Meals, where our persons with disabilities are serving daily-wage earners and the homeless. We have been able to serve over four-and-a-half lakh meals.”
Social networking site Bumble, which focusses on women-empowerment, has taken initiatives to support 180 local businesses through the Grant Program, launched in March 2020. As a part of the initiative, they offered winners ₹1,00,000 across 11 countries, including India, USA, UK, Russia, Germany, Australia, France, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, and New Zealand.
Of the 20,000 applicants worldwide across sectors like food and service, retail, CSR, technology, fashion and lifestyle, healthcare, education, and more, 2,000 SME applicants were from India. Thirteen of these have received the grant, and eight of these businesses are led by women entrepreneurs.
Director and COO of Mitti, Swati Dokania says, “Bumble’s vision of small businesses working through the community, to make a change, and sustain each other, aligns with ours. That is why we applied for the grant.”
As of now, the 12 Mitti Cafe branches, set up inside various office campuses such as Infosys and Wipro, will remain shut to stay safe from the pandemic. However, the Mitti Karuna Meals initiative is on-going. “Our staff of adults with disabilities came up with this idea, and that’s why we reached out to organisations, including Bumble, to kickstart this,” says Alina.
The 116 staff members at Mitti Cafe are currently helping feed the homeless. However, many of the staff, including assistant manager, Rajasekhar, used to live off the streets as well. “He has an intellectual disability, but today, he trains other people we hire,” says Alina, adding, “Our aim is to help create awareness while at the same time, support them financially.”
Mitti Cafe now has plans of expanding to Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad.