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IT’S an encouraging period for fresh start-ups and they are now competing to win an award from Tata and NGO National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN). The registration, which closes on October 22, has received 512 entries till date.

Laura Parkin, executive director of NEN says, “I am thrilled with the number of entries. I think this is the first time anyone is gathering this kind of information and is the largest showcase of start-ups ever in India.” She adds that 30 companies with highest rankings from experts and viewer votes will be shortlisted on November 30, out of which five will emerge as winners. “The winners will not only get publicity but also tailormade business plans by IIM-A and IIM-B and technology coaching from Microsoft.

Explaining the voting system, Parkin says, “When you tell people to check an online director of start-ups, people won’t take a look. So we created a situation where people can also be engaged in the competition. Also, the idea is to get more visibility for all the nominees. So every single nominee will benefit from this.” About the low turnout of women entrepreneurs, Parkin notices more and more female students engaging in various entrepreneurial activities in the college campus. She is hopeful that the students will take it forward beyond the college level.

Recent phenomenon

Parkin says the trend of people investing their own money in starting a business is quite new and that increasing economic opportunities and media have played a role.

NEN has also set up an online volunteer structure, where entrepreneurs can interact with students on campuses. “Students invite entrepreneurs to give talks on launching start-ups. Entrepreneurs are eager to spend time with students,” says Parkin, adding that 60 nominees have already registered in the volunteer group.

Kanwaljit Singh of Helion Ventures is an advisor with NEN. He says the nomination figures are promising and is excited that they are from wide geographical areas and not just metropolitan cities and that the profiles are vary from each other greatly.

Entrepreneurs log on

New start-up award throws up these trends

  • Bangalore has the highest start-ups (26%) followed by Delhi and Mumbai
  • Out of the 96 start-ups registered from Mumbai, retail/consumer sector is most popular, with 28%
  • Chennai and Hydrabad have a great mix of entrepreneurs across all sectors
  • There are just 9% women entrepreneurs overall
  • Around 70% entrepreneurs began their start-ups with personal savings
  • Nearly 49% first-time entrepreneurs were previously employed
  • 76% are first-generation entrepreneurs coming from a family with no business background, while 65% are first-timers
  • IT, e-commerce and consumer based services are hot sectors for start-ups with media and retail soon catching up.
  • 41% entrepreneurs – a majority – have studied in Tier 1 cities, followed by 40% from Tier 2 cities
  • 33% nominees are in their 30s, while 27% are in their late 20s and 19% between ages 19 and 25
  • 174 start-ups have completed a year, while 116 have only finished six months
  • 30% entrepreneurs from Tier 2 and 3 cities moved to Tier 1 cities to launch their start-ups.

(Published in Sunday Mid Day on 19th October, 2008)


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