After a month of evaluation, 50 startups were selected out of 1,400 registrations of whom 10 made it to the final round. Networking sessions were held in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai where they were mentored by firms like Cupo nation, Practo, Investopad and OYO Rooms on fundraising, revenue modeling, hiring, branding and marketing, upscaling and technology .
In the grand finale, these 10 finalists pitched their ideas to VCs and potential investors giving a glimpse of their busi ness models, target areas and challenges. The audience con sisted students from various institutions who aspire to start ventures of their own by learning from existing busi ness models.
Jagat Shah, chief mentor of Mentor on Road Program mer that aims to empower MSMEs, budding entrepreneurs and startups and get them to contribute to the Make in India campaign, spoke about how a larger youth participation, innovative ideas and more startups are crucial for the policy. “The challenge in hand is that one crore young people are joining the market every year, but there are no jobs. The young aspirers today are well connected and know there are no jobs, so they look for alternatives. From second year onwards, students start thinking of options, network with entrepreneurs and attend events. This helps them conceive concepts and form teams. Five years from now, these new startups will be an integral part of Make in India.The drive right now talks about larger projects but ultimately it will be these smaller ones that will play a major role,“ said Shah.
Students present at the event felt that entrepreneurship is becoming a sought after career option due to a lot of success stories of startups.
“It’s about being independent and exploring new ideas. It gives us flexibility to reinvent ourselves and actually implement our creativity . It is all right if we fail at a small scale as it gives us a chance to learn.Starting up just after graduat ing is a safe option because we have our ideas and degrees,“ said Prannoy Pilligundla, executive chairman, Conquest 2015.
Dr Ashoke Kumar Sarkar, director, BITS Pilani, said that earlier getting a good job was the sole concern of students, but there is a change in mindset now. “Nowadays students think of getting into ventures of their own right after graduating and the demand for entrepreneurship courses is so huge that institutions have to come up with innovative courses to direct them to the right path,“ he said.
The startups in the finale were both tech-based and product-based. There were ventures that target students, like Delhi-based Career Anna, which offers personalized exam preparation and Frapp that offers exclusive discounts to verified students. Some startups like DoctorsNow, GYMPP and Swagene cater to health needs. Other finalists included Gamezop, Travanz, Longman Suntech, Truck Suvidha and ShopElect.