New Delhi, India, September 10, 2014: India’s yearly job creation requirement over the next decade is predicted to be 10-15 million per year, which can be addressed by boosting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). While there has been a steady growth of such enterprises, over 21% of them failed in early years due to roadblocks to scale.
A thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem consisting of incubators and accelerators providing advice, mentoring and, occasionally, seed capital can ensure that budding entrepreneurs face minimal challenges in scaling their enterprises. Unfortunately, in India, this has been limited to metro cities that have limited bandwidth to support enterprises outside of these cities.
StartupWave is a virtual incubation platform that has been built as an infrastructure for the Indian start-up incubation eco-system. It has been conceptualized by Intellecap in partnership with Government of UK’s Department for International Development in India and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). As a collaborative platform, it aims to “democratize incubation” and is a one-stop service, providing a blend of virtual and in-person support to take start-up enterprises from idea to investment stage. This platform is designed in consultation with, and is being used by, incubators, corporates, funds and start-ups.
The platform was launched in April this year for a test pilot. Since then, it has onboarded 190 idea and pilot stage ventures that run a variety of businesses ranging from tier III-focused ecommerce ideas, to affordable diagnostics, to skill-building initiatives for youth. About 20% of these start-ups are based out of Tier II and Tier III cities. StartupWave’s current offerings for these entrepreneurs include business idea validation and feedback, mentoring, and showcase to leading incubators and angel networks. The platform has 20 mentors and a network of 25 partner incubators − 5 of which are from low income states such as Jharkhand, Rajasthan etc.
Nisha Dutt, Executive Director at Intellecap says, “We believe incubation support needs to be more democratic, and available to anyone with a business idea regardless of whether they are in Delhi or Ranchi or Imphal. StartupWave is still in early stages of working towards this vision; but given that it is an online platform, we think we will be able to scale it rapidly.”
Marshall Elliott, Head, DFID India, says, “Supporting small and medium businesses in India to establish and expand will lead to job creation and development, especially in the poorer states. We are delighted to be a part of this exciting initiative ‘StartupWave’ which will support such enterprises and help them contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction.”
Stefanie Bauer, Project Manager, Private Sector Development at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, who is a founding partner of this initiative says, “StartupWave has the potential to bring startup support providers on a common stage. We believe that we can help young entrepreneurs in a better way through collaboration in the eco-system and cooperation between incubators, investors, corporates and other support organizations. StartupWave does not only make it easier for the entrepreneur to find the right support, it also helps incubators and investors to build a good pipeline for entrepreneurs.”
The platform is finding strong acceptance with entrepreneurs. Ashweetha Shetty who runs a rural students’ skill building enterprise “Bodhi Tree Skills” says, “StartupWave has immensely helped me in articulating my initial ideas and improving them based on feedback from the Evaluation Committee. I am now filling up a business pitch to apply to for incubation support. The platform has helped me to get a step closer to my dream of building a successful enterprise.”
StartupWave is free to use for entrepreneurs, who can register at startupwave.co/beta and turn paper plans into business models validated by experts, and even go on to showcasing these to incubators and angel networks for further support. The platform is also open for incubators and startup evangelists to sign up.