Sonia Manchanda's Idiom Launches Super Incubator- DREAM:IN; Design is the Big Bet

This article is part of the series called Startup Hatch, about incubators and accelerators in the startup ecosystem.

We've had incubators and we've had accelerators and now we have a super incubator. Maybe just a fancy name but project DREAM:IN has a lot of heart behind it. Initiated by entrepreneur Sonia Manchanda, DREAM:IN is an effort to bring dreams to life. Sonia, a 1992 batch graduate from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad has held some key positions in her career and holds the distinction of founding one of the India's largest integrated design practices, Idiom. She, along with Kush Medhora who has over two decades of corporate experience had started the DREAM:IN project back in early 2011.

The initial project was to capture these dreams and find a place for them which has slowly transformed and taken shape of a 'Super Incubator'

Everyone has a dream and the collection of dreams is a reflection of tomorrow.
This is the idea Sonia and team have been working with and what has made them 'dream catchers'. DREAM:IN is all about giving flight to the dreams of the common man that usually doesn't see the light of the day. The focus is on youth and DREAM:IN plans to capture 10,000 dreams from around 250 colleges in South India with whom they've already tied up.

"By 2015, India will have 700 million youth and by 2020, around 45 million of these young, energetic people would be unemployed. This gap needs to be bridged and we'll try to do that by incubating these amazing ideas that are there across the nation," says Kush Medhora.

Around 1770 ideas have already been captured and the process of nurturing and shaping them is under way. Catching the dreams and further processes are run in parallel with the help of mentors and investors that are on board. This is how the ideas will be filtered:

The final demo day when all the selected 100 ideas will present is scheduled to happen around March 2013. Gray Matter Capital, Helion Ventures, Seedfund, Accel Partners and a few other Venture Capital firms have invested in the project and would be actively looking at the companies.

The key input for the idea would be from the design front. "Design comes into Indian businesses at a very late stage. We want to change this. Infusing the beauty of design while developing a business is a key for it to flourish," says Sonia. "DREAM:IN is a mission to transform youth from being merely prospective consumers of income and employment to becoming creators of wealth and employment," she adds about the program as a whole.

The team has already done some work in district Tumkur in Karnataka details about which can be read here. They intend to replicate this to other districts and create more self sustainable ventures. At this point, no equity is taken by DREAM:IN and the IP stays with the entrepreneur but a formal model is yet to evolve wherein DREAM:IN might pick up some equity in the company.

More about the super incubator on the website and stay tuned for more for more dreams...


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