You may have a valuable product, the right pricing and a dream team in place. And yet, as an early-stage start-up, you struggle to get through the market clutter because of a host of other factors. For instance, you may be a very young startup with a few customers you have wowed. What you need, in the middle of a volatile market and intense competition, is the wherewithal to continuously test and further develop your product and refine your business strategy to keep it in sync with emerging market trends. At the same time, you also need access to a network of customers, partners, investors and advisors to capitalise on the business traction.
While this journey looks exciting, it definitely isn’t easy. Especially, if you are a first-time entrepreneur trying to make your way through the strong current that is the market. It’s at a time like this that a well-designed accelerator programme can act as a much-needed support system.
FLAME University, the pioneer of liberal education in India, has now opened its doors to high-potential early-stage startups with the FLAME Origins Programme, an intensive accelerator programme supported by the FLAME Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (FCEI).
About the programme
FLAME Origins Programme is a five-month-long non-residential programme designed to help entrepreneurs receive feedback on their products from prospective customers and get guidance from people with relevant experience. The equity-free programme, which also does not include any participation fee, does require entrepreneurs to work full time on their early-stage startups.
The FCEI team will work closely with participants to ensure that they can derive maximum value from the programme. They will connect entrepreneurs to business mentors, subject matter experts, prospective customers and investors throughout the duration of the programme, in addition to providing access to a co-working space and the FLAME library resources on its beautiful campus in Pune.
Heading FCEI is Director Darshan Doshi, who comes with a rich experience of leading industry relevant startup programmes such as Jio-GenNext and Wadhwani Foundation’s Venture ScaleUp.
Darshan says, “I strongly believe that a warm introduction to prospective customers, advisors and investors is the best support any accelerator programme can provide to startups. Prospective customers either add revenue or provide critical feedback on startups’ offerings, capabilities, price, etc. Our advisors and mentors, who have been entrepreneurs themselves or are functional experts, can provide invaluable advice on specific challenges that the startup may be currently facing – be it fundraising, customer acquisition, or hiring, among others. Through the FLAME Origins Programme, startup founders will receive access to people who have been able to achieve scale in tech, non-tech and social ventures. In addition, the programme is designed to help founders focus on the most critical challenges faced by the startup, coupled with a rigorous review mechanism to help them achieve their milestones. FLAME Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is our commitment to develop and foster a strong entrepreneurship culture on the campus as well as in the local startup ecosystem in Pune. FCEI aims to give high potential individuals the opportunity, the encouragement and the incentive to do their best through its various initiatives.”
FCEI's advisors include Kuntal Shah, Partner, Oaklane Capital Management LLP; Amey Mashelkar, Head of Reliance Jio-GenNext; Prasanna Krishnamoorthy, Co-founder of Upekkha Accelerator; Sashi Chimala, a serial entrepreneur and EVP Wadhwani Foundation; Suhas Kadlaskar, ex Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Human Resources at Mercedes-Benz India; Akash Sureka, Founder Hoopz (acquired by Persistent Systems Ltd), among others. The FCEI advisors bring experience, expertise and industry connects to help startups identify and solve problems and reach the next stage of growth.
FLAME University was started with the aim of creating lifelong learners who can be leaders and add value to society. FLAME’s interdisciplinary education promotes critical reasoning in decision making which is one of the most important values needed in startups. FLAME wants to encourage young entrepreneurs and provide them with a platform to learn and grow with the help of experts and advisors who can bring in their experiences to solve problems of new businesses. Given FLAME’s philosophy , FCEI is one more step in the direction of individual growth and societal upgradation.
Who can apply
The programme is open to:
- Early-stage startups across industries, and which have at least a commercially pilot-tested product in place
- Revenue-positive startups that have upto 25 customers
- Startup founders working full time on their ventures and are committed to participating in the programme, if selected.
Startups interested in the FLAME Origins Programme need to apply before 15 September 2018. After submitting the online application, startups will go through two rounds of selection and final 10-15 startups will be chosen.
Backed by a rich heritage of knowledge and learning
FLAME University aims to push the design and nature of studies, particularly in the fields of liberal education and leadership. The FCEI is extending this learning discipline to the startup community.
Spread over 60 acres of green expanse in Pune, FLAME University is known for inculcating a strong desire to continually learn and grow, welcome new ideas, value diversity with a desire to succeed and give its best towards excellence in all spheres of life. The University has expertise in perspective building, skills and enhancing competencies for communication, problem-solving skills, creativity, innovation, and teamwork and ethics, things that are integral to growing startups.