7 Indian early-stage startup programmes every entrepreneur should know about
While entrepreneurship may sound quite fascinating, the road to becoming an entrepreneur is not everyone’s cup of tea. To start up successfully, one has to overcome multiple hurdles and challenges on the way. Given these challenges, many business-minded people are often found to lack the requisite guidance and assistance, and also get confused about how to start on the journey to setting up a company.
This is the reason why incubators and accelerators are so important. The mentors of such programmes help budding entrepreneurs gain the know-how to form their startup ideas and convert them into reality. Right from the beginning, incubators and accelerators help in streamlining your thoughts and plan the road ahead.
These accelerator programmes help budding startups to reach the next level of development. From helping out to furnish the startup to getting funds, accelerators/incubators help in every step of the journey.
Here are seven Indian accelerator programmes for startups that every entrepreneur should know about:
Supreme Incubator is a seed-stage startup accelerator programme that has been active in the entrepreneurial ecosystem for the past two years. With their last summer cohort, the programme transitioned itself to a fully digital model. With a virtual programme, the company has expanded the scope of support offered and startups incubated, especially in Tier-I and II cities, to get the same level of networking and support opportunities as their counterparts in metro cities.
Also a seed-stage accelerator programme, India Accelerator offers a structured programme that can bring the building blocks for a startup under one roof – the much-needed mentorship, network, technology, peripheral services, and capital. It is the only GAN-partnered, mentorship-driven programme in India, and only accept about 2 percent of the applications.
Inaugurated and launched in 2016, the incubator Electropreneur Park (EP), Delhi, is managed by Software Technology Parks of India (STPI). Its partners are Delhi University and India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), to nurture ESDM (Electronics System Development and Maintenance) startups in India. EP has completed six batches of incubation, with 32 graduated startups, and an additional eight startups mentored in other programmes.
Startup India promotes tech entrepreneurship through mentoring and funding. Since its launch in January 2016, the initiative has successfully incubated several startups. The programme also provides a comprehensive four-week free online learning programme with dedicated research parks, incubators, and startup centres across the country. A key feature of the initiative is the ‘Fund of Funds’ to help startups gain access to funding.
SAP Labs India launched its Startup Accelerator Programme to drive entrepreneurship and tech development in India. Since its inception, SAP Labs India has already hosted startups like Niki.ai, logistics solutions provider Blubirch, Ecolibrium Energy — a provider of energy management solutions, among others. In addition, SAP also has a 75-seat incubation lab, Startup Studio, at the SAP Labs campus in Bengaluru, which nurtures early/disruptive-stage tech big data and IoT startups.
Innovative Ventures and Technologies for Development (INVENT) is a joint collaboration between the Technology Development Board (TDB), Government of India; the Department of International Development (DFID), and the Government of the United Kingdom. INVENT aims to provide incubation support to technology-oriented startups.
In 2018, three government-affiliated INVENT incubators announced an investment of Rs 8.5 crore as a seed fund to 31 social enterprises in six months. The incubators are SIIC-IIT Kanpur, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, and CIIE Initiatives-Start Up Oasis.
Overall, with Villgro as the lead incubator, the six-month programme empowers startups across sectors like agriculture, healthcare, livelihood and skill development, education, and energy in eight low-income states of India — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal.
With programmes catering to entrepreneurs with profit ventures and social ventures, as well as targetting student and women entrepreneurs, NSRCEL offers its support to various players of the startup ecosystem.
It brings together startups, industry mentors, researchers, and eminent academicians from its parent institution Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. NSRCEL is also the first incubator with a programme tailored for social entrepreneurs and their unique challenges.
Over the years, 500 startups have gone through NSRCEL’s programme and benefitted from access to mentors, industry connects, and the IIM-B alumni community. With a staff strength of 25, the centre offers sector-specific programmes in the pipeline for mobility, healthtech, and agritech startups. NSRCEL has also launched the Women Startup Programme.