The Atal Catalysts @ ISB program helps 10 young innovators transform into digipreneurs

Participating students got access to custom mentoring experience with more than 65 mentors, each an ISB alumnus.
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The spirit of innovation runs deep in India, even in the remotest corners of the country where lakhs of children are coming up with solutions for problems – ranging from EMR transcription, female hygiene products, automated plant watering system, interactive yoga app, etc.

To support these young innovators, the I-Venture @ ISB partnered with Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog to curate Atal Catalysts @ ISB. A one-of-its-kind program, Atal Catalysts @ ISB is designed to transform Tinkerpreneurs into digital product entrepreneurs or Digipreneurs. Mentors went on to nurture the top 100 business venture ideas by students that emerged from the ATL Tinkerpreneur Bootcamp.

Speaking about the partnership, Saumya Kumar, Director of I-Venture @ ISB said, At I-Venture@ISB, we are committed to delivering an impact. We’re delighted and reassured to see that the Digipreneurs have gained so much from the Atal Catalysts @ ISB Program. We wish them good luck, and we promise to continue creating similar programs in the future as well.

The Tinkerpreneur bootcamp

The bootcamp was a first-of-its-kind initiative by AIM to teach students entrepreneurship during the summer break. Students learnt about the latest technology skills, product building, business models, marketing, branding, business finance, building an online store, and finally how to pitch their venture. ATL Tinkerpreneur witnessed participation from over 9,000 students and leveraged the knowledge and hands-on involvement of over 650 Mentors of Change to build a complete digital business venture at the end of the bootcamp. The top 100 students/teams were mapped to ISB to nurture their ideas further.

I-Venture @ ISB, which fosters all entrepreneurial activities for the institution and nurtures startups, took over the charge of developing, designing and executing the second stage of the students’ journey towards becoming entrepreneurs. Since then, the students/teams with the 100 most promising ideas have gone through a variety of Masterclasses and mentoring sessions that have added value to them and to their products.

Six masterclasses were conducted and each of them leveraged case studies and real-world examples in the sessions. Along with this, students got access to a customised mentoring experience with more than 65 mentors, each of them an alumnus of ISB.

A wide range of topics were covered – Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Mindset; Competitor Analysis and Market Research; Idea Validation, Product or Idea Development; Digital Marketing and Branding; Finance and HR; and Investor Pitch and Pitching Techniques.

The Big Pitch

Once the products and pitches were refined, the difficult task of selecting the most promising ideas began. The Big Pitch, an event where the top 20 teams showcased their ideas to a panel, was conducted over two weekends. The sponsors at The Big Pitch were I-Venture @ ISB, PKF Sridhar and Santhanam, and Prasad Medikonda. 10 students/teams were selected to receive sponsorship so that they can continue developing their idea before taking them to market.

In keeping with the technologically advanced ideas that they worked with, the students and mentors were issued their completion certificates and appreciation certificates from AIM and I-Venture @ ISB on the latest Blockchain technology for increased security, transparency, and traceability.

Prof Bhagwan Chowdhry, Faculty Director observed, ISB is now committed to developing a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country. Atal Catalysts @ ISB's partnership with the Atal Innovation Mission for mentoring the young entrepreneurs in India of Atal Tinkering Labs is a heartening step towards that goal.

Next steps

The combined efforts of AIM, NITI Aayog ,and I-Venture @ ISB are on the brink of going live as the top 10 ideas of this cohort are now in the development phase. The next milestone for the students/teams is launching the app on AppStore or hosting the website. From ‘tinkering’ with ideas last summer in ATL Tinkerpreneur, to actually seeing their products go live this summer, the Digipreneurs have certainly come a long way in their entrepreneurial journey.

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