Entrepreneurship is the new buzzword. The start-up world has attracted attention all round and entrepreneurship is being looked at seriously, as an alternative to a job. This is now taking strong roots in the technology related areas and Hyderabad is soon emerging as the Startup hub. The advent of several Incubators/Accelerators, Funds/Angels, Smart Phone and Social Media Penetration, have further given entrepreneurship a high profile in Telangana. Recent government initiatives like ‘Startup India’, ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ have also result in additional momentum in this space. 

However, while globally, startups have mostly emerged from college campuses, this trend has been rather slow, in India. The entrepreneurship training available in the education system is grossly inadequate and while there are EDCs and Incubators, set up by Govt in several educational/research institutions/universities, most of them lack a proper mentorship program. So, while there is a lot happening in the incubation & funding space, one thing that is still lacking is proper training that is required to start and sustain a Startup. 

The UoH through ASPIRE (which houses 3 major incubators) in association with The Entrepreneur Zone (TEZ), a Startup Accelerator, has been nurturing startups through its innovative “Startup Launcher Program (SLP)”. An ‘Open Day’ for the SLP was organized on 7th September 2019 at University of Hyderabad, which was attended by around 200 students, professionals, startups and aspiring entrepreneurs. Mr. Lokesh Nathany, founder DisRuppT, spoke that the first step to entrepreneurship is having an entrepreneurial mindset. Dr. Nandita Sethi, Founder TEZ, took the budding entrepreneurs, through the steps in a startup journey. Prof. P. Reddanna, Director, Bio-Nest, and Prof. G. Rajaram, Coordinator, TIDE, spoke about the incubation facilities available at UoH, and invited scholars/students to come and incubate their ideas in the incubators. Ms T. Anusha, Senior Manager, Bank of Baroda (BoB), spoke about the new initiatives and easy financial schemes available to the Startups through BoB. The program ended by the showcase of 5 innovative startups which have been mentored through the program – Mahiruham, Heritage Weaves, Razon Customs, Eggsplode,  & ChemDirect.  

The SLP is a uniquely designed program for 3 months of weekend mentorship followed by on-demand 3-month incubation and support services to launch. Its mentorship program covers a 3600 of Startup Management from Idea Assessment, Market Validation, Customer Discovery, Business Modeling, Prototyping & MVP, Technology Integration, Regulation & Compliance, Go-To-Market strategy, Financial Mgmt., Funding options, Business Plan, Communication & Networking. Entrepreneurs/Investors/Professionals mentor the aspiring entrepreneurs through experiential learning to handhold them through the challenging startup journey, which will assists them to transform their ideas/research/innovation into a modern operating business.  The program is certified by ASPIRE at UoH and TEZ. 

Dr. Nandita Sethi, who heads the program, spoke about the different areas in which it has been helping startups ranging from AI, E-Commerce, Med-Tech, Health Tech, Agribusiness, to SMEs and social enterprises in IT Skill development for rural poor. It is presently running its 10th batch and is inviting aspiring entrepreneurs to join its 11th cohort. Those who are looking for support to take their ideas/ research/ innovation forward should apply online on www.tez.co.in or mail at info@tez.co.in . The program promises to give the much need mentorship, support and handholding that young entrepreneurs require. 

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