What is common among Indian School of Business (ISB), BITS Pilani (Hyderabad), International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-H), Nalsar (National law university), Indian Institute of Technology, Progress Software and Infotech Enterprises, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE)?

IT honchos

Leaders of these academic institutes, industry associations and corporate have formed a group to ponder over why India has failed in producing a Google, Facebook or Instagram.

Individual investors and IT honchos such as Srini Raju (Peepul Capital), Srini Koppolu (former MD of Microsoft India Development Centre), J A Chowdary (former MD of NVIDIA India), Dr Ramesh Babu (Managing Director of Medwin Hospitals) too joined this group that has just concluded its fourth meeting.

The select group, named Hyderabad for Innovation Forum, tells the engineering grads – if you have an idea and passion to start a venture, we will guide you to establish one.

The Forum sees an incoherent and unplanned growth of start-ups in India. “Engineering graduates generally set their eyes on campus hirings and jobs. We would like to change this. The Forum is devising methods to catch their attention in the second and third years of their graduation. We will mentor them and connect to the ecosystem,” Ramesh Loganathan, Vice-President and Centre Head of Progress Software, said.

Over 1,000 start-ups

Ramesh, who is among the few IT pros in handholding start-ups, said there could be about 1,000-1,500 start-ups in Hyderabad. “The potential, however, is much more. Some of the members of the Forum head the academic institutes. They have agreed to make relevant changes in curriculum in order to encourage those who want to become entrepreneurs,” J.A. Chowdary, a TiE mentor and Chairman of human resources development firm Talent Sprint, said.

According to Ramesh, there are three important phases – seed stage, nurturing stage and growth stage – in building a strong ecosystem for start-ups. “The seed stage is found to be the biggest challenge as there is no organisational structures to handhold the fledgling entrepreneurs,” Ramesh said.

The Forum will organise an Idea Carnival in the third week of January next at ISB. “The idea is to create a melting point of ideas to set a tone. We will invite about 100-150 students. We will pick 10-15 teams and mentor them for two months. Of this, we expect at least five teams to remain,” the Forum representatives said.

(This article was published on November 20, 2012)
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