‘Fundability, not funding, a major problem for start-ups today’

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on November 19, 2017

Nurturing start-ups Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO, IIM-Calcutta Innovation Park   -  Debasish Bhaduri

It is ‘fundability’ and not funding which is the major problem confronting start-ups today.

According to Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO, IIM-Calcutta Innovation Park, a majority of start-ups coming up currently lack a solid business model.

“Funding is not an issue, it is fundability. Absence of a solid business model is the reason why start-ups need to be mentored,” Sanyal told BusinessLine on the sidelines of a seminar on ‘Start-up Pad 2017’ organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here.

A number of start-ups emerge ‘me-too’ models, motivated by the success of previous entities such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm. However, niche start-ups — aimed at solving problems in areas of healthcare, agriculture and sustainable living — seem to find some takers.

According to Sanyal, IIM-Calcutta is working towards promoting entrepreneurship as a career option and developing the required ecosystem through mentorship programmes.

The institute works as a knowledge partner in West Bengal, Sikkim and Mizoram providing requisite support that includes seed funding and mentorship.

“We conducted a State-level business competition in Mizoram. We got 300 business plans focused on the strengths and issues or problems being faced by the local community in these areas,” he said. IIM-C is also working through its partners in Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand.

“The East and the North-East are rich in natural resources and skills. Solution should be designed keeping these resources in mind and focusing on areas such as education, healthcare and agriculture,” he pointed out.

Smart Fifty

IIM-C Innovation Park, in association with the Department of Science and Technology, has launched an innovation hunt project — Smart Fifty — to identify and fund 50 start-ups targeted at socio-economic transformation. These will get an assured funding of ₹4 lakh each and access to dedicated mentoring.

The contest will follow a multi-stage process to identify promising entrepreneurs with viable plans in areas of agriculture, healthcare, sustainability, learning, finance and living.

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Published on November 19, 2017
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