Start-up Island has consistently explored why many new businesses fail in India. And as established earlier, it mostly boils down to getting the right advice.

This edition delves further into the gap in the ecosystem that remains unaddressed by well-known incubation programmes as well as how entrepreneurs can still be developed and new businesses enabled despite that.

No meagre opportunity

Founded by Rishi Mathur, Mukul Rajput and Aanshul Aawasthy, Lucknow-based VyaparHub Ventures takes on e-mentoring and incubation of small businesses across India. Since setting up in March, the founders say they have incubated around 12 batches of about 20 start-ups each.

Rishi Mathur, Co-founder and CTO, says, “Affordability and accessibility are an issue with popular mentoring and incubation programmes that currently exist. Further, stakes taken by the incubator in the start-ups can be a burden on the small business.”

But there are other fundamental challenges that need to be tackled. QUEST Alliance, a not-for-profit entity, has sought to address employability and skill development across the country through corporate partnerships. Its Build Your Business Curriculum is a couple of months old, but aimed at large impact.

Abhijeet Mehta, Associate Director, QUEST Alliance, says, “There’s been much talk of India’s demographic advantage along with the need to skill people. But there are tens of thousands of students graduating every year and not enough jobs to absorb them all.

“Entrepreneurial development programmes need to provide essential skills to help people get the jobs they want or start businesses.”

Funding it

QUEST Alliance’s Build Your Business Curriculum is targeted at the 17-28 age group. The curriculum has reportedly touched 1,000 individuals, many of them spread across Karnataka and Gujarat.

“We want to take that number up to 10,000 by this year-end. Our partnership with Microsoft will mean we can take the curriculum across India. As a not-for-profit we are not able to monetise our programmes, but the sustainability of our initiatives is taken care of by the funding we receive from Microsoft and other partners,” explains Mehta.

QUEST revealed it has received a monetary donation of ₹24 lakh so far to localise and disseminate the curriculum in India.

VyaparHub Ventures, however, follows the paid model. At ₹15,000 for incubation services, the programme is arguably affordable for the e-commerce, education and digital media start-ups that have accessed practical help and advice.

So while gaps exist, it is now more possible than ever for anyone, anywhere to access the advice they need.

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