Small-town start-up

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Amit Kumar Vernekar and Sarah Pearl D’Souza are confident they have a winner on their hands Amit Kumar Vernekar and Sarah Pearl D’Souza are confident they have a winner on their hands
SummaryThe start-up bug is biting youngsters across the country and promising to change the entrepreneurship landscape.

Geeta Nair discovers some brilliant start-ups germinating in small towns across the country, which raise a toast to the spirit of entrepreneurship

The start-up bug is biting youngsters across the country and promising to change the entrepreneurship landscape. And be it Shimoga, Cuttack, Indore or Coimbatore, the shoots of entrepreneurship are springing up in small-town India vigorously.

Take the case of the recently held Tata First Dot student start-ups competition, which saw 193 entries of 407 come from places such as Hubli-Dharwad, Indore, Coimbatore, Kharagpur, Shimoga, Cuttack, Mysore/Mandya, Durgapur, Pilani, Bhopal and Goa, among others. Many of these companies emerged as winners ahead of their counterparts in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.

Organised by the Tata Group, along with the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), a platform for recognising and mentoring student entrepreneurship to support entrepreneurial talent in the country, a total of 29 entries were picked as promising ventures, while 11 were declared winners by a special jury, as well as people’s choice. The jury comprised entrepreneurs, angel investors and senior Tata leaders. The entries were evaluated on criteria like investment obtained, track record, business model, innovative quotient, competence, passion and growth potential.

In the top six judges’ choice winners, three were from Hubli-Dharwad (Biosyl Technologies), Indore (Dreamscraft) and Kharagpur (CrowdBeans). The other three winners were from Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata—Botrio Design Labs, Mukunda Foods and BuyHatke, respectively. The top five people’s choice winners had one company, CREW (Creation of Eternal Wings) from Shimoga and two from Coimbatore—Posh and Dreamtrips. The other two winners were Videowala from New Delhi and Enchanter Corporation from Chennai. These winning student entrepreneurs will receive professional mentoring from various entrepreneurs, angel investors, mentors, experts and other student start-ups through the NEN mentoring platform.

Among the top five people’s choice winners, Posh from Coimbatore was started by S Priyadarshini. Posh works on glass and pot paintings, embroidery, stitching and jewellery making, and offers fresh and creative models, as well as customised services. Anish Kumar and Boopesh Kumar’s Dreamtrips in Coimbatore helps book air/train/bus tickets, taxi services and tour packages online.

Drip and Dry was another finalist amongst the top 29 promising ventures. Founded by Sagar Agarwal, Prashant Shekhar, Sonali Priya and Nikita Agarwal, it provides washing machine facility to hostelers at nominal charges. Other entries included ventures into experiential learning tools for educational institutions, a mobile app testing platform, a search engine for

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