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.

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 e-commerce, automated food equipment and online courses.

K Srikrishna, executive director, NEN, says, “Raw talent exists across the spectrum. In many instances, the placement of a tier-I institute outside of a metro, such as the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani or an IIM in Raipur or an IIT in Guwahati helps create a kernel around which skill-building and talent-development can be done.”

Atul Agrawal, VP, corporate affairs, Tata Services, says the passion of the student start-ups showcased at the contest was very encouraging.

But their journey has just begun. Without the right sort of consistent knowledge and skill-building supported by a strong ecosystem, it is unlikely that the raw talent present in smaller cities can reach their full potential, says Srikrishna. Four critical areas need to be addressed to sustain them, he adds, listing inspiration (constant exposure to entrepreneurs and their learnings in terms of both successes and business failures); hands-on education around entrepreneurial concepts (including problem identification, idea generation and validation, basic finance, team building and processes); an opportunity to practice basic entrepreneurial skills through internships, student start-ups and campus companies; and continual support for mentoring and networking.

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