US sees India as a natural partner in the field of innovation and Washington is committed to work with New Delhi to continue to grow a collaborative and dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem in this country, an American diplomat today said. US Chargé d’Affaires in India MaryKay Carlson said the “tremendous drive, enthusiasm and intellect” for innovation and entrepreneurship (in India) is “particularly exciting”. “I am impressed by your innovative ideas and commitment,” she told a graduation ceremony of the inaugural batch of ‘Nexus’, a US government-funded platform for enabling and encouraging start-ups in India. “We see India as a natural partner in these fields,” she said while addressing them at the American Center here.
Under the ‘Nexus’ platform, 10 start-ups were chosen from over 113 applications from all over India, who underwent an intense 10-week training programme that featured workshops conducted by expert and industry leaders from the two countries, the US Embassy officials said. Nearly half of these innovations were further picked up today for incubation under the programme, which the US government runs in partnership with the University of Texas in Austin.
Nexus represents one of the many initiatives that the US government supports to enhance innovation and entrepreneurship in India, she said. “Whether we are talking about the US-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund or USAID’s Millennium Alliance, we are committed to working with our Indian partners to continue to grow a dynamic, integrated, innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem here in India,” Carlson said.
The diplomat said ‘Nexus’ plays a key role in providing relevant information, best practices from the US and mentorship opportunities to promote start-ups and also “learn from you”. “Because that is the strategic convergence…whether it is in economic sphere or defence partnership, it’s across the board,” she added. Nexus director Erik Azulay, who moved to Delhi from Austin to set up and run the centre, said the initiative is about demonstrating the best practices in incubating start-ups and guiding entrepreneurs towards success in the business world.
“Our first cohorts (batch) graduated today and we had some of the most exciting entries, out of which best 10 were shortlisted for the programme. The next batch would be starting this fall (autumn season). We are also hopeful of the formal launch of Nexus facility at the American Center, sometime in September,” he said. Start-ups selected under Nexus include Agpulse (Ayurvedic organic agricultural inputs), Escrowffer (platform for buying or selling of property with a safety net), Dhakka Brakes (which invented a new regenerative brake system for rickshaw pullers).
“The Indian Angels Network, TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), FICCI, Indian School of Business, The Department of Science and Technology, USAID and the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) are all coming together to show that a unified ecosystem is stronger and more productive for promoting entrepreneurial success,” Azulay said.