This post has been updated on March 23, 2013
Entrepreneurs often face several barriers when bringing innovations for low-income communities – such as solar lamps, rural primary healthcare or affordable education – successfully to market.
Small peer and expert networks, sporadic support limited to generic content and low budgets to engage with mentors and service providers, are a few crucial barriers that entrepreneurs often face. In most cases these challenges result in the failure of many high-potential enterprises.
In partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Ennovent’s newly launched Startup Services will develop and refine business models with product and services innovations for low-income markets in India. With viable profit-making business models, entrepreneurs may then have a widespread impact on the lives of low-income people in India.
Compared to a traditional brick and mortar incubator, Ennovent’s Startup Services will offer a mix of virtual and on the ground support through a diverse group of expert mentors, sessions and workshops.
Ennovent’s Startup Services will be especially relevant to creating an impact in low-income markets, as they will initially be focused on entrepreneurs in untapped smaller North Indian Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, such as Jaipur, Kanpur and Chandigarh. In these smaller cities, such services are currently not available – which leads to many high-potential enterprises developing models that are not designed to be scaled effectively thereby failing to create a sustainable impact.
Uniquely, a lean approach will be used to provide startup support for early-stage entrepreneurs. Ennovent will create local Hubs of enterprises in different cities, which will collaborate heavily via an online platform, the Ennovent Network, to share knowledge, insights, challenges and other resources. Furthermore, flexible hands-on mentoring support, workshops and short training sessions with industry leaders as well as customized mentoring modules will be provided to meet specific client needs.
Speaking about the Startup Services launch, Devangshu Dutta, Managing Partner at PVC Partners as well as CEO of Third Eyesight says, “Mentors, with their experience, enable entrepreneurs to challenge and clarify basic assumptions on which he or she may be making critical decisions. The mentor can also add credibility to an organization and open new doors for the entrepreneur. Ennovent’s Startup Services that aims to focus on the facilitation of hands-on support for early stage entrepreneurs, especially for those working in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities is, therefore, a great development for the startup ecosystem in India”.
Beyond non-financial support, Ennovent Startup Services aim to ensure that an increased proportion of enterprises are able to secure seed funding. This will be achieved with more viable business models and linkages to investors via the Ennovent Network and the Ennovent Circle.
As Ennovent starts rolling out these services to various cities, kick-off sessions will be held across smaller cities in North India to gain cross-sectional feedback on how enterprises can better achieve milestones through increased access to effective mentorship. Similar sessions held earlier last month in Delhi and Jaipur sparked some great conversations on how better collaboration between these two stakeholders can move the Indian startup ecosystem forward.
From March onwards, Startup Services will also be hosting a wide range of workshops and sessions to assist entrepreneurs in developing and refining their business models. The first such workshop took place in Delhi on March 22nd.
Here, business leaders such as Joydeep Mukherji, former CFO of MetLife India, Anurag Gupta, Director of Operations at VENN Consulting, Josh Engel, former COO Anavo Global and Saurabh Lahoti, Director of Finance Services at Ennovent conducted a hands-on session with entrepreneurs on “Getting your Financial Model Right” . Through this working session, a limited number of enterprises had the opportunity to analyze their financial model, understand key ratios, evaluate profitability and capital requirements as well as refine their financial model to make enterprises investor-ready.