It’s been said, “Money, Mentors and Markets are the Three Pillars of Startup Success”
Today, one can read about many interesting startup stories around the country. Many fresh faces and even experienced people are taking the plunge. The increasing societal support, development of individual risk taking ability and even policy support from the government has totally changed the entrepreneurial scenario in the country, than what we had a decade ago.
‘Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Startup’ are no longer dreaded words. One starts his/her entrepreneurial journey with an idea, but it is not ‘only’ about the idea. A powerful idea demands right execution, which implies that the entrepreneur and the enterprise needs timely access to money, mentors and markets.
“Business is a money game with few rules and a lot of risks” – Bill Gates
An enterprise needs money to start, scale etc. The use of the funds varies at different stages of the startup journey. For example, money is needed initially for development (to buy components, equipment or to obtain services through hiring or outsourcing) to reach to the ‘Proof of Concept’ (PoC). In the next stage, money is needed to build a core team and to support go-to market strategies. And as traction happens, money is needed for scaling up to manpower, facilities and distribution channels as well as post sales support to maximise returns.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in a right direction” – John Cossby.
Money is not the only thing that plays a role in development and scaling up of a startup. There are a number of things and people who play an important role in a startup’s success. Mentors add a lot of value to a startup. True mentors get involved closely with both, the entrepreneurial team and the enterprise, to provide critical nudging at the right times. Role of technical or professional inputs (e.g. when to file what type of patent) is perhaps more obvious compared to critical inputs at all crossroads of the entrepreneurial journey (life coach if you will).
Though mentors can provide entrepreneurs with inputs and guide them further, in the end, the decision to accept it or not should be left to the entrepreneurs. They should have the final authority on what to choose. Mentors should not enforce their decisions on them neither it should be like ‘deciding for you’. At the end, the ‘entrepreneur should have right to choose’ and this shouldn’t affect mentor’s interest in the venture.
Access To Markets
“Everyone is not your customer” – Seth Godin
No matter how well-funded and a well-mentored is the enterprise, the real test is in the market it is targeting. All said and done, execution plays an important role for a good idea to succeed. But not all well executed good ideas make it big in the market in a timely manner. If mentors, or incubator, provides a push back by branding or established credibility, it also opens many opportunities. Of course, opening a door does not get one success, but it enables one to get access to people who can look at their offerings more favourably and if it is worthwhile, even extend support.
It is not easy to find this combination of ‘money, mentors and access to markets’ together under one roof. icreate has created its platform in a way that it now acts like a one-stop-shop to access money, mentors and markets for aspiring entrepreneurs.
How icreate helps startups?
icreate is an autonomous institution that identifies, nurtures, and mentors aspiring individuals/teams (with or without ideas) to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. More importantly, the process at icreate is designed to win entrepreneurial team’s trust and confidence, to embark on a synergistic journey with a shared sense of value and direction with all parties pulling in the same direction, enhancing chances of success and enabling one to go farther and reach there faster.
icreate’s model involves a 13 week intensive “Grooming” Program to equip individuals with the right mindset, skillset and toolset for their next-gen entrepreneurial journey. Its objective is to expose aspiring entrepreneurs to various elements of entrepreneurship like product development, marketing, accounts & finance, legal aspects, and talent management etc from a startup perspective through academic sessions, activities, industry visits, entrepreneurial meets, brainstorming sessions and access to domain experts.
The Grooming Program helps an entrepreneur to get answers to questions like how to evaluate an idea, how to build value; building sensibility of finance – what price and whom; how to build teams; what are the culture, ethos and ethics; what is the market- price, position, pitch and promotion; and much more
Subsequent to the Grooming phase, in the next 8 weeks, aspirants are expected to pick an idea that has a strong value proposition around which a viable and dependable business can be built, and workout enough details to submit a skeleton business plan and an incubation proposal. Such proposals are then evaluated by an independent panel for incubation at icreate. The incubation offering includes physical facilities, project funding (up to INR 15 lakhs), sustenance allowance, mentoring and networking. The model is based on a debt – equity – revenue based commission structure.
Having successfully concluded four batches, icreate is seeking its fifth batch of 25 capable and aspiring entrepreneurs to bet on. With 33 aspirants from India, U.S.A, U.K., Finland and Singapore over the first three batches, 13 are currently incubated at icreate. Additionally, ongoing current batch of the Grooming program has 19 aspirants. The fifth batch for “Grooming” commences in Feb 2016, for which, the application deadline is 31st October 2015.
“One secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes” – Benjamin Disraeli
You can know more about icreate’s Grooming Program here.
[This post is sponsored by icreate]