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Deshpande Foundation and Microsoft Ventures in India proclaimed partnership to launch Sandbox Startups, an incubator focused on incubating startups in tier two and three cities of India.

On August 23, a Memorandum of Assocation (MoU) for three years was signed for the formation of the Sandbox programme which will support startups with seed funding, skill development and support in its mentor network. The programme has pitched startups like nanoPix, an image processing company that has designed an algorithm to grade cashew nuts and NextDrop, which has developed an SMS-based water-alert system.

Founded by global business leader and philanthropist Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande and Jaishree Deshpande, the Deshpande Foundations has operations in India, Canada and the USA.

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Rajinish Menon, Director, Microsoft Ventures in India, said, “Our partnership with Deshpande Foundation aims to engage with entrepreneurs from smaller towns at every stage of their journey from ideation to maturity”.

Related: The Top 20 Startup Incubators In India

On the occasion of the launch Deshpande Foundation CEO Naveen Jha said, “The objective of this partnership is to work in an inclusive manner to ensure that all relevant stakeholders, such as early stage entrepreneurs, academia, students, the venture capital community, mentors, advisors, high-net-worth individuals and corporates, are active participants in the innovation ecosystem”.

Small cities in Indian commercial belt lack the access to requisite training, mentoring and a sandbag to try out their entrepreneurial stints. Sandbox Startups aims to provide a launch pad for such aspiring entrepreneurs in tier two and three cities so that they can “sharpen business acumen, develop products and launch solutions to the market”.

The programme has been strategized to add vibrancy to the ecosystem from those at the bottom of the pyramid. The team also claims that Tier one and Tier two kids have a better first hand understanding of real problems on the ground.

To know more about the programme, startups can call Microsoft’s Jumpstart hotline on 1800 2002114.

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