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This year, Entrepreneurship Cell IIT Kharagpur and IBM are proud to present Empresario 2016 in association with the prestigious International Business Model Competition (IBMC) which is co-hosted by Stanford, Harvard and Brigham University. The best entries in all categories will get an opportunity to participate directly in the semi-final rounds of IBMC 2017, which will be conducted abroad. ((Visit www.ecell-iitkgp.org/empresario for more details). The prizes and services for the winners as per last year are worth 25 lacs INR.


The shortlisted entries are provided immense help in terms of mentorship and the winners also get a much sought after chance to pitch their ideas in front of some of India’s biggest VCs and investors. Empresario participants are mentored and supported by organisations like TiE, NEN(National Entrepreneurship Network) etc. Startup Services like legal advice, taxation, financial, technical aspects of running a startup, co-working space, HR needs, incubation opportunities, etc. are provided.

Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur is a student organisation established with the aim of fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship among college students in India. We are one of the most successful entrepreneurial organisations in the country with over 50 start-ups incubated within 8 years of our inception. We are playing a vital role in developing the upcoming startups into successful companies by taking a great initiation of conducting flagship competition namely Empresario, our Annual and India’s only Global Business Model Competition.


It has been observed that startups with static business plans fail miserably since reality does not conform to their assumptions. Hence, there is a need for a more dynamic methodology while starting up and this is why the Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur sought to undertake a Business Model competition, which was entitled ‘Empresario’


Empresario accepts business ideas in all fields which include Product and Service, Product Design and Social categories. Each of the entries get equal opportunity to win the prize and incubation money to the tune of INR 2.5 crore.. Previously, Empresario has been launched in association with TiE Kolkata, Mahindra Spark the Rise and Dell Social Innovation Challenge.


Empresario is about recognizing that any new venture is just a guess at a problem / solution and the only way to test whether those guesses are correct is to “get outside the building” and validate their idea with customer feedback. A business model is designed to change rapidly to reflect what you find outside the building in talking to customers. It’s more visual, dynamic and it reflects the iterative reality that startups face.


For the first round of Empresario, we will require participants to fill up a questionnaire asking in brief about their Business idea and submit it. This questionnaire can be found on our website www.ecell-iitkgp.org/empresario . If participants register now, they can avail the Early Bird privileges, which include extended mentoring and offline mentoring session.

One of the winners of Empresario’14, Betaglide also secured the largest funding among all the startups present at Rice Business Plan Competition of around $1 million.


Some of the past student startups who were winners of Empresario are:-


  • BetaGlide – A startup by students of IIT Kharagpur, is a mobile app testing platform that allows developers to gather information in real-time about the system usage and the behavior of their app to improve its stability and performance. It has recently won the Tech Transfer Prize (Mercury Fund Prize) at Rice Business Plan Competition and became popular internationally.
  • Roof For Two – A startup by a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a unique concept that can help solve the age-old problem of two-wheeler riders who ride daily through rain, sun and the cold. Roof for Two eliminates travel irritation with an affordable and stylish riding canopy.
  • COEO Labs – An IIT Kharagpur based startup focused on developing innovative and low cost medical technology products. Their device Saans catapulted them to winning Empresario, Social Track and there was no stopping them following that. After winning the TATA Social Enterprise Challenge and Master Plan, Social Track at IIM-A, they also went on to the finals of the International Business Model Competition (IBMC).


We conduct our flagship event – Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), the largest collegiate entrepreneurial summit in India every year in January. The final rounds of Empresario 2017 will be held during GES’17.



| Eddy Zhong | TEDxYouth@BeaconStreet

Choosing business services and tech products to run startups is easy now! With a few clicks, startups can find all support online anytime, anywhere. There are diverse one stop shops that help Indian startups and SMEs with a large pool of resources like business consulting services and others for buying and selling products and lots more. Here we are explaining about well known one stop shops that can be checked out by startups to raise their business swiftly.

Business activities are ever changing because of availability of new technologies and of resources. Start-ups hope to gain fast profits but rarely do they succeed. There are few factors that hinder startups to turn a successful brand. Starting a business, finding effective solutions and evaluating it for success is quite difficult task. The market is overcrowded with a huge number of companies of all sizes, be it small, medium or big sized ones. They face challenges when they launch new products and services in the market. Because of lack of resources and knowledge they also face many other challenges.

To help startups, a number of one stop shops are providing the whole thing on a single platform. Through these platforms, startups can get excess of everything including tools to services required to manage businesses efficiently at budget friendly packages. All resources and tools are available on one place; startups can choose the required service or tool as per their requirement and budget easily. Even though, if they face any challenge in the selection, free guide and expert support also provided via “one stop shops”. A list of such platforms is given below. All these platforms help startups to save their time and resources which they can use to build their market reputation and business planning.

Here are few online resources for Startups & SMEs in India:

1. SIDBI Startup Mitra – Startup offerings by state governments
‘SIDBI Startup Mitra’ – first ever national platform for the Indian startup ecosystem is unique platform for all aspiring startups, incubators, accelerators and startup financing organisations to register and leverage the power of the startup ecosystem in India.

State governments in India have launched various policies and schemes specifically to support and promote start up development. If you are a startup, register on SIDBI Startup Mitra today to explore and take advantage of the startup policies and schemes within your state.

2.smallB.in – Simplifying the process of Starting an SME
samllIB.in is SIDBI’s effort to support Indian SMEs by simplifying the procedure of starting and setting up a business in India. This platform helps entrepreneurs to identify business opportunities all along learning from other successful startups. It also gives access of technologies from IITs and other trustworthy institutions. It also helps SMEs to understand about how to get collateral free loans from banks and related formalities etc. Basically smallB Forum act as discussion platform to take inputs on different subject matter from experts.

3. SME JOINUP – Business Services Helpline for Startups and SMEs
SME JOINUP is an effective solution for all small businesses that need help in understanding a particular business service and finding the relevant vendor for their requirement. Pooja Kumar, Co-founder, SME JOINUP shared, “We hosts information and vendor contacts of 36 services from six categories namely Financial Services , Legal Services , HR Services , Online and Offline Marketing Services , Web & Mobile Development Services , SAAS and other platforms.” SME Joinup is a brand of SME Networks Pvt Ltd. She informed that so far SME JOINUP has market strength of 1lac+SMEs and the user base is increasing by the day. Pooja Kumar is a qualified Chartered Accountant with a work experience of 11 years before she started this platform in 2010. She says, “Being an entrepreneur, I understand that startups & Entrepreneurs have a tough time in understanding various business services in terms of usefulness, cost and the right vendor to outsource. We have launched SME JOINUP to serve as a business services helpline to address this problem.” Her understanding of B2B market along with Marketing, Branding and Sales helps startups and entrepreneurs to identify their business needs better.

4. IndiaFilings – Helping on Legal and Regulatory Requirements
IndiaFilings is another dedicated platform that is committed to helping startups and entrepreneurs to start and manage their business with no hassle! This is an initiative started by Verve Financial and aims to educate startups on the legal and regulatory requirements. It has a dedicated team of experts including Chartered Accountants, Lawyers, Accountants, Chartered Engineers, Bankers, Company Secretaries and lots more to provide a wide-ranging service for startups and SMEs. This is one stop shop helping new businesses, start-ups, private limited companies, one person company, trust and many others in obtaining IPR, tax registration, import export code and lots more. IndiaFilings is committed to 24/7 customer support. It utilizes modern technology to ensure the delivery of quality business services through its wide extended online and offline networks. IndiaFilings was launched by Lionel Charles, in October, 2013. He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds other degrees.

5. Power2SME – Empower SMEs to enable the India growth story
Headquartered in Gurgaon, Power2SME was launched in 2012 by R Narayan who won the ‘Serial Entrepreneur of the Year’ award at the Entrepreneur India Awards 2013. He has launched this concept with an aims to empower small businesses to ensure fast growth. It plays a vital role in arranging raw materials for SMEs at competitive prices. To help SMES, it has created a wide extended network of professionals with expertise in managing supply chain, marketing, finance, sales, HR and IT for Paints, Chemicals, Metals and many other industries. Currently it has extended network all over India with offices in Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune. Power2SME has raised funding from Kalaari Capital, Inventus Capital & Accel Partners over USD 15.5 million in three rounds.

6. SME Toolkit India – Provides Helpful Tips and Advice for SMEs
Another impressive one stop resource for small businesses is SME Toolkit India! Unlike above mentioned one stop shops, it is a cooperative initiative from International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group and ICICI Bank. This platform provides valuable tips and advices to small businesses in India to make them competitive at global level. It offers a number of free resources like software for website development, business planning, accounting, marketing etc. Apart from a wide range of resources, SMEs can also list businesses for free all along receiving valuable industry updates and advice from world famous mentors and entrepreneurs.

7. SBI for SME – Collaborating banks, buyers and sellers for transactions
State Bank of India has developed SBI for SME platform to cater the developing needs of SMEs related to financing and funding. It has created an online two-way platform to take the banks, buyers and sellers all together for easy financing across SMEs segment. SMEs can explore financing schemes from different banks easily. It has Electronic Vendor Financing Scheme which is completely a web based solution for offering instant credit to suppliers of reputed companies. This scheme allows both the industry leaders and its vendors to get benefits by making funds available. SBI bank has a wide extended network with specialized SME loan facilities across the country.

8. SMBConnect – Engaging SMEs with Professionals Community
Sandipan Ray, Director and co-founder of SMBConnect launched this platform in 2012 to connect SMEs directly with other professionals in the same industry pan India. It organizes events where SMEs get abundant chances to connect with each other for helping each other. It is creating common meeting points for SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs to share their experiences and learning from each other knowledge.

9. SMEListing.com – Contacting SMEs to get best priced services
It is another fast growing marketplace for startups and SME in B2B space. As per the info shared on website, it has more than 1, 00,000+ registered companies either for products or services from across the country. SMEs can also list their companies to get business enquiries hassle free.

Apart from these platforms, there are others like IndiaMart and Just Dial which also help find the right vendors however they don’t offer customer support and enough information on services, tools to help in closing a transaction. They connect buyers with suppliers and majorly assist manufacturers, exporters, importers, retailers and all other type of businesses.

Nonetheless, every startup idea is different and has different requirements. Choosing the right B2B vendor with right suite of services is very important. This problem can be solved easily with the help of above mentioned B2B one stop shops easily as they have a huge data of service providers as well as the service seekers.




Courtesy : Feritta Artiste Feritta

Jackfruit 365

Posted on: 30/06/2016

Biryani, masala dosas and galouti kababs made from jackfruit ? Their creator is an ex-Microsoft director who is showing the world that jackfruit is truly the jack-of-all-fruits !

James Joseph did something few are brave enough to do. He quit his high-paying job as a Microsoft director to start a venture based solely on a fruit. Taking his love for jackfruit to a whole new level, he started Jackfruit 365, a company that sells the fruit in a packaged, freeze-dried form, and aims to promote all things jackfruit.


Photo Source

Talking to CrowdStudio about the eureka moment when he came up with the idea of Jackfruit 365, Joseph said:

“At the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, where I was hosting a dinner for my clients, Chef Hemant Oberoi had made a spectacular dish called the Varqui Crab along with its veg version, the Varqui Mushroom. It was delicious, but I couldn’t help thinking why the chef didn’t use jackfruit, which is more nutritious than meat and mushrooms.

Perplexed by the utter absence of jackfruit at the five-star soirees I attended, I asked around and all the chefs said the same thing: Too sticky, too smelly and too seasonal.

When jackfruit season finally came, I took some to a chef I knew. He used it to create a jackfruit burger coated in jackfruit seed crumbs that was delicious and much crispier than the aloo burger at McDonald’s. The actual eureka moment happened when we created a jackfruit pie, spectacular and more delicious than the apple pie and pecan pie I had in the US. That was when Jackfruit 365 truly took off.”

So Joseph began to investigate and found that despite being acknowledged as a super food, huge amounts of jackfruit are being wasted every season. According to an article on the state government’s website, Kerala alone wastes an estimated 35 crore jackfruit annually, which is about 75% of the harvest.

There are several reasons for this. The weight of a jackfruit, which is typically in the range of 3-5 kg, makes transportation in bulk difficult, while storing this highly perishable fruit is difficult. Cleaning jackfruit is also a tedious process, with the large ungainly fruit throwing prickly wedges, sticky sap, and a strong odour one’s way before offering its rich, bulbous flesh.

Concerned about the collective disregard for jackfruit, Joseph left his cushy job with Microsoft  to return to his native town Aluva in Kerala and set up Jackfruit 365 in 2013. He wanted to make this undervalued and underrated seasonal fruit available for consumption 365 days a year.


Photo Source

Plunging headlong into the pursuit of his passion, this graduate of the Thiruvanathpuram College of Engineering decided to first address the challenge of making the jackfruit available 365 days a year. On learning that 80% of the fruit is made up of water, he hit upon the idea of freeze-drying jackfruit.

Freeze-drying reduced the weight of the fruit by 82%, cutting down the huge costs of transportation and storage. A 180-gm pack of freeze dried jackfruit can be stored at room temperature for 365 days and, when soaked in lukewarm water, yield one kg of jackfruit.


Photo Source

Joseph soon hired Amalgam, pioneers in setting up food processing factories in Kerala and Bangalore, to procure jackfruit and process and sell the freeze-dried fruit in packets of his brand, Jackfruit 365.

A stickler for perfection and quality, Joseph insists on farmers supplying unopened jackfruit, as opposed to the traditional practice of storing opened jackfruit in plastic packets, to ensure food safety.

His company also sponsors five midday meals for school children under the Akshaya Patra Foundation, for every pack of Jackfruit 365 sold.

The Microsoft Circle of Excellence award winner wants to create an organised market for jackfruit because its health benefits are numerous. Since the glycemic load (glucose level) in unripe jackfruit is almost half that of rice or wheat, the fruit makes a potent carbohydrate substitute for diabetics. Jackfruit’s high potassium content helps lower elevated blood pressure and its high anti-oxidant and flavonoid content protect against cancer. Jackfruit also increases the human body’s capacity to absorb iron, making it extremely effective in preventing and curing anaemia. Since jackfruit blends beautifully into most recipes, it can also change the way we look at health foods and gluten-free foods in particular.

Determined to demonstrate that dishes made from jackfruit can be mouth-watering irrespective of cuisine type, Joseph has also designed signature dining experiences for his clients with several internationally renowned chefs. His interesting and unique jackfruit-infused recipes include galouti kabab, biryani, masala dosa, kathi roll, panna cotta, and payasam, all made from dehydrated jackfruit!


Photo Source

In his tryst with the jackfruit, Joseph also realised that the indigenous tree is as good for farmers as it is for consumers. Drought-resistant, evergreen and environment-friendly, he believes this tree can act as climate shock absorber for farmers:

“I don’t even consider it a crop. It just grows. When other crops fail, you can always count on the jackfruit tree.”

The techie turned entrepreneur is also the founder of Professional Bharati, an online platform that is a one-stop shop for NRI professionals wanting to relocate to their hometowns and still earn handsomely. Through his own experience, he knows that the opportunities in India’s non-metros, small towns and villages are endless and this venture is his attempt to persuade others to return home too.



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