Motivations, News, People / Stories

How Ratan Tata is working in intersection between entrepreneurship, tech-led innovation and philanthropy

Recently, when four students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) approached Ratan Tata, expressing their desire to work in India and help solve a grassroot-level problem here, Tata did not connect them to the Tata Trusts which together invest Rs 340 crore every year to solve social problems. Instead, he plugged them to Paytm, an e-commerce company in which Ratan Tata made a personal investment this March.

Similarly, R Venkataramanan, the one man who has screened, consulted and led every one of Ratan Tata’s 10 personal investments in startups including six in e-commerce over the past 12-15 months, is not a hot shot investment banker, but a trustee on many of the charitable trusts set up by the Tata Group. Half-a-dozen entrepreneurs who Tata has invested in told ET that Venkatramanan was with Tata in every one of their meetings.


Calendar, Motivations, News

Application for IMC – IT Awards

The Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) will hold its Annual IT Awards on Wednesday, 29th April 2015 at Taj President in Mumbai.  As you are aware, these Awards were a resounding success last year.  We have invited, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communication and Information Technology, to be the Chief Guest on this occasion.

The IMC is a premier Chamber of Industry and Commerce of which Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Nation was a member. Its foundation stone was laid by none other than the Ironman of India, Sardar Patel.

The jury currently constitutes the following:

1.    Ashank Desai, Former Chairman of Nasscom
2.    Atul Nishar, Former Chairman of Nasscom
3.    F. C. Kohli, Padma Bhushan, Former Chairman of Nasscom
4.    Ganesh Natarajan, Former Chairman of Nasscom
5.    Harish Mehta, Former Chairman of Nasscom
6.    Hemant Sonawala, Former President Computer Society of India
7.    Shirish Gariba, Chief Information Officer at DIESL.  President CIO Klub

We invite you to apply for the IMC IT Awards.  There is no application fee. The Award categories and Application Forms are available at:

The last date for submitting the application form is April 15, 2015.

We have divided some of the Awards under 2 categories viz.:
1.    Companies with revenues of less than Rs 250 crores
2.    Companies with revenues of more than Rs 250 crores

Shall be grateful for your kind action in this matter.

Best wishes,

Sincerely yours,

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

Calendar, Motivations, News

Vote for India’s most innovative student startups.

We are delighted to announce that over 430 student startups from 69 cities across India have been nominated for the fourth edition ofTATA First Dot Powered byNEN Awards!Which of these startups will win the coveted People’s Choice Awards? Any from your college or city? You decide!

Visit and vote for the most innovative student startups! Help us recognize and support India’s next-generation entrepreneurial leaders.

VOTE for your favorite student startup
Three simple steps to vote:
Visit the Nominees page on our website
Check out nominees by city, industry, institution or name
Go to your favorite nominee page, read more about them, and click VOTE. And yes, you can vote for more than one startup!
TATA First Dot team
Business Ideas, Business Plans, Calendar, Innovation, Marketing, Mentoring, News, Startups, Technology

Eureka 2014 – International Business Plan Comptetition

Eureka! – An International Business Plan Competition

Aimed at encouraging people all around the world to unleash their inventive potential and flesh out ideas spanning multiple dimensions, Eureka! is Asia’s largest B-Plan competition as acknowledged independently by CNN and Thomson Reuters.

Designed to emulate the process of the growth of an idea towards a full-fledged startup. Eureka! prides itself on providing a 360 degree, holistic experience in the 5 month period that it spans. Right from acknowledging that your idea has potential, to writing a B-Plan, and pitching in front of an investor- this platform has it all !

Over the 15 years of its existence, Eureka has grown from a competition in which 50 teams competed for INR 50,000 , to a competition which sees over 6000 entries competing for prizes worth INR 4.5 Million with excellent networking opportunities in India and the Silicon Valley !

Eureka! now serves not only as a launch pad for budding ideas, but now has moved to be recognised as a platform for intensive learning of the entrepreneurial ecosystem by interactions and mentorship from the leaders of this field.

With the vision of promoting both business and social innovations, we follow two tracks:

  • Eureka! Business
  • Eureka! Social

Eureka! Business

The trademark of Eureka!, the business track of Eureka! is aimed at helping ideas develop into businesses that have the potential to revolutionize the world.

Eureka! Social

Now into its 4th successful year, Eureka! Social aims at helping build innovative enterprises and technology to aid the strata at the bottom of the pyramid and/or build a greener tomorrow. With associations like NSEF, Ashoka and Villgro, Eureka! Social runs as a parallel side track to Eureka! Business.

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Inviting Comments for MSME factories

Inviting comments/suggestions on the proposed Draft of “The Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill, 2014.

The Ministry of Labour 85 Employment proposes to bring a comprehensive labour law for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). In this regard, draft Bill viz. “the Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill, 2014” has been finalized after extensive discussions by the Working Group constituted by this Ministry.
2. The draft Bill viz. “the Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill, 2014” has been uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Labour and Employment i.e. http:/ for inviting comments/suggestions from the general public.

3. It is requested that comments on the proposed Bill may be sent to Shri S.C. Sharma, Deputy Director [IR(PL)], Ministry of Labour and Employment, Room No.309(A), Shram Shakti Bhavan, Rafi Marg, New Delhi-110001 ( or Mr. Piyush Sharma, Consultant, Ministry of Labour 85 Employment, Room No.502, Shram Shakti Bhavan, Rafi Marg, New Delhi (pivushsharma by 10th November, 2014.



Small Factories Employment Bill

Circular Inviting comments Small Factories

Courtesy : Minocheher Damania

Motivations, News, People / Stories

What Went Wrong: 101 Failed Startups Tell All

Worried about your startup? You are not alone.

That’s the subtext to a new study from CB Insights, which goes into the 20 reasons startups are likely to fail. The study has everything, from weak founding teams to failed pivots to overbearing investors.

This is not exactly the first study about startup failure, of course, but it’s a bit different from many others. First, it’s compiled from 101 startup failure post-mortems, rather than from a survey asking CEOs what went wrong. That gives it a level of detail you don’t often see. Second, it’s focused on venture-backed, fast-growth (well, they intended to be fast-growth) companies, which is a unique universe. Last, it contains many extended quotes and anecdotes from founders, who, at least in the samplings made available through CB Insights, seem to be remarkably candid.

What went wrong? In most cases, quite a few things, which is why the numbers in the study add up to more than 100. But here are the five most common problems.

  1. No market need: 42 percent

  2. Ran out of cash: 29 percent

  3. Not the right team: 23 percent

  4. Got outcompeted: 19 percent

  5. Pricing/cost issues: 18 percent

Read more:

Motivations, News, Social Entrepreneurship

A Simple Solar Oven Makes Salt Water Drinkable

It functions by filling the black boiler with salty sea water in the morning, then tightening the cap. As the temperature and pressure grows, steam is forced downwards through a connection pipe and collects in the lid, which acts as a condenser, turning the steam into fresh water. Once Diamanti established the fundamentals were sound, he experimented with a series of concepts for the aesthetic of the object.

“My goal was to design something friendly and recognizable for the users,” he explains. “The process developed quite naturally to determine the current shape; every detail is there for a reason, so the form, as well as production techniques, represent a compromise between technical and traditional.”

Click Here for the story

Calendar, Motivations, Networking, News

Third edition of the BW|Businessworld Hottest Young Entrepreneurs 2014 Awards.

Entrepreneurs are invited to compete for the BW|Businessworld Young Entrepreneur Awards 2014-2015 in two categories. Category A is for companies between 3 and 5 years old as on 30 June 2014. Startups that are 0-3 years old are invited to apply and compete for awards in category B. Three winners will be chosen and awarded in this category. At least one founder has to be 35 or under as on 30 June 2014. The last date for applications is July 31, 2014.

Q. Who can apply for the BW|Businessworld Hottest Young Entrepreneurs 2014 awards?

A. There are three basic criteria.
One, all founders should be no more than 35 years old as of June 30, 2014 .
Two, companies which are between 0-3 years old as on July 31, 2014, can apply. This is a category we introduced for the first time last year.
Three, companies which are between three and five years old as on July 31, 2014. All companies must be registered entities.

Q. What is the selection procedure?

A. After applications close on July 31, 2014, winners will be picked via a three-step process. In Step 1, independent auditors will shortlist eligible candidates based on a due diligence of accounts. In Step 2, a screening committee comprising venture capitalists will interact with applicants and shortlist finalists for the jury round. Shortlisted candidates will then be put through a mentoring process before being presented in front of an independent jury. The jury will pick five winners, ranked 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest rank. The winners will be awarded at an awards function hosted by BW|Businessworld in March. We will update applicants on the outcome of each step on this website.

Q. Apart from the winners, are there any other awards?

A. We pick five companies as winners in the Editors’ Choice category. These companies are featured in BW|Businessworld as part of the special issue on the awards. We don’t not award them at the awards function.

Q. Is there a cash prize for the winners?

A. No, at this moment we do not give cash prizes.



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Finance, News

Budget 2014: 3 reasons why India needs more entrepreneurs, not a Rs 10,000 crore fund

by Alok Kejriwal

So what can the government do? Encourage the rise of entrepreneurs! How? By exposing all the problems and challenges that the government wants to solve in its business; the government operating the biggest business of them all!

In his budget speech, finance minster Arun Jaitley spoke about ‘funding’ entrepreneurs and casually slipped in “promotion of entrepreneurship and start-up companies remains a challenge. While there have been some efforts to encourage, one principal limitation has been availability of start-up capital by way of equity to be brought in by the promoters. In order to create a conducive eco-system for the venture capital in the MSME sector it is proposed to establish a Rs 10,000-crore fund to act as a catalyst to attract private capital by way of providing equity, quasi equity, soft loans and other riskcapital for start-up companies.”

Shucks. How badly the FM has fared in understanding the real problem about entrepreneurs. To put it contextually (at least for me), it’s like the FM trying to play Candy Crush and failing at Level 1 itself — implying that he hasn’t understood the game at all!

I argue that India needs 10,000 entrepreneurs, not Rs 10,000 crore to start with! These are my reasons:

1. Capital chases entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs don’t chase capital!

I would like to meet 100 ‘entrepreneurs’ who qualify for Mr Jaitley’s funding corpus. Honestly, they don’t exist. In the past five years, I have been a jury member, spectator and even a mike runner at more than 100 start-up events in India and let me say this with utmost authority that India still lacks the depth and breadth of solid entrepreneurs.

What we have are contest-crazy business plan pitchers; copycats who begin their pitches by saying, “If X is the Y of USA, we will be the same for India”. Then we have a few burnt out mid-40s/50s suit-and-tie types, who want to earn the badge of ‘startingup’ rather than really being an entrepreneur.

So what can the government do? Encourage the rise of entrepreneurs! How? By exposing all the problems and challenges that the government wants to solve in its business; the government operating the biggest business of them all!

Now imagine a ‘portal’ that has 10,000 business problems that the government needs to solve! Examples: how to make a road that lasts in Mumbai? How to reduce immigration lines at airports? How to make people honk less while driving? What music to play in Delhi Metro? How to make money from public gardens? How to create a search engine to find a particular government official? How to light government buildings up at night using solar power?

Give me 10,000 hours and I will come up with 10,000 problems the government needs to solve.

Now, if the stated problems genuinely need to be solved by the government, then entrepreneurs will respond to these demands! Funding them is a trivial matter.

2. Clarity not charity

Will $1.6 billion suddenly fire up the Indian entrepreneur system? Is the government dreaming? Heck, Flipkart has swallowed up $1 billion just by itself to build one of the many e-commerce sites! So what will $1.6 billion achieve?

And how will this be given out? Which entrepreneur in his right mind wants a ‘soft loan’ from the government when she knows that her chances of succeeding are 1 out of 1,000 shots? Who wants ugly ‘notices’ of defaults to land up at their homes when they cannot return the money?

What the government needs to offer is clarity, not charity! Please, Mr FM, be clear. Explain what you mean and how you intend to support entrepreneurs.

3. Inspiration, not aspiration!

The government may ‘aspire’ to be the ‘catalyst’ of entrepreneurs, but who cares? What has the government done in the past to prove that it deserves to fund entrepreneurs? Is Air India an example of success? Or Doordarshan? Or MTNL? Or the Indian Railways? Are the balance sheets of our nationalized banks a great financial success story? How many noble laureates do we have working in the government?

Entrepreneurs look for inspiration, not aspiration! A few hours spent with the most iconic VCs in the world transform entrepreneurs and make them think beyond their imagination. VCs who have funded the first rounds of Google, Facebook, Yahoo and the likes share stories and learnings that entrepreneurs would give anything in the world to have access to. VCs open boardroom doors and have an overflowing chest of money for deserving entrepreneurs. Can the government even claim to have any of these?

Mr FM, we don’t want you to ‘spray and pray’ with our money. If you want to really encourage entrepreneurs in India and get monetary gravity for them, then prove that you can be entrepreneurial and set your own house in order. Remember, we have funded you.

Then, let’s talk.

The writer is a digital entrepreneur and blogs at