I then showed this slide and asked people what it represented. it was pretty much as i expected. no one knew. i would have been really surprised if someone had said i was talking about an incubator. and with that i rest my case.
no more validation is necessary that incubators in india suck.to me the three most important components of an incubator are mentorship, seed/pre seed capital and real estate. and necessarily in that order.many educational institutions comply on the real estate bit. they give work stations, computers with internet and telephone. many of them charge a rental for it.
no one provides capital. many entrepreneurs need some money even at the product development stage. not everyone is able to bootstrap. a good incubator should provide this. In Bangalore, we have set up incubators at PES School of Engineering and New Horizon College of Engineering and the respective managements have committed funds for this purpose.
many of them provide some form of mentorship but it's way below what's actually required. mentorship is about bridging the experience gap. today more and more youngsters are becoming entrepreneurs right out of engineering and management schools. they have no exposure to how organizations function, so obviously they have no clue how to build organizations that function effectively. this is where mentorship plays a crucial role.
mentorship is also about networking. as a young entrepreneur, the only thing he has going for him is the twinkle in his eye, the passion in his heart and the song on his lips. he needs someone who can open doors for him. he needs someone to play interference that he needs to be taken seriously.
mentorship is about knowledge. ask any entrepreneur whether he knows how to build the biz around his idea. and the answer will be no. right from writing the biz plan, incorporating the company, filing for patent, hiring the right team, going to the market, fully armed - doing all the right things at the right time,- mentors are a must have. not just good to have.
Nandini is a traveling teacher who teaches entrepreneurship in several ivy-league business schools around the world including Princeton, LSE and NUS overseas and in India in IIM–A, IIM–B, IIM–L and ISB. From being just a word in the dictionary six years ago, it has now consumed her whole being.
In July 2010, she founded CARMa (Creating Access to Resources & Markets), (www.carmaconnect.in) with a lofty ambition: to change the karma of entrepreneurs in India.
She writes a regular monthly column for the magazine, Entrepreneur. It delights her no end that it is from smaller towns that aspiring and practicing entrepreneurs reach out to her after reading it.
She is a TED speaker.
Her best-selling book Entrepedia – a Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Entrepreneur in India, has touched the lives of many a start-up entrepreneur in India as evidenced by the no.of mails she receives every month. She cherishes them all but her favourite is from a 77-year old retired business man, who wrote to her saying ‘I’m angry with you that you didn’t write this book 40 years ago when I started my business.