March 2010
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The Economic Times launches 'The Power of Ideas 2010

MUMBAI: The Power of Ideas, India’s largest entrepreneurial platform that encourages, nurtures and grooms business ideas by connecting them with relevant mentors, incubators and investors, is being launched by The Economic Times on June 22. The initiative aims at creating an entrepreneurial culture in India Inc.

The Power of Ideas was first launched in 2009, in the middle of an economic slowdown, to boost sentiment and encourage India Inc to approach the slowdown differently. Over 12,500 business ideas were received and of these, 1,000 shortlisted participants were taken through Group Mentoring sessions and Elevator Pitches. A final list of 254 thus arrived at were put through a phase of one-on-one Mentoring prior to presenting their ideas to investors. Till the time of writing, nearly 20 ideas have received funding and several more are in advanced stages of talks with investors. Not only was the programme rigourous in terms of the learning it offered, it also became – by virtue of the sheer number of business ideas received – the largest aggregation of outstanding business ideas.

This year, the objective is to formalize the initiative, transforming it into an entrepreneurial ecosystem that will drive the economy forward. For this purpose, The Economic Times has joined hands with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. The Department of Science & Technology, with its immense expertise and relationships in the entrepreneurial space, is offering guaranteed funds worth Rs 5 crore. It will be given out to not just for those who have taken the first step, but even to dreamers who come with nothing more than a good idea. It’s our way of saluting innovation.

Working alongside will be the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad. Started as an incubating lab of IIM Ahmedabad, CIIE is today a domain expert, with experience in mentoring, hand-holding and making entrepreneurs investor-ready. In the last few months, CIIE has been sewing together an ecosystem comprising mentors and investors who will evaluate every single business summary that comes to The Power of Ideas 2010 - mentoring and investing in the most deserving. Just to ensure that more dreamers get to meet investors, CIIE has also worked out a unique ten-day incubation programme at its campus for all candidates who make it to the final cut-off list of The Power of Ideas, all expenses paid.

The programme this year also has the blessing of Infosys Chairman and Chief Mentor N R Narayana Murthy, who, in an interview last month spoke in detail about his own entrepreneurial journey and the relevance of the initiative. He said," I am very excited by the launch of The Power of Ideas. I encourage any initiative that encourages entrepreneurship. I believe entrepreneurship is the only instrument to make this a better country”.

Thus, this unique public-private-academia partnership means there is real money and real expertise powering The Power of Ideas 2010
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