"Our country [India] needs more new entrepreneurs and start-up businesses."
In their very first venture overseas, the world’s largest free business accelerator, Entrepreneurial Spark, is starting up India.
The revolutionary programme, which works closely with early stage and growing ventures, has taken a bold step to accelerate 300 businesses in one of the most rapidly developing nations in the world.
By backing young Indian entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurial Spark will fuel a gateway of innovation through a series of newly opened ‘hatcheries’ across India.
Currently, the UK native Entrepreneurial Spark is the most active accelerator in Europe, having fast-tracked 352 start-up companies in 2014.
The unique initiative offers start-ups something very special: mentorship from some of the most successful business leaders in the UK and vital early stage support.
The scheme offers office space and services free of charge, while also putting entrepreneurs through an ‘enablement process’ that sees their dreams and ambitions turn into a reality.
Looking to drive an ‘entrepreneurial revival’ across the UK, the scheme launched its initial hatcheries in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Ayrshire.
It has since moved down to Birmingham with other planned hatcheries to open in Bristol, Brighton and Leeds.
Now with the support of the Viridian Group, which is investing to incubate business ventures across the knowledge, material and delivery ecosystems in India, Entrepreneurial Spark will take its business savvy to the country with the aim to create 10,000 jobs in its first three years.
With a population of over 1.25 billion people, plus the added tagline of ‘World’s Fastest Growing Economy’, it’s not difficult to see why India is a perfect choice to drive entrepreneurial ambition.
For Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Entrepreneurial Spark, Jim Duffy, the motive for reaching out to South Asia is very simple:
“The vision is to create India’s most successful accelerator and be the ‘go to’ for entrepreneurs.”
When equipped with the prospect of making a real difference to the lives and livelihoods of so many young people, Entrepreneurial Spark’s mission is both necessary and inspirational:
“There is a growing entrepreneurial spirit in India, with a young, large and skilled population making the country uniquely placed to foster new business creation.
“But this raw material, or potential, is not matched with the means to make it happen. This joint venture does – it presents a clear and documented structure with a track record.”
Duffy admits that while the passion for business rides very strongly across the nation, there is a severe lack of funding and support for young visionaries and small ventures.
CEO of Viridian, Vijay Raghavan adds: “The demographics of our country demand more than a million jobs to be created every month in the next decade. Our country hence needs more new entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.
“Currently there are large gaps in the support systems for entrepreneurs. While Indian entrepreneurs are second to none in the world, some aspects of entrepreneurship skills also need to be improved if we are to expect a larger share of the global venture capital.
“The Viridian Group is keen to address these gaps and support in building the entrepreneurship eco system of India. We are hence bringing one world’s best accelerator programs to India.
“We sincerely believe that this tried, tested and highly respected platform can make a significant difference to Indian entrepreneurs.”
In a short space of time, the various hatcheries of Entrepreneurial Spark in the UK have mentored some impressive entrepreneurial ‘chicklets’.
Of them, include Glaswegian entrepreneur, Michael Devlin, who sold his first business that produces athletes’ water bottles (Core 150) for an incredible £1 million.
His latest venture, Profits Engine, is a web-based support portal that offers educational materials and a system for managing budgets for digital marketing.
Dhruv Trivedi is another Entrepreneurial Spark protégé who started a business that makes revitalising drink supplements in India.
Arriving to Glasgow from Mumbai, Trivedi’s company, Kangaroo Bounce Back, has already seen huge success in Scotland and is in its next phase of developing a ready-to-consume version.
Birmingham-based John Loveday and Paul Hood are another example of Entrepreneurial Spark’s vision realised.
Their company, Spearhead Compliance Training offers vital training courses in first aid, health and safety and manual handling for other organisations.
The former army men have already grown their business into a national network of over 125 trainers, and won £9,000 at the Entrepreneurial Awards in July 2015.
For now India’s hotspot centres will be located in Delhi, Noida (Delhi NCR), GIFT City and Ahmedabad. Further hatcheries will open in Bangalore, Mumbai/Pune and Hyderabad.