IIT- Bombay's entrepreneurship cell gears up to conduct Eureka—deemed to be Asia's biggest business plan competition. Gauri Rane reports
By enabling easy interaction between aspiring entrepreneurs, mentors and angel investors, IIT-B's Entrepreneurship Cell (E-Cell) has served as an incubation centre for many entrepreneural ventures. This year too the Cell's business plan competition— Eureka, will provide a platform to potential ideas and early stage start-ups.
“As the competition aims to bridge the gap between ideas and the realisation of an enterprise, early stage startups will be able evaluate their business plan in the risk-free environment of a competition,” says Sagar Sheth, media manager, E-Cell, IIT Bombay.
Last year, the Cell received over 6,000 entries and for the first time, had international teams participating. “One of our last year winners, Zostel has already raised Rs 5 crores in funding since the competition. Another runner-up Social Cops has raised $320k, while the semi-finalist BookPad got acquired by Yahoo in a deal worth over Rs 50 crores,” informs Sheth. E-Cell launched the competition in 1999 after noticing gaps like, lack of a validation platform to evaluate the feasibility, inaccessibility to competent mentors and dearth of seed-funds at an early-stage which stop entrepreneurs from pursuing their dream ideas and converting them into full-fledged companies.
The competition can be broadly divided into two tracks – business and social, with a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs and Rs 1 lakh to the respective winners. Apart from this, there are a few other awards such as the Technology and Sustainable Development Award with a cash prize of Rs 3 lakhs, the Eureka Youth Award of Rs 1 lakh, and the IITB B-Plan of the year award of Rs 75,000.
Other than the cash prizes, other incentives include, a visit to the Stanford E-Bootcamp which gives the attendees a chance to gain global perspective through workshops and speaker sessions, and a direct entry as a finalist to Intel APEC Challenge. “The Intel APEC Challenge is a prestigious competition and getting a direct entry into it will lend huge credibility to the start-up and also give it a lot of exposure,” says Sheth adding that participants will also receive free legal, finance, IP, social media consulting as required.
Deadline for the first round entries for the competition recently concluded. The next phase will have top 80 teams participate in the semi-finals where they will be connected online to exclusive mentors who will help them hone their business plans and help them in developing their MVP (minimum viable product).
In December, a Mentors' Meet on the campus will see semi-finalists interacting with a range of specialists suited to their startups. “After that, we will invite business plans from the semi-finalists and about 10-12 of these will go into the finals which will be held from Jan 31 – Feb 1 during the IIT-B Entrepreneurship Summit,” signs off Sheth.
Incentives of participating in Eureka
Prizes worth over INR 4.5 million
Opportunity to win a trip to E-Bootcamp organised by BASES, Stanford University.
Chance to feature in Intel APEC challenge
A chance to pitch your plan to leading angel investors, venture capitalists and industrialists from Mumbai Angels, TiE, Nexus Ventures among others
An opportunity to be mentored by seasoned entrepreneurs, experienced industry professionals and faculty
Network with potential partners, freelancers, investors and world class entrepreneurs
Assured consultancy services in financial, legal, HR, PR and IP