The Tata First Dot National conference and award ceremony are designed to enable recognition, access to knowledge, mentoring and networking for student entrepreneurs. A series of un-conference sessions, on-spot Tata challenges and entrepreneur talks were organized over the course of 15th & 16th February at RV College of Engineering, Bangalore.
The third edition of ‘Tata First Dot powered by NEN’ received 415 entries from which the top 30 ventures, including the 11 winners, were selected. Participating start-ups were spread across sectors including education, manufacturing, IT & software, hospitality & travel, retail, healthcare, biotech, energy, services from all over India from large cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata to smaller cities like Coimbatore, Varanasi, Kanpur, Dehradun, Agra among others.
Support to the student entrepreneurs does not end with the culmination of the event itself. The 30 Tata First Dotters (Annexure 1) that have emerged from the program will receive ongoing mentoring for their ventures via the NEN Mentor Platform. They will enjoy the opportunity to network with entrepreneurs, angel investors, mentors, experts and fellow student start-ups.
Tata group has invested in this platform to inspire early stage entrepreneurship and help student entrepreneurs understand what it takes to build a successful, high growth enterprise.
According to Mr. Harish Bhat, CEO and MD, Tata Global Beverages, “It was simply impressive to witness today what this initiative has achieved. The variety of the ventures we have amongst us is amazing and goes to demonstrate the very impressive and palpable energy of our country’s youth. This is the next generation of Indian entrepreneurs. Congratulations to all the winners today and may the pursuit of pure excellence drive every step of the journey you take.”
The six winners of the Tata First Dot Jury Choice National Competition were selected by a panel of eminent jury members comprising of Tata leaders, entrepreneurs, angel investors and NEN experts. The entries were evaluated on the following criteria: milestones achieved (investment obtained, track record), business model, innovativeness and distinctive competence, passion and growth potential. The five winners of the Tata First Dot People’s Choice Competition were selected through a process of online public voting, which attracted more than 70,000 public votes pan India.
The six winning start-ups of Tata First Dot National Competition-Jury Choice were – Epoch Services Pvt. Ltd, DecideQuick Services Pvt. Ltd., Bandhana, DriversOnDemand, IPrint3D and Life- Lab. Winners of the Tata First Dot People’s Choice competition included Papyrus Paper Recycling Company, Door to Door Home Services, Ether Alliance, Panache and Variete Boutique.
Mr. K Srikrishna, Executive Director, National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) said, “The ‘Tata First Dot powered by NEN’ platform, is growing to showcase ever more student entrepreneurs. This year’s conference continues to help them become more confident and skilled at building and growing businesses. The mentoring, panels and un-conference sessions chaired by NEN and Tata experts will help both aspiring and student entrepreneurs equip themselves for the challenges that lie ahead.”
Nikhil Furtado of one of the winning teams, IPrint3D said, “It feels incredible to be chosen as one of the winning teams at Tata First Dot this year. The win comes as a huge boost for our venture. The sheer experience we have had at this competition will enable and motivate us to scale greater heights.”
‘Tata First Dot, powered by NEN’ comprises five components designed to work together to engage and support India’s next generation of entrepreneurs: regional workshops, a judged national competition, an online “people’s choice” competition, a two-day national conference; and ongoing mentoring support for the winners of the competition.
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