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Wadhwani Foundation creating entrepreneurs – Dr. Ajay Kela’s exclusive with Telangana Today

The Foundation is keen on creating more jobs by boosting startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with dedicated programmes in these 100 cities that could generate million jobs a year.

India is witnessing lack of jobs. Demand for jobs is going to be enormous. A nation with a huge youth population without jobs will experience social unrest. The nation needs to create multiple startups in at least 100 cities, not just in metros. Wadhwani Foundation, a philanthropic organisation founded by Dr Romesh Wadhwani, whose mission it is to “accelerate economic development in India and other emerging economies”, is creating physical and virtual networks for entrepreneurs not only in India but in other 15 countries.

The Foundation is keen on creating more jobs by boosting startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with dedicated programmes in these 100 cities that could generate million jobs a year. It expects to deal with around 8,000-1,000 companies in the coming years.

Wadhwani has already tied up with 600 academic institutions training 1,00,000 students every year. Of these students, about 1,500 to 2,000 are becoming entrepreneurs.

Sharing the vision, Ajay Kela, president & CEO, Wadhwani Foundation, told Telangana Today, “We want at least 3-4 per cent of top performing students in colleges to pursue entrepreneurship. We want to create job creators. Centre’s Rs 500 crore backing will help create entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country.”

“We are also looking at training high networth individuals (HNIs) turn into angel investors. To create successful entrepreneurs, we are also creating a pool of mentors to keep up the momentum. We have a programme for mentors too. We are creating a network of services providers including legal advisory,” he informed.

Global Network

The Foundation’s flagship initiative, the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) launched India’s first-ever Global Network for Entrepreneurs. The network aims to support entrepreneurs at different stages and intends to provide customised offerings for various levels of the entrepreneurial journey.

The network is supporting aspiring entrepreneurs, early and growth stage entrepreneurs, and SMEs with accelerator and scalerator programmes with curated mentors, advisors & consultants, service providers and investors through the mobile apps. Wadhwani Foundation just launched Global Network for Entrepreneurs.

Ajay Kela, said, “The Global Network for Entrepreneurs will act as a one-stop shop for the entrepreneur looking to grow locally and/or globally – providing all necessary resources, guidance, facilitated technology-led learning and networking opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs and startups to succeed, where the failure rates are abnormally high. This is a first-in-world initiative with global operations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.”

Entrepreneurial ecosystem

Wadhwani Foundation aims to help establish vibrant entrepreneur ecosystem in 100 cities globally to alleviate the global youth unemployment problem. The network will not only act as a fulcrum to inculcate a culture of entrepreneurship at a time when the best and the brightest are avidly looking at entrepreneurship as their first and preferred career choice, but will also provide the necessary knowledge and networking resources to the startup ecosystem that is required.

China has 1500 accelerators and India has only 140 accelerators though both nations have equal population. “We need many quality accelerators not only in metros and smaller cities across India, including district headquarters. In January, we want to pilot by creating fruitful incubators. We need a playbook on how to create a successful incubator, connect the startups to the right mentors and customers. We want to create such playbook and surrounding tools to make the incubators and accelerators free of cost in the public domain,” he explained.
Wadhwani is keen to spread its activities in about 20-25 emerging economies. It is focusing on

India and Indonesia besides Middle East, Latin American and African nations. Soon, it will foray into Brazil and Nigeria.

On the sector front, he said, the focus will be on large job creating verticals such as healthcare, hospitality, retail and logistics, automotive and tourism.

Telangana Today – Online