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Rediff.com  » Business » Reality show to make start-up dreams come true in Bengal

Reality show to make start-up dreams come true in Bengal

December 02, 2015 14:03 IST

Bengal govt ties up with IIM-Calcutta, to launch a reality show, Egiye Bangla (Forward Bengal) to promote start-ups in state.

Image: Jisshu Sengupta will be searching for start-ups in a TV reality show. Photograph , courtesy: Jisshu Sengupta/Twitter
 
 

After playing detective Byomkesh Bakshi in a Bengali silver screen adaptation this year, actor Jisshu Sengupta, who was seen opposite Deepika Padukone in Piku, will be searching for start-ups in a TV reality show.

The West Bengal government has tied up with the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, to launch a reality show, Egiye Bangla (Forward Bengal), to promote start-ups in the state. The show will be aired on the Zee Bangla channel.

The state micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) department has a Rs 200-crore venture fund, managed by Mumbai-based SIDBI Venture Capital, to fund entrepreneurs in the state.

Few entrepreneurs from the state have tasted success. Entrepreneurs such as restaurateur Anjan Chatterjee had to generally move out of the state.

Making pitches seeking funding for start-ups can also be very similar to reality shows. 

On a recent weekend afternoon, Vikram Gupta, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of IvyCap Ventures, was asking pointed questions to 20-something Jeet Mehta, a recent Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay graduate, on the third floor conference room of the building.

Mehta, the CEO of start-up Grapevine, was taking part in IvyCamp - a platform launched by IvyCap Ventures to provide young entrepreneurs their first round of funding.

He was successful in getting the moolah for his networking app.

Wannabe entrepreneurs in the reality show, too, will go through a similar process.

"We want to promote entrepreneurs in West Bengal, where starting up is a problem," said Subhrangshu Sanyal, the CEO of IIM-Calcutta Innovation Park. "People here aren't too keen to take risks."

The idea for the show was mooted when the state government approached IIM-Calcutta to develop a tool to boost entrepreneurs.

It helped fund managers rate entrepreneurs and decide on funding - but it wasn't too successful in tapping into the state's talent pool. 

Reality show to make start-up dreams come true in Bengal IIM-Calcutta Innovation Park has incubated 40 - narrowed down from the initial 400 - start-ups, teaching them to frame a business plan, make presentations, determine the funding needed and polish their public speaking skills.

The format of the show is similar to Shark Tank - a reality show for start-up on the ABC network in the US.

Each round will have five contestants. Each contestant will pitch his idea to the investors - including Anjan Chatterjee of Speciality Restaurants, Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, the managing director of Bandhan Bank, and Ashok Banerjee, a professor at IIM-Calcutta.

The winner of each round will be given a prize money cheque and will qualify for the next round.

Those who don't win will be eliminated but also get some funding. The final will be the entrepreneurs vying for "the pot of gold" - a share of the Rs 200-crore fund.

Fund managers will determine how much a company needs and pick up stakes in the company, which they will exit six years later.

Zee was excited about the idea of the show, which will be on air 6-7 pm on Sundays.

"This is the prime time slot on Sundays," said Samrat Ghosh, CEO, Zee Bangla. Its tagline: "Where ideas become reality". 

Actor Jisshu Sengupta, who was recently seen in Piku, will host the reality show for start-ups Egiye Bangla.

Former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly - who has also successful hosted TV shows - will be a mentor for the pilot as well as the season finale.

"Ganguly has been the face of the show, right from the teaser," said Samrat Ghosh, CEO, Zee Bangla.

The show, like other reality programmes, is expected to be a money-spinner.

But will it help the ecosystem? "Experts from IIM will mentor them (the participants), fine tune their business plan and help them raise funds," said Subhrangshu Sanyal, the CEO of IIM-Calcutta Innovation Park.

He added: "This is a pilot project for us but the West Bengal government thinks there is a lot of potential to this idea. If others want to do something similar, we will get on board very quickly."

In Mumbai, Vikram Gupta, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of IvyCap Ventures, said these formats are good for the eco-system.

"These are small amounts of money. And with experience, you learn to separate the wheat from the chaff." he said.

Patanjali Pahwa & Urvi Malvania in Mumbai
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