Have an idea that is commercially viable but do not have the necessary funding to take it forward? Rest assured, for now budding entrepreneurs have various avenues in the form of venture capitalists, banks and government programmes to turn their ideas into reality.
World over, venture capitalists have become the most popular source of funding for upcoming entrepreneurs. In fact, Silicon Valley's existence is credited in a major way to the assistance from venture capitalists.
In India, there are a few organisations such as The Indus Entrepreneurs that are arranging platforms to foster entrepreneurship.
TiE not only provides the necessary mentoring in terms of business plan creation, presentation, fundraising, operational guidance and business development to its members but it also organises events wherein it invites venture capitalists to interact with budding entrepreneurs.
This year, in association with the Indian School of Business, the Hyderabad chapter of TiE is organising TiE-ISB Connect 2005, a forum for one-on-one discussion between investors and aspiring entrepreneurs, on July 28.
From this year onwards, TiE-ISB Connect will be an annual event wherein venture capitalists will be invited from across the world to provide early-stage funding for commercially viable ideas.
So what are the procedures that an entrepreneur needs to adopt to get funding?
Develop an idea that is commercially viable and is capable of capturing the imagination of a prospective funder.
Find out a group of people who can provide the initial skill levels or funding to develop the idea further. It is usually, friends, relatives or close associates that come into play at this stage.
Start making pitches so that your idea gets noticed by venture capitalists or angel investors.
Present your business plan in the form of an executive summary. The plan needs to be precise and attractive at this stage so as to entice the interest of the prospective funder.
It should include what the business context of the idea is, what's the solution that the idea will provide, how is it competitively positioned, what kind of resources and investment will it require, market size estimation, the profile of the management team and how prepared the idea is for launch.
Profitability projections, risk evaluation and market strategies to be used should also be included. Once the capitalist is convinced about the idea, he/she may decide to invest in the idea in return for shares.
However, it is the third stage that is the most difficult for a budding entrepreneur because, according to J A Chowdary, president, TiE Hyderabad, India does not have the necessary ecosystem to develop entrepreneurship.
"Most of the times, ideas die an early death because aspiring entrepreneurs do not know who to network with for getting funds," he adds.
Platforms like TiE-ISB Connect 2005, therefore, come into play at this stage so that budding entrepreneurs and venture capitalists can interact at one place.
Established entrepreneurs like Ramalinga Raju (Satyam Computer Services Limited), Srini raju (i-Labs Group) and Lav Nigam (Cendura Software Private Limited) are also being invited to interact with the participants, at this event.
In fact, the programme will also have an 'Elevator Pitch' wherein the participant will have to pitch the idea in front of venture capitalists, academia and other participants in a duration of three minutes, says V Chandrasekar, executive director, Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurial Development at ISB.
This apart, there are educational institutes also that have their own centres to fund or develop ideas. ISB's Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurial Development has funded four ideas in the last two years, says S Subramonia Sarma, director -- entrepreneurship development at ISB.
BITS Pilani also has a Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership that was set up to encourage the students of BITS to hone their latent entrepreneurial skills.
It also has a Technology Business Incubator that provides the necessary infrastructural facilities and technology support to develop ideas.
This apart, there are banks that are willing to provide loans to budding entrepreneurs, usually however, on the basis of collateral security. The government, both at the central and state level, has also initiated programmes to fund entrepreneurs.
The Technology Development Board, a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology, invests in equity capital and gives soft loans for developing and applying commercially indigenous technology, besides adapting imported technology to wider domestic application.
At the state level, there are organisations like the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Devlopment Corporation that provide services in the form of generation and implementation of new project ideas, comprehensive escort service to entrepreneurs, participation in equity capital, term loans and guarantees. It has promoted more than 800 units as on date.
The TiE-ISB Connect participation fee is Rs 500. To participate, contact: TiE Hyderabad, B-Block, 3rd Floor, Kanthi Sikhara Building, Somajiguda, Hyderabad - 500082. Tel: 91-40-23416603/05 Fax: 91-40-23416601 www.tiehyderabad.org. Or, ISB, Gachibowli, Hyderabad - 500019. Tel: 91-40-23187008 Fax: 91-40-23007046 www.isb.edu Registration form can be downloaded from both these sites.
An innovator's dos & don'ts
Manuel Torres, a pioneering Spanish designer, has spent 30 years solving manufacturing problems for the aeronautics industry, but his latest brainchild is his proudest achievement yet: a desalination plant, powered by wind energy, capable of providing clean water without polluting the environment. He reveals his mantras to Leslie Crawford of Financial Times:
Do invent -- don't copy
Own your technology
Do diversify by adapting the technologies that you have mastered to new industries in order to reduce dependence on just one sector
Don't consider entering a business that is being done well. Look for industries in crisis: they are prime targets for companies that can offer innovative solutions. Remember that renaissance always follows a period of decline
- Don't be intimidated by "experts" in an industry. Experts often cannot see the wood for the trees. Success breeds complacency and "closed professional niches", both of which are bad for business. An outsider often sees more clearly what is not working and what can be improved