To encourage entrepreneurship in the country, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) presented first ever National Awards to individuals and institutions who are key to improve the ecosystem. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, spoke more about the awards.
How will the awards benefit the entrepreneurs and also help them raise the bar for better growth and innovation?
The ‘National Awards’ is a boost for the whole ecosystem of entrepreneurship as it rewards not only the young entrepreneurs who take immense risks to change the business landscape with bold and innovative ideas. But, it also recognizes the institutions and individuals that support them in early stages and equip them with the skills and resources to enhance the value of their offering to their customers and the society.
The entrepreneurs would benefit as the prestigious award would make it easier for them to access opportunities both in the public and private sector and take their growth trajectory on to a higher plane.
How many entries you received in the nomination process?
In this first year of the awards, more than 200 entries were received in Awards Track and close to 300
nominations were received in the Recognition Track.
Who all are jury members and how the jury shortlisted the right candidates?
The national level jury comprised of eminent personalities from academia, technical field, finance, social entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship were represented by Dr M K Bhan, Dr R A Mashelkar, Naina Lal Kidwai, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, and Mohan Das Pai. The national jury of eminent experts deliberated on the shortlisted applications on the basis of several criteria including the impact, competitiveness and leadership to ensure that the winning entries in each category had the most potential to grow and lead industry in their category. As for the recognition of ecosystem builders, the criteria included impact and leadership and past performance in developing and scaling up the ecosystem for harnessing the entrepreneurial energies of the youth.
What is the MSDE’s objective for doing the awards?
The objective of this award is to catalyze a cultural shift in youth entrepreneurship by providing models of excellence in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that would inspire the youth, specially the first generation entrepreneurs, to improve and excel in their entrepreneurial pursuits. At the same time, it focuses on encouraging and inspiring the ecosystem builders in excelling in their commitment towards entrepreneurship education and capacity building for youth that includes teaching, training, practice, hand-holding, mentoring, networking, funding, and scholarly and/or creative activities.
What would be the immediate and long term benefits that entrepreneurs can look from these awards?
The entrepreneurs selected for the awards would be able to leverage the prestige of the rigorous selection process followed both in their markets as well as funding requirements. The publicity and the awareness generated in the network of investors, customers, and other stakeholders will provide both immediate and long term benefits to the awardees. A longer term impact would be from the recognition of the ecosystem builders - the institutions and mentors, who would be encouraged to support and nurture more entrepreneurs for the future.
What make the awards more start-up centric?
There are three features of the ‘National Entrepreneurship Awards’ that ensures that start-ups are targeted. The entrepreneurs should be below 30 and first generation entrepreneurs, who are not in the same line of business as their family. Then, their enterprise has to be less than five years old. These features tend to make the awards start-up centric.
Start-ups are the key to economic development and efficient utilization of the resources of a country. Start-ups that grow up to become successful enterprises usually challenge and disrupt the old and inefficient incumbents to deliver additional value to the consumers in a more efficient and innovative manner. This leads to creative destruction that reconfigures the value chain for delivery of goods and services in a simpler and more efficient manner.
The creation of new jobs by startups also helps improve the employment prospects for the young. This would go a long way in realizing the demographic dividend of the country. An award to identify and reward start-ups by young entrepreneurs with the potential to thus boldly transform the business ecosystem and prime it for scaling greater heights was found to be the need of the day. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship took the initiative to institute such an award scheme and partnered with seven prestigious institutions across India as implementation partners.
These institutions having been active in the ecosystem for over a couple of decades were well equipped to identify and shortlist the applicants for selection by the eminent jury.
(This article was first published in the February issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)