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IIM Ahmedabad joins hands with SAP to catalyse regional start-up ecosystem From this accelerator, at least two start-ups will receive seed funding of Rs 40 lakh towards the end of programme

By Entrepreneur India

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Tapping into the entrepreneurial energy of Gujarat, the Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) has partnered with SAP India to create the first Gujarat-focused accelerator programme, as a part of an integrated strategy to catalyze the regional start-up ecosystem. Teams from CIIE and SAP will work closely with innovative tech-enabled start-ups for a period of three months to help them maximise their business potential.

From this accelerator, at least two start-ups will receive seed funding of Rs 40 lakh towards the end of programme. Earlier this year in May, the President of SAP Asia Pacific Japan, Adaire Fox - Martin had announced the launch of this programme.

Supporting Dynamic Entrepreneurs

Gujarat has an interesting dynamic which consists of several second generation entrepreneurs helming family-run traditional businesses. The accelerator hopes to tap into that wellspring for both – ideas and mentoring, as well as funding and adoption of new technologies emerging from the program.

To support the regional start-up ecosystem, CIIE had recently organised #PitchAhmedabaf in association with TiE Ahmedabad chapter to help Ahmedabad-based start-ups connect with local investors. The Gujarat Accelerator would be a step further in the direction of strengthening local ecosystem.

"Through this programme, CIIE aims to achieve a two-pronged objective. First, this program will exclusively focus on scouting and supporting entrepreneurs from Gujarat and thereby, create a pipeline of investable start-ups from this region. While several successful start-ups are emerging from metropolitan cities, little is being done to support and channel start-ups from smaller cities and towns. This accelerator hopes to develop a model for supporting such entrepreneurs. Second, through this programme, CIIE aims to catalyse support from several organizations like angel networks, co-working spaces, fabrication labs, incubators, industry associations, technology communities, academia, and more that have been working towards creating a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in this region. Stronger collaboration between different stakeholders forms the key to developing a robust ecosystem," said Prof Rakesh Basant, Chairperson, CIIE Initiatives.

Integrating Regional Entrepreneurial Energy

The accelerator will support tech entrepreneurs across key industries – including Internet, Mobile, IoT, Healthcare, Education, Sports, Cleantech, Smart city, Food, etc., by providing them with operational guidance and access to capital. The CIIE team, along with other mentors, angels and domain experts, will help these start-ups validate their core business, product and financial assumptions through continuous review process.

Commenting on the new deal, Sunil Parekh, who is on the advisory board of the Gujarat Accelerator said, "I sincerely hope the CIIE-SAP led Gujarat Accelerator makes an attempt at integrating traditional entrepreneurial energy of the state into a new innovative enterprise creation. This has a huge scope for mutual benefit".

CIIE helps entrepreneurs solve India's most difficult problems in areas like energy, agriculture, healthcare and affordable technology. Set-up in collaboration with Government of India and Gujarat Government, CIIE is one of India's leading entrepreneurship centre, and operates different initiatives including incubators, accelerators and venture funds to support entrepreneurs. "CIIE has been a pioneer in the startup acceleration space in the country. We want to leverage our deep experience, expertise and networks and work with aspiring entrepreneurs to help create investable startups out of Gujarat," said Priyanka Chopra, Director of Portfolio, CIIE.

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