The five winners of Tata-NEN Hottest Startups contest, billed as the first such competition involving participation of the community in the country, will be announced on 27 February, organizers of the face-off event said.
The five, among the 30 shortlisted from 588 entrants, will be selected on the basis of public voting over the last three months and will be feted at an award ceremony at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, Mumbai, on Friday evening. “When we started, our hope was that the open format of the competition would benefit all the companies, not just the winners, and we have seen that happen,” says Laura Parkin, executive director, National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) and the Wadhwani Foundation. The competition attracted 200,000 individual voters, according to an audit conducted by consultancy firm Ernst and Young.
The competition, of which Mint is the official print partner, was organized by NEN in association with the Tata group. It began in August, with entries coming not just from the big cities but also from smaller towns such as Indore, Coimbatore, Belgaum and Margao. The 30 firms shortlisted in November, based on a combination of public votes and expert ratings, came from sectors as varied as retail, sports management, agriculture and embedded systems. “Companies came to surface that never would have in existing competitions,” says Parkin.
Detailed information, including business model, revenue bracket and entrepreneurial background, on each of the 588 companies was uploaded online (www.hotteststartups.in and mirrored on Mint’s website at www.livemint.com/hotteststartups). In addition, 80 of the nominated start-ups made presentations to students across NEN’s network of 370 college campuses.
In the follow-up to Friday’s finale, NEN says it will be involved in “unglamorous, behind the scenes activities” to help the shortlisted firms with necessary industry support.
Mint has been reviewing these start-ups since the beginning of the competition. Over today and tomorrow, we complete reviews of the seven start-ups remaining among the 30 shortlisted.