Sixteen cities hosted mentoring sessions for 1,020 entrepreneurs on Republic Day as part of the pan-IIT Entrepreneurship Mentoring Event organized by alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), along with The Indus Entrepreneurs and the National Entrepreneurship Network.
While it was an afternoon of mentoring in most cities, the day-long event in Bangalore included a showcase of 12 start-ups and talks by venture capitalists and past entrepreneurs. The start-ups that made presentations included a mix of concept stage products by students and companies that have been operating for a few years.
The five-minute presentations showcased some interesting ideas being tested. EmSpark Technologies, started by a trio of engineers, wanted to build a hand-held measurement device powered by a mobile phone for electronic engineers and students, since there are few well-equipped college labs. The device would measure signals real- time and use GPRS connectivity for complex analysis.
Buzzworks, another start-up, plans to offer voice-based search for local services based on peer-to-peer user generated content, giving a new twist to the quest to conquer the local search market in India.
An interactive audience threw questions both at the start-ups presenting and at the other speakers. Online tutoring firm TutorVista’s K. Ganesh spoke on his initial difficulties with the company. Training tutors to be computer-savvy took time, he said, narrating how a professor on the payroll constantly forgot to plug in his headset while starting an online session with a student.
The event ended with a simultaneous 16-city live webcast from Hyderabad of a speech by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The programme saw an entrepreneurial mix of 120 students, 540 start-ups, 140 growth- stage companies and 220 working professionals across the country, including cities such as Bhubaneswar and Guwahati.