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From bus tickets to iris recognition, they all shine

From bus tickets to iris recognition, they all shine
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First Published: Tue, May 26 2009. 12 39 AM IST

 Better climate: Endeavor India’s Mallika Singh says entrepreneurs get a strong support system here.
Better climate: Endeavor India’s Mallika Singh says entrepreneurs get a strong support system here.
Updated: Tue, May 26 2009. 12 39 AM IST
Miami, US: What do you think is common to India’s redBus.in, run by Pilani Soft Labs Pvt. Ltd; IrisGuard Inc. from Jordan; South Africa’s Praekelt Consulting (Pty) Ltd; and Mexico-based L’Atelier du Chocolat SA de CV?
Better climate: Endeavor India’s Mallika Singh says entrepreneurs get a strong support system here.
These are all examples of Endeavor Group’s high impact enterprises selected on the basis of having the potential to inspire large-scale change in the lives of people at the grass roots level and positively impact their nation’s economy. Endeavor is a non-profit organization that aims to foster entrepreneurship in emerging markets.
In India, where Endeavor formally launched its operation in March, it has so far chosen two firms—redBus.in and Suminter India Organics Pvt. Ltd. Bangalore-based redBus is the largest aggregator of bus tickets in the country, while Mumbai-based Suminter is an organic farming company.
Active in 11 developing nations, Endeavor has so far selected at least 300 enterprises, since its launch in the US in 1997. At its latest summit held in Miami from 5-8 May, Endeavor selected 15 companies from Jordan, South Africa, Turkey, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico to offer them intensive strategic and management support.
Ranging from typical entrepreneurial businesses in information technology services to construction companies, from fitness firms to fashion houses and jewellery, from iris recognition systems to liqueur, the list made for a wide swathe of varied businesses.
A quick glimpse at some of the firms selected this year:
Praekelt Consulting: The South African digital media firm specializes in the development and management of mobile and interactive systems. It believes that the mobile Internet will be a major contributor in the future growth of the country, and has launched and manages platforms for various South African brands.
IrisGuard: The Jordanian biometric technology firm specializes in deployment of iris recognition systems, where higher number of people need to be checked real time. The firm claims to manufacture the world’s most accurate iris-recognition camera system.
B-FIT Center for Women: The Turkish firm offers a unique fitness programme that involves the usage of different fitness machines on the basis of a user’s push and pull power.
SEDI: This Brazilian business services firm offers solutions that can speed up bureaucratic processes.
Lumni Inc.: The Colombian firm offers loans to students, who agree to pay a fixed percentage of their incomes for pre-determined duration after graduation.
Grupo Corporativo Alancar: This Mexican firm develops, finances, designs, builds and operates restaurants, offering innovative products and experiences in the industry.
Francesca Romana Diana: A jewellery designer who offers her collection through boutiques across Brazil, Europe and the US. Each piece is handcrafted, anti-allergic and guaranteed to be exclusive design. Her creations include necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets.
Betazeta Networks SA: This Chilean firm is a network of communities, where people gather around their entertainment and information.
Tequilera Milagro: This beverage firm from Mexico makes spirits, using a triple distillation process and is 100% agave in all its varieties. Agave means no other sugar is used during fermentation to create the alcohol.
TES America Andina: This Colombian telecommunications firm offers certified products, including those boosting connectivity speed and preventing crashes.
Quarksoft SA: The Mexican software development firm offers enterprise software solutions. These products guarantee clients cost predictability.
Takawear Llc.: This Turkish firm offer high fashion clothing by designer Tania Eskinazi. Her designs relate to historical motifs and ceramic tiles that once adorned palaces. Takawear is increasing its sales abroad especially in the US.
India vs others
Compared with other emerging markets, experts say India, though quite far from being a developed nation, is far ahead when it comes to the formation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem and support to fledgling firms. “I think the support system, be it access to investors like VCs (venture capitalists) and angels, events to showcase business ideas…it is in a more developed stage in India than quite a few others,” said Mallika Singh, managing director of Endeavor India.
Also, with initiatives such as incubation centres at premier management institutes such as the Indian Institutes of Management and Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business, the entrepreneurial spirit seems to be adopted a bit earlier here than others. The examples of success of entrepreneurs such as N.R.Narayana Murthy (chief mentor of Infosys Technologies Ltd) and Azim Premji (chairman of Wipro Ltd) are feted in middle class homes.
Indian entrepreneurs say being technology-enabled and being aware of the multinational corporations’ structure further differentiates them from others. “We are well travelled and know the requirements of international markets. Our vision is not limited to Indian markets, and the Middle East and the US are always a target market,” said Phanindra Sama, co-founder of redBus.in.
Still, Nicholas F. Beim, general partner at Matrix Partners, says India faces more competition from China, when it comes to attracting investment. Infrastructure is an issue in India, as is getting resources for a new enterprise—two subjects that have been addressed well by China. Factors in India’s favour, on the other hand, include a strong democracy, faith in judiciary and a growing middle class that provides huge scope for consumer-related businesses.
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First Published: Tue, May 26 2009. 12 39 AM IST