I am heading to India today. The first event I will be at is TiECon Kerala (October 25 and 26) where on the 26th morning, I will be giving a special keynote, and on the 26th afternoon, we will have a pitch fest where six 1M/1M scholarships will be awarded to entrepreneurs in Kerala. And in Kolkata, on Nov 1, we will also have a pitch fest where six scholarships will be awarded.
Needless to say, neither Kerala nor Kolkata is really on the IT startup map of India yet. That is precisely where we hope to make a difference and kick-start a concerted effort in each place to foster entrepreneurship. Neither has huge entrepreneurial energy bubbling yet, neither has hundreds of experienced entrepreneurs floating around to offer mentoring and guidance …
However, there ARE entrepreneurs. And there ARE enthusiasts on the ground who are working on bringing about change, making entrepreneurship bloom.
The 1M/1M events are designed to help drum up momentum.
I have a simple equation in my head: 100 entrepreneurs in short order, 1000 entrepreneurs by 2020. EVERY region that wants to build an ecosystem needs to put in place a systematic process of identifying and grooming 100 entrepreneurs ASAP, and 1000 over the next eight years.
I am pretty sure, if we can work with the regions systematically, hundreds of new entrepreneurial hubs will get created. We will provide the mentoring, the guidance, the network.
I am thrilled that Kolkata and Kerala are trying.
I will report back.