Why Are Entrepreneurs So Inclined Towards Crowdfunding?

Our previous blog about Crowdfunding must have given you a fair idea about what actually crowdfunding is and how it works. In this blog, you will come to know why more and more entrepreneurs are opting for Crowdfunding over traditional methods of fund-raising and how some of them have created a buzz across the globe with their successful crowdfunding campaigns.

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The Benefits of Crowdfunding

From tapping into a wider investor pool to enjoying more flexible fundraising options, there are a number of merits to crowdfunding over traditional fund-raising methods:

1. Reach – By using good crowdfunding platforms, you have access to thousands of accredited investors who can see, interact with, and share your fundraising campaign.

2. Marketing – An active crowdfunding campaign is a good way to introduce a venture’s overall mission and vision to the market, as it is a free and easy way to reach numerous channels. Many crowdfunding platforms incorporate social media mechanisms, making it easy to get referral traffic to your website and other social media pages.

3. PR – The momentum created by successful crowdfunding campaigns make for interesting reading, and reporters are always hungry for them. Crowdfunding is a unique and hot industry these days, and countless entrepreneurs who have been successful with it have seen larger success and exposure as a result.

4. Validation Of Concept- As potential investors begin to express interest, give feedback and ask questions, you will quickly come to know if there is something missing that would make them more likely to buy in.

5. Efficiency – One of the best things about online crowdfunding is its ability to centralize and streamline your fundraising efforts. By building a single, comprehensive profile to which you can funnel all your prospects and potential investors, you eliminate the need to pursue each of them individually.

Where and How to do it

There are numerous crowdfunding platforms where consumers can safely ask for or donate money such as Kickstarter, Pik A Venture, Fund Dreams India, Indiegogo, Catapooolt, RocketHub, Start 51, Keggo.org to name a few. While each site offers its unique spin, the general concept is the same across the board. Project creators can create a profile typically containing a short video, an introduction to their project, a list of rewards per donation, and some images to elaborate. The idea is to create a compelling message that readers will be drawn towards. The idea of “it’s not what you do, but why you do it,” really hits home here. By focusing on a bigger purpose, the driving force behind a brand, project creators will be able to create a unique community of like-minded individuals. Each campaign is set for a goal/target amount of money and a fixed number of days. Once the project is launched, each day will be counted down and the money raised will be tallied up for visitors to follow its success.

It’s not as easy as it seems

There is a huge misconception that creating a successful crowdfunding campaign is as simple as hitting submit and waiting for it to go viral. While this has happened to many brands, the vast majority of projects will require a decent amount of effort on the part of the project creator.

Utilizing social media, creating email distribution lists before the project launches, contacting local media, are all necessary steps to take if you are serious about your goal. Remember, this is not a platform to ask for a handout. If you expect people to join your cause, you had better be prepared to prove your salt.

Each campaign should contain a powerful reason behind the idea, exciting and unique rewards, and an eye-catching display. Video definitely plays a huge role in this last point because in this age of the digital reign, many consumers will stop reading your campaign if they don’t connect to the video.

Success stories to get inspired from:

1. Green Pea Cookie: A recipe discovered by three cookie lovers, Green Pea Cookie, is made from crunchy roasted green peas that offer a combination of a sweet and savoury taste. Their flavours include original green pea, chocolate-dipped green pea and cranberry green pea. Best thing about them? You can eat up to 6 and only consume 100 calories. After realizing the potential this treat they decided to make Green Pea Cookie come to life! Within 7 hours of launching their crowdfunding campaign for it on Kickstarter, they had already met their goal of $5,000. As of today they have exceeded their goal by 397% with more than 25,000 cookies pledged.

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2. Sheroes Hangout: This fundraising campaign is being run by Acid Attack Survivor Ritu to fulfil her dream of owning her own chain of restaurants in UP. She started off by opening a cafe in Agra for which she bought the equipments and paid remunerations to her fellow survivors at the initial stage with the help of funds raised from crowdfunding. Having launched this crowdfunding campaign on FundDreamsIndia.com, Sheroes Hangout has raised more than ten lakh rupees till date and has expanded across many cities in UP.

So what are you waiting for? Originators, jump the band wagon and rock the world! Supporters, get rewarded and enjoy your emotional satisfaction. Visitors, get inspired and launch your dreams.

Now is the time for you to start this incredible journey of owning your own tomorrow!

 

Crowdfunding in Nutshell

Until recently, financing a business involved asking a few people for big sums of money. Crowdfunding is turning this idea on its head, using the internet to help entrepreneurs talk to thousands – if not millions – of potential funders that each contribute a small amount.

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Defining Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is an efficient, contemporary way to connect entrepreneurs with smaller sources of capital, in the form of individual investors. Investopedia defines crowdfunding as “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”

Crowdfunding involves three parties:

Project Initiator – Project initiator can be anyone with a strong idea. If you have an idea and are looking for funds to put that idea into execution, you can easily be a project initiator on any of the crowdfunding platforms.

Contributor – People are now participating in crowdfunding in a pretty significant way. They make contributions to the funding of projects which they find creative and competitive. People love the idea of tying themselves to something they care about and can wed that with financial return.

Crowdfunding platform – The platform, which is usually a website, gives the project initiator a platform to present his idea and the potential investors to contribute to the projects they find viable.

Types of Crowdfunding

Just like there are many different kinds of capital round raises for businesses in all stages of growth, there is a variety of crowdfunding types. Which crowdfunding method you select depends on the type of product or service you offer and your goals for growth. The 3 primary types are:

Donation-Based Crowdfunding – In this type of crowd funding, contributions are selflessly given by the donors who fund the cause and expect no compensation in return.  Common donation-based crowdfunding initiatives include fundraising for disaster relief, charities, non-profits and medical bills.

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Rewards-Based Crowdfunding – Rewards-based crowdfunding involves individuals contributing to your project in exchange for a “reward,” typically a form of the product or service your company offers. This is most commonly used by entrepreneurs because it lets business-owners incentivize their contributors without incurring huge extra expenses or selling ownership stake.

Equity-Based Crowdfunding – Contributors are offered shares of the business entity, a stake or a share in its profits in this type of crowdfunding. This lures investments from contributors for lucrative business ideas.

Rewards and Donation based Crowdfunding are the two most popular Crowdfunding types. Within these two types, there are two Crowdfunding models called:

Keep It All – Amount received through each transaction is entered directly into the project initiator’s account immediately.

All or Nothing – If the economic objective is achieved (within a period of time), all contributions are transferred directly to initiator’s account. If the goal is not met, the funds raised will be returned to the contributors and the campaign will receive no funds.

In essence, crowdfunding is an excellent way for entrepreneurs to get the funds and exposure they need in order to verify, execute, and help their ventures grow. With the industry still evolving and becoming more efficient day by day, there is no better time than now to take advantage of the associated benefits!

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Women Entrepreneurs: Redefining womanhood?

Every year ‘International Women’s Day’ is celebrated across the world with paying tribute to the spirit of women empowerment & womanhood. Over the period of time since its inception the role of women have constantly evolved in society & women are now seen beyond housewives. Thanks to those few women who accepted the challenges & proved their worth.

Today you name the sector & there is a woman making difference to it by her unique initiatives & efforts. Be it higher education or jobs in MNCs, women are today seen as competition everywhere. But here we will talk about those few women who are making strides in entrepreneurship as well & setting an example for others.

 

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1. LatentView

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Pramad Jandhyala, a graduate from BITS Pilani & an MBA from IIM Kolkata did a brief stint with corporate world before she went on to found LatentView, a data analytics and data management firm. She has grown up under three very strong fundamentals of Discipline, Hard-work & Standing up for what one believes in. She thinks these three fundamentals have contributed a lot towards what she is today. According to her one should never let their short term goals bruise their long term vision..

 

2. ZipDial

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Valerie Wagoner is the co-founder of ZipDial, a Bengaluru based mobile marketing and analytics platform for global brands in emerging markets to engage 100% of their consumers.

ZipDial assigns companies a special phone number which their brands can use in print ads or TV commercials. Customers can call the number and hang up before they are charged for the call. In turn, brands can phone or send text messages about their business to the ‘missed callers’

She believes that the skills that are absolutely essential but are less valued in society are sales skills & every student should have good sales skills.

 

3. VLCC:

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Vandana Luthra is the founder & mentor of India’s leading beauty & fitness brand VLCC. It has now more than 150 centers across Indian cities & has overseas footprints as well in countries like Abu Dabhi, Dubai & Sarjah.

As per her, the young entrepreneurs should set their goal & work towards it. They need to follow ethics, best-in-class service & product standards. If there is firm commitment and dedication on these aspects then there is no stopping from reaching the pinnacle of success.

 

4. Cupcakes & Closet

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Neerali Malji & Aneesha Dalal started Cupcakes & Closet, a fashion brand in 2011 when they both were just 20 years old & were not having any formal education in Fashion Designing or Business Management. They firmly believe that risk taking ability is always inversely proportional to age. According to them young entrepreneurs should start small but should focus on perfecting every aspect of their business & scale will come with time.

 

5. Alicia Souza:

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Alicia Souza is just another young girl, who is shy but passionate about her work, loves drawing in spite of no formal education & yes she is on Facebook too. The only difference is that she has a huge fan following of 50,000 followers approx. on her page. A Communication Design graduate from Australia, who flew back to India & worked as designer for ‘Chumbak’.

She left her job & decided to work as freelancer illustrative designer, whose designs are now available on eCommerce sites like Amazon. She creates a buzz on social media platforms every time she designs a new illustration. She thinks that the key to her success is giving in passion, diligence & the will to carry on regardless of her failure or success.

These women have moved on & broke the traditional shackles of how women are seen in society by their counterparts. They have set in examples that says much more about their hidden potential. They rightly showcased through their endeavours that entrepreneurship is not limited to a particular gender in specific & if given a fair chance can walk shoulder to shoulder with them.

Write to us if you have something more to add on women entrepreneurship or the role played by them in shaping the society.

 

 

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Funniest Quotes With Entrepreneurial Lessons

Why so serious?

Read these funny quotes by some learned men from different industries. Because it’s not always about motivation and inspiration, entrepreneurship is also about laughing and being happy!

Here we go:

1. Behind every successful man, there’s a woman rolling her eyes. -Jim Carrey

Are you open to feedback? Or are you ‘Mr. I Know Everything’? Drop that ego and be open to what people have to say. Listen to their suggestions. You cannot be right all the time. Shun the arrogance or be ready to spot rolling eyes all around. There’s a thin line between being Mr. Captain Cool and Mr. Arrogant after all.

2. My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them. -Mitch Hedberg

Every entrepreneur have their own set of rules and values. But make sure others too are comfortable with it. Modify them, as per the needs of others. You keep pushing your values on others, they will run away.

3. A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. -Steve Martin

Sometimes being the captain, you know things that many others don’t. This will create disconnect between what you expect people to know and what they actually do. Keep sharing what you know with your team and people around you to keep them on the same page as you.

4. Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. -Issac Asimov

This quote tells us about a thin line between confidence and over-confidence. Keep a check on your limitations, know your boundaries and learn to slow roll.

5. Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive. -Elbert Hubbard

C’mon now, who doesn’t face stress? Stress is healthy if you stop taking it negatively. It’s completely okay to be stressed out. Enjoy each phase in life. Learn something every day. Make mistakes, do stupid things, have fun and run your business as if it’s your last day.

6. I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party. -Ron White

A brilliant quote! All you need to do is add that ‘extra’ in your ‘ordinary’.

7. Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. -Margaret Mead

Be proud of who you are. But don’t stop respecting others.

 

We couldn’t stop here, so below are some more self-explanatory quotes:

8. Always look for a fool in the deal. If you don’t find one, it’s you. -Mark Cuban

9. Be nice to geeks. You’ll probably end up working for one. -Bill Gates

10. Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth. -Mike Tyson

11. There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business from there. -Colonel Sanders

12. I’ve got to keep breathing. It’ll be my worst business mistake if I don’t. -Steve Martin

 13. Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money. – Jackie Mason

 

And to end it all, here’s a hard-core entrepreneur:

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If you liked this blog article, and want to see more of them on similar lines, drop us a word in the comments section below.

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Rail Budget 2015 – Highlights & Key Features

The much awaited rail budget of the new government was presented by Mr. Suresh Prabhu in his maiden budget speech on 26th February. Rail budget is of much importance to many as almost 23 million people travel through Indian Railways on a daily basis which makes up the population of few countries like North Korea & Taiwan (Republic of China). And hence everyone was curious to know what Mr. Prabhu has in bag to offer.

Cleanliness

PM’s Swachh Bharat campaign echoed in the Rail Budget too with announcement of 17,000 toilets being replaced with bio toilets & a creation of dedicated department for cleanliness. Moreover, there is no hike in passenger fares which sums up the railway budget for a common man here itself.

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But if you move on to look at the budget then one thing that is very clear & evident from the Railway Ministers’ speech was – His efforts were in lines to make Railway a self-sustainable entity with lower dependence on government for its functioning. A new paradigm shift in the budget was visible as no new train was announced unlike each of his predecessors did & the budget had the audacity to talk more than just new trains, coaches & fares.

Employment generation

In order to promote self-employment, products made by self-help groups especially by women & youth will be promoted. New jobs will be created for the masses as the total predicted investment is of Rs. 850,000 Crore for over the next 5 years.

For the first time someone has stressed upon employee productivity & discussed about imparting Yoga training to the employees. Human resource is the strength of Indian Railways as over 1 million people are employed under it making it one of the largest employer in world.

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Modernization

In order to modernize travelling through trains & digitize railways, Wi-Fi at 400 stations & mobile phone charging facilities in all train compartments will be made available. In addition to this, surveillance cameras in select coaches and ladies compartments for women’s safety without compromising on privacy will be installed.

Services like train protection warning system and train collision avoiding system will be introduced in trains in wake of the recent train mishaps that took a tall on lives of many.

Security

Facilities like online ticket booking before 120 days & online booking of wheelchair for senior citizen will be launched for a hassle free & user friendly approach. Also a new 24*7 helpline will be launched with effect from 1st March 2015 to deal with public grievances on train delays & train reservations. An all India toll free no. 182 for security purpose will also be started.

All in all it was a fair budget by the Railway Ministry, answering the long pending issues of common man’s daily problem of security & modernization. We wish them luck in achieving their desired goal.

Do you think the budget is lacking something? Or are you completely satisfied? Share with us.

 

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3 Ways To Boost Your Creativity

While entrepreneurship is being taken as a career by many, the only way you can differentiate from your competitors & give them a fitting reply is through ‘Creativity’. Undoubtedly much research has been done in this field but to our surprise many of them contradict to each other. So let’s ponder upon what exactly it means & how you can practice it.

1. Limit yourself: Many of you won’t agree upon this but research has shown that if we put on restrictions to available resources then it will actually make you think more & you tend to discover newer options, which you may not have discovered otherwise.

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Example : Twitter, the social network allows you only 140 characters to express your idea as compared to other social media platforms. But it has to be noted that Twitter has become the most preferred social network by intellectuals as compared to Facebook or any other social media. And the quality of content is just superb. Had it been possible, if there were no such restrictions on writing? Ofcourse not.

2. Re-conceptualize the problem: Einstein once said “You can’t solve the problem at the same level on which it was created”, which means, you should try looking at things from different perspective. Sometimes thinking too much logically doesn’t help, as the solution itself is very simple.

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Example : Everyone had seen the apple falling from the tree but no one saw it like Newton did. Well, falling of an apple wasn’t a problem but the way people looked at it was.

3. Distance yourself: When things aren’t working the way they should, may be it is time for some coffee, a walk or a short nap. Experts suggest that daydreaming at work for a while & then getting back to your work, helps streamlining things & as a result something more constructive is delivered.

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Example : Writers/Authors often prefer distancing themselves if they get stuck upon on something. As they know very well that sitting & pondering upon the same thing for longer period of time won’t help. So they opt for taking a short break. This method is widely practiced in creative fields like advertising, script writing etc.

Write to us if you have more points to add or something to say about it.

Talking about creativity, we are happy to tell you that PGDM-BE course at EDI also has creativity & innovation in first year of its course curriculum.

Admission is now open to PGDM-BE course, interested candidates can apply online for the 2015-17 programme here: http://bit.ly/1zDi5aF | To download brochure click here: http://bit.ly/1dSP5fT

 

 

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6 Things you should know to make your business idea commercially viable

As they say – A man without aim is like a ship without captain. The essence here is – you should be well aware about where you are heading or what exactly you want to do.

Many of us have a great business idea, but the lack of correct information/knowledge on how to leverage the project idea or how to make it commercially viable is the real DEVIL.

As entrepreneurs come from varied backgrounds, they do lack upon certain important aspects of how businesses actually work on ground zero. Ofcourse the passion & determination of an entrepreneur is always there in full swings but rather than learning things by trial & error, it is recommended that you learn it much before the execution stage.

Primarily the business idea you are working upon should fit in to following parameters:

 1. The business should run without you: Essentially it means that all things should be on paper. It should not happen that in your absence, things go haywire. All things should be clearly mentioned on paper, reflecting the standard operating procedure required to follow it. So that even if people leave, quality or deliverable do not get hampered.

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2. Everything should be measurable: Even if your idea is very artistic or hard to measure in numbers, you should figure out a way to convert everything into measurable piece as that will help you knowing whether you are moving northwards or southwards.

3. Room for growth: You should not confine or limit yourself; expand your horizon and discover newer markets to cater.

4. Product Evolution/Innovation: Your product should constantly evolve with time & customer feedback. It should not become redundant or a rigid project idea.

5. Should serve a purpose: The business idea you are working upon should solve a problem or should serve a purpose. If it is not, then you should rethink upon it once again.

6. Sustainable Business: The business idea should generate enough revenues over a period of time & should be self-sustainable. It should not be the case that your business constantly requires external funding or loan to survive.

Do you have more points to add or something to say about it? Let us know.

 

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EDI Empresario-2015

It has been almost a year now to the iconic event of yester year – ‘Empresario 2014 – A Innovator’s fair’. And here we are back with Empresario-2015, a one of its kind event meant to bring budding entrepreneurs, investors & industry experts on the same platform.

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(During inauguration of Empresario-2014 by Shri D. J. Pandian, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Gujarat, Energy and Petrochemicals & Dr. Dinesh Awasthi, Director EDI)

Empresario happens annually on the guidelines of Innovation Promotion Scheme (IPS) introduced by AICTE. EDI, through its constant efforts has successfully hosted series of annual entrepreneurship summit ‘Empresario’ since its inception in 2012. The objective & vision is very clear – to bridge the gap between investors & entrepreneur community. The event is full of activities like Seminars, InnoExperience, Workshops, Marketing Challenge round & B-Plan to name a few.

Who should attend this event?

Innovator/Patentees: Those projects which are very innovative & need a business plan to go to the market or products which need to be patented before going commercial.

Startups: Companies looking for seed fund or venture capitalists for their business.

Students: Those who seek placement opportunity or training

Venture Capitalists: Those who are looking for new ideas to park their funds.

A lot of the activities carry prize money to be won. Students from leading colleges & institutions from across the country take part in Empresario.

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This time too, leading industry magnets are going to share the dais to address the entrepreneur community. Few of the prominent speakers on the list are Mr. Anurag Batra (Chairman, Business World Magazine), Dr. Rahul Mirchandani (Director, Aries Agro), and Jyotirmoy Bose (Founder, White Spaces Consulting)

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The Empresario 2015 is scheduled for February 20th & 21st at EDI, Ahmedabad. Interested candidates can register themselves for the event here: http://bit.ly/1KgQNtr

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Startup Funding

After successfully launching your business idea, the very next step is to scale it, and that happens only when you are able to convince those mighty brains sitting on the other side of the table, who are going to fund your business idea (only if it makes a lot of sense to them).

Last year in 2014, India’s IT hub ‘Bangalore’ was ranked 5th globally, after San Francisco, Beijing, New York & Palo Alto in terms of attracting maximum funds from venture capitalists. Technology startups these days are getting a lot of momentum, reason being the current generation is digitally evolving by leaps & bounds.

Moreover, the startup culture is prevalent very much amongst youngsters due to its unique attribute of having work autonomy & decision making processes, unlike in jobs these days.

They say – if you are looking for ‎funding then never ever send your ‎business plan to any investor before you speak to them in person. When you get their interest, only then is the right time to do so. Irrespective of the nature of business they are in, every startup has one thing on mind that is to get funded by big houses (i.e. venture capitalists, angel investors, etc.)

There are various terms in fundraising which everyone of us get wrong or use it interchangeably, knowingly or unknowingly. We try here to explain it to you one by one:

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1) Seed Money: The initial money that you need, just to check if your business has the wings to fly or not. Generally not so large money is involved in it & it is used for basic pilot project or research job.

2) Startup Capital: The money needed to finance a proven business idea, which is already in application. It carries a low risk attached to it in comparison to seed money.

3) Later-round financing: Few businesses raise money in phases i.e. for setting up manufacturing facilities, for developing marketing channels, for infrastructure etc.

4) Bridge Capital: The money required to run the business, before it goes public. As generally, it takes a lot of time for completing the formalities to launch an IPO.

VCs tend to invest in companies which showcase fast growth, having ability to pay back their money in short period & those that are going to be acquired by giants in near future.

Do you have anything insightful to share about startup funding? Please do comment and let us know.

 

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Why Entrepreneurship courses are gaining momentum

The reason behind the sudden shift in policy making with respect to small & medium enterprises in country is a thoughtfully taken decision by government to nurture a long term & robust growth plan for the country. As India predominantly is a country dependent majorly on entrepreneurs & small business houses for employment generation, which has evolved significantly with support from IT industry & latest technological advancement.

This shift in policy making is supported by entrepreneurship & post graduate oriented courses in India to enhance the talent & skill development further. In a recent study by ‘Small Enterprise’ magazine it has been observed that Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad features amongst the few prominent institutes in this area.

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In view of Shyam Sekar, Chief Mentor & Strategist at Startup Xperts (which supports startups & SMEs in India & abroad), ‘’Entrepreneurship is not about having higher IQ. It is about taking right step, failing early, standing up quickly, and moving forward’’. He also says that to succeed entrepreneurs must have following skill set

-Situational leadership

-Negotiation skills

-Effective communication

-Presentation skills &

-Strong execution skills

Mr. Shyam list down the ‘Ivy League’ institutes throughout the world, which offers course on entrepreneurship. EDI, Ahmedabad is the dedicated college in India that offers the full time courses on Business Management, which is designed for entrepreneur & entrepreneurship managers.

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Over a period of time several private institutes have come up offering courses on entrepreneurship but the quality & deliverables promised is always questionable. However, EDI, Ahmedabad on the other hand is consistently fuelling the growth story of several enterprises through its dedicated efforts of over 3 decades. It has stood by its core value of promoting entrepreneurship amongst the youth of country.

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What are your views about EDI? Tell us.

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