Microsoft Ventures in India and Deshpande Foundation have announced a partnership to launch Sandbox Startups, an incubator that is focused on nurturing and mentoring startups in tier two and tier three cities in India.
Deshpande Foundation is an NGO founded in 1996 by Gururaj (Desh) Deshpande and Mrs. Jaishree Deshpande, has operations in India, Canada and the USA. The foundation is focusing its efforts in India on “building an ecosystem” to nurture innovative social entrepreneurs.
Sandbox Startups is aimed at providing a launchpad for aspiring entrepreneurs in smaller towns and cities where they have inadequate exposure and facilities to take their idea to next level. The initiative will allow entrepreneurs to validate their business idea from Industry leaders and experts, get training to sharpen their business acumen, and help in developing innovative products.
Mr. Naveen Jha, CEO, Deshpande Foundation said. “ The objective of this partnership is to work in an inclusive manner to ensure that all relevant stakeholders, such as early stage entrepreneurs, academia, students, the venture capital community, mentors, advisors, high-net-worth individuals and corporates, are active participants in the innovation ecosystem,”
Why Such initiative are needed?
While we frequently hear that the next “Facebook” or “Google” is going to come from Indian hinterland, the ground reality remains quite difficult. Entrepreneurs who are not based in one of the major cities find it extremely difficult to cultivate their idea and grow their startup. They have issues every step of the way that includes Infrastructure, lack of good internet connectivity and lack of interaction with successful mentors and advisors.
Initiatives like Sandbox Startups will be a boon for such entrepreneurs as it will provide them with a platform where they can not only get their idea validated, but also get tremendous help in bringing it to market.
While this is one of the first such initiatives, India needs plenty more of them to spread entrepreneurship in rural areas!