About
 

The TATA group's commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship and India's next generation of leaders is well known. 'TATA First Dot Powered by NEN' brings together this commitment and TATA's vast expertise across most industries, with NEN's leadership in entrepreneurship education and support for the youth leaders of the country.

Over the past three years, students across NEN member campuses and beyond have started companies without waiting until they graduate. They have struck out, learning, growing, and even making money! We know that entrepreneurship is not easy, and that often some expert advice, access to resources, and a great network will make the difference.

'TATA First Dot Powered by NEN' holds these young entrepreneurs up as role models, and creates opportunities to increase their knowledge, resources and networks to enable them to succeed in their entrepreneurial journey - either growing their student ventures, or by launching them into larger opportunities after graduation.

TATA First Dot Powered by NEN Awards

The TATA First Dot Powered by NEN Awards recognize and honor next-generation high-growth student startups.
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Idea and Opportunity Evaluation Workshops

An opportunity to participate in two-day, NEN expert-led workshops.
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Online Courses, Webinars and Mentoring Clinics

Access to hundreds of videos, and online courses on a range of business topics.
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Startup Bootcamps

NEN will conduct a series of intensive, limited-enrollment bootcamps for startup teams with proven customer traction.
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National Conference

The one-day conference will see a series of events – from panel discussions and startup pitches to networking sessions and awards presentations.
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Expert Mentoring

The TATA First Dot platform leverages the NEN mentor network to enable long-term, structured mentoring for high-potential students entrepreneurs short-listed for the National Judges’ Choice Awards.
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Why Student Entrepreneurship?

 

Today’s students are our future high-growth entrepreneurs!


India is expected to add over 10 million people to its workforce each year for the next 10 years. Employment for such a large workforce will largely come from entrepreneurs who build fast-growing companies that create tens of thousands of jobs. A large number of these entrepreneurs are students today – and they need all the inspiration, encouragement, and support they can get!

They can take on bigger risks


Compared to working professionals, students are burdened with fewer responsibilities – marriage, family, mortgage – and therefore, have the willingness to take on bigger risks.

Their lack of experience can be an asset


Experience – while an asset – can also make you accepting of status quo. However, students, with their lack of experience, bring the ability to look at things from a fresh perspective. They bring the ability to question the fundamentals and do the unconventional. Is it any surprise that some of our most disruptive or innovative entrepreneurs today started while still in college?

Colleges can be a fostering ground for startups


Starting up is usually team work. It requires trust, diverse skills, and an unbeatable sense of camaraderie amongst members – all elements you find in a group of friends on a college campus!

Entrepreneurial citizens makes an entrepreneurial nation


Whether our students eventually become successful entrepreneurs or not – India certainly needs them to become entrepreneurial citizens. Citizens who bring confidence, creativity, and the general “smarts” to solve our most pressing challenges. Citizens who are most likely to power our private sector – and our economy – in a rapidly globalizing world.

Key Indicators

 

Launched in 2012, the TATA First Dot Powered by NEN platform has grown dramatically to become the definitive platform for discovering and supporting India’s next-generation high-growth entrepreneurs. Here are seven indicators from the previous three editions that demonstrate the vibrancy of our student startup ecosystem. Please note, data from the current edition will only be available early next year.

Startup participants

In three years, the number of startup participants more than doubled – from 202 in 2012 to 415 in 2014.

No. of cities/ towns represented

Over 64 cities and towns across the country were represented in the latest edition, including six entries from Jammu and Kashmir.

Distribution by top 10 cities

Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore have consistently sent the highest number of startups.

Industry segmentation

Retail, IT/ Software and Education have been the top 3 sector choices for student startups. Reflecting the national trend, 2014 saw a significant increase in retail businesses (mostly e-commerce startups).

Founders

Number of younger students (first and second year) starting up increased significantly in 2014.

Funding

More than 50% of the companies continue to be funded either by founders or by families.

Education background (2014)

Engineering students continue to dominate the participant pool.

Testimonials

 

Organizers

 

TATA

The Tata group’s mission is to improve the quality of life of the communities it serves globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on leadership with trust. Founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868, the Tata group is a global enterprise headquartered in India, and comprises over 100 operating companies, with operations in more than 100 countries across six continents, exporting products and services to over 150 countries. The revenue of Tata companies, taken together, was $103.27 billion (around Rs624,757 crore) in 2013-14, with 67.2 percent of this coming from businesses outside India. Tata companies employ over 581,470 people worldwide. Good corporate citizenship is part of the Tata group’s DNA. Sixty six percent of the equity of Tata Sons, the promoter holding company, is held by philanthropic trusts, thereby returning wealth to society. As a result of this unique ownership structure and ethos of serving the community, the Tata name has been respected for more than 140 years and is trusted for its adherence to strong values and business ethics. Each Tata company or enterprise operates independently and has its own board of directors and shareholders, to whom it is answerable. There are 32 publicly-listed Tata enterprises and they have a combined market capitalisation of about $141.02 billion (as on September 25, 2014), and a shareholder base of 3.9 million. Tata companies with significant scale include Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Teleservices, Titan, Tata Communications and Indian Hotels.

National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN)

The National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) is Wadhwani Foundation’s flagship initiative in India. It was established in 2003 with a mission to inspire, educate and support high potential entrepreneurs to create millions of high-value jobs. NEN does this by building institutional capacity for entrepreneur support and a robust entrepreneurial eco-system. It was co-founded with IIT Bombay, IIM Ahmedabad, BITS Pilani, SP Jain Institute of Management and Research and the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology.

TATA First Dot Powered by NEN Awards

The TATA First Dot Powered by NEN Awards recognize and honor next-generation high-growth student startups. Leveraging the power of public opinion and industry experts, five Awards are presented in the People’s Choice and National Judges’ Choice categories each. Startup teams must successfully submit their nomination form to be eligible for both the Awards.

People’s Choice Awards

The People’s Choice Awards are presented to five student startups that win the highest number of votes in the platform’s online public poll, which will run through September to October. Winners will be invited to the National Conference in Bangalore, where they will be recognized and provided an opportunity to pitch their ideas and startups to leading entrepreneurs, investors, experts, and national media.

National Judges’ Choice Awards

The TATA First Dot Powered by NEN National Judges’ Choice Awards honor five student startups that demonstrate potential and impact through their scalability, innovativeness and key accomplishments (example: hitting key product development or customer acquisition milestones). Selected by a panel of established entrepreneurs, investors, academicians, and leaders of the TATA group and NEN, the five winners will be recognized at the National Conference in Bangalore, where they will be provided an opportunity to present their startups to the audience and media.

Learn More | Nominate your startup

Idea and Opportunity Evaluation Workshops

Throughout the nominations’ phase, current and aspiring student entrepreneurs across 20 cities in India will have an opportunity to participate in two-day, NEN expert-led workshops, where they will learn how to identify and refine business ideas, and systematically evaluate market opportunities. These workshops are also open to students who do not yet have a business idea or a startup – but are strongly motivated to explore entrepreneurial careers.

See workshop locations and dates

Online Courses, Webinars and Mentoring Clinics

All participating students have full access to content from NEN’s Entrepreneur Academy – including hundreds of videos, and online courses on a range of business topics. These courses and videos are designed by leading experts for entrepreneurs across the startup lifecycle. In addition, participating students will also have an opportunity to take part in webinars led by expert NEN faculty. The website’s Forum section will enable students to exchange ideas, seek feedback and suggestions, and expand their network across the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Access online courses

Startup Bootcamps

At the end of the nominations’ phase, NEN will conduct a series of intensive, limited-enrollment bootcamps for startup teams with proven customer traction. The 48-hour bootcamps will be led by industry experts and mentors who will work 1-1 with participants to refine their business plans, and to develop their elevator pitches or investor presentations. Participants will walk away with a pitch and a solid understanding of their growth plans and requirements.

Participation in bootcamps is on invite-basis only, and open only to entrepreneurs who have successfully nominated their startups for the Awards.

National Conference

To be held at the end of the two Awards competitions, the TATA First Dot National Conference will bring together more than 800 students, leading entrepreneurs, investors, experts, national media, and leaders of the TATA group conglomerate and key partner organizations. The one-day conference will see a series of events – from panel discussions and startup pitches to networking sessions and awards presentations – all designed to provide students with a powerful experience of the Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Stay tuned for registration updates.

Expert Mentoring

On-going advisory and mentoring is a critical factor for startup growth anywhere – especially so for student entrepreneurs balancing academics and business! Keeping this in mind, the TATA First Dot platform leverages the NEN mentor network to enable long-term, structured mentoring for high-potential students entrepreneurs short-listed for the National Judges’ Choice Awards. Mentors in the network include established entrepreneurs, educators, and industry experts – all of whom are committed to supporting India’s next-generation high-growth entrepreneurs.

Nominate your startup today to be eligible for expert mentoring!