Head to Startup Weekend, for help with business ideas

New Delhi, Dec 7: Ashwin Bhambri had trump cards, but they were not of WWF wrestlers with bulky bodies – they were of entrepreneurs and CEOs, their credentials and work history. Children could learn, through these, he says.

The cards Bhambri has are not available in the market. But that will not be the case for long, if Bhambri has his way.

The 35-year-old is pitching the sale of these cards as a business idea Friday at the American Centre in the national capital. Friday is also the first day of the three-day Startup Weekend, Delhi Women’s Edition.

Startup Weekend is a global movement to help young entrepreneurs launch successful ventures, once the ideas they pitch for are found feasible and credible.

The Seattle-based charity runs events in over 100 countries, covering more than 450 cities around the world. It is supported by 4,500 organisers and 450 facilitators, who have come forward on a mission to spread entrepreneurship in their respective regions.

“I think if children, without ever meeting the WWF players, can know and remember so much about them, then they can remember much too if they play with my trump cards. And they will get to know many good things, not just about Shah Rukh Khan,” Bhambri told IANS.

Like Bhambri, many others were present to pitch their ideas.

Some had no real business plan, just the hatchling of an idea.

Jagdish Tripathi, 26, wanted to develop an app that would allow people to upload pictures of unidentified traffic rule violators. The face of the person could be matched with a database, making it easy to nab those who drive with no care for rules, he said.

“This would make life easy on the roads. Though I know it is difficult to create the database. There are many such things still to be figured out. But I am just pitching an idea,” Tripathi said.

And at a forum like this one, not every idea will end up becoming a business proposition.

After the participants pitch their ideas, they vote among themselves for the best idea. Teams are formed, and then mentored for a day by people of expertise drawn from different fields.

During the mentoring process, the participants are encouraged to channel their ideas into considering also product viability and possible business modules.

On the third and final day of the event, the groups meet potential investors. If the investors are convinced of the idea and business plan, they then make an investment, granting the whole scheme financial muscle.

“The business idea can be as simple as opening a tea stall. But it has to address a problem, and find a solution,” Yatin Thakur, lead organiser of Startup Weekends, told IANS.

This time, the Startup Weekend programme is meant to be a women’s special event, focussed on the promotion of women entrepreneurs. There were, however, only five women among the 40 participants.

But Herro Mustafa of the US embassy was optimistic: “We are small in numbers. I can see that, but we are getting better each and every year. We hope to see the number increase in future,” she said.

IANS