30 finalists for Tata NEN Hottest Startups Awards 2008

November 24th, 2008 - 6:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Nov 24 (IANS) The Tata NEN (National Entrepreneurship Network) Hottest Startups Awards 2008 Monday announced the shortlist of 30 finalists, which includes some of India’s most inspiring and innovative young companies. The shortlist was announced based on a combination of expert ratings and public voting, following an audit conducted by Ernst & Young, the official tabulator for the awards, an NEN statement said.

“The short-listed start-ups reflect the diversity of entrepreneurship in India, and the wide range of opportunities open to entrepreneurs. The represented industries include healthcare, agribusiness, retail, education, training, sports & sports infrastructure, eco/green products, social ventures and more,” the statement added.

Additionally, it represents a unique blend of cities - with four of the finalists located in tier two cities — Patna, Kota, Patiala and Belgaum. As expected, a large number - 26 of the 30 entrepreneurs - are based out of major metros, including Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad.

“Surprisingly, half of the finalists are serial entrepreneurs, even though a majority don’t have any prior family business background,” the statement added.

Starting Tuesday, the 30 finalists will engage in four weeks of intense campaigning to compete for the top five slots. During this time, the public can vote on www.hotteststartups.in or via SMS to 56767, and the final five will be chosen based on the number of online votes they have received.

Speaking on the occasion, Romit Chaterji, senior vice president (Corporate Affairs) at Tata Services Limited, said: “In today’s tough economic environment, entrepreneurs can spur economic growth and we believe that optimism and the drive to propel the nation forward, knows no slowdown.

“The current economic scenario is providing opportunity to start-ups to innovate and I’m happy that our association with NEN is helping us achieve our core belief of supporting and promoting entrepreneurship,” Chaterji added.

NEN Executive Director Laura Parkin said: “We’re excited by the results of the first phase of the awards. The 30 finalists showcase the variety and depth of entrepreneurial talent in today’s India - across sectors, and across geographies.

“They also demonstrate that entrepreneurs are tackling some of the most critical problems of today including healthcare delivery, unemployability, the need for quality education, the supply chain issues in agriculture, and many more.

“We are thrilled to provide a platform for these startups, and we will work to ensure these awards provide a powerful boost to these companies, connecting them to resources to enhance their continued success,” Parkin added.

“The 30 start-ups were short-listed from a total of 588 nominations received by start-ups contestants from all over India, making this the largest and most diverse collection of start-ups on a single programme,” the statement said.

The TATA NEN Hottest Startups awards were launched on August 27 by NEN in collaboration with the Tata group with the goal of improving the ecosystem and driving economic growth, the statement added.

Major partners in the initiative include Helion Ventures, Seedfund and Wadhwani Foundation. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the Gateway Hotel have joined the Awards as special partners.

The awards aim to provide visibility for startups, engage public and improve support for startups. Furthermore, the contest has two firsts to its credit -as India’s first ever people’s choice awards and the first-of-its-kind open platform showcasing Indian startups.

NEN, a not-for-profit initiative of the California-based Wadhwani Foundation, works to inspire, educate and support the younger generation of entrepreneurs in India.

Currently NEN is working with more than 400 top-tier academic institutes reaching over 400,000 young people across 30 cities of India. The NEN community alone has 55,000 entrepreneurship cell members.

The organization was co-founded in 2002 by leading Indian institutes, including IIT-Bombay, IIM-Ahmedabad, BITS Pilani, and S.P. Jain, Mumbai. NEN’s advisory board includes eminent experts such as Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Naina Lal Kidwai, Arun Seth and Howard Stevenson of the Harvard Business School.

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