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2003
Nov 12, 2003 | Mumbai
 
Founding partners from six leading academic institutions announced

Wadhwani Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, established to accelerate entrepreneurship in emerging economies, launched the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), a network of entrepreneurial development centers, located within leading academic institutions in India. The Foundation announced the selection of five leading academic institutions in India to join the original center, the Wadhwani Center for Entrepreneurship Development at Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, as the founding partners of NEN. The five selected members are:

Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani
Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad (IIM-A)
Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay (IIT-B)
Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB), Bangalore
S P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai

The judges for selecting these institutions included: Rob Chernow, Sr. Vice President, Kauffman Foundation; Naina Lal Kidwai, Vice Chairperson & Managing Director, HSBC; Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder Chairperson & Managing director, Biocon; Sunil Bharati Mittal, Founder, Chairperson & Group Managing Director, Bharati Enterprises; Jerry Rao, founder and CEO of Mphasis; Harsh Mariwala, Chairperson & Managing director, Marico Industries; Howard H. Stevenson, Sr. Associate Dean & Professor, Harvard Business School; Romesh Wadhwani, Founder and CEO of Symphony Technology Group.

The Foundation sees entrepreneurs as critical drivers of economic growth, and entrepreneurship as an important tool for self-improvement. NEN is the Foundation's initiative to inspire, educate and support new entrepreneurs. Over the next five to ten years, NEN will grow into a network of 50 entrepreneurial development centers across India. Each center will perform research in entrepreneurship, and offer courses, skill-building exercises, networking activities, mentorship and company-starting help to aspiring entrepreneurs - talented and skilled individuals who seek to build high-growth organizations.

The Foundation has committed non-financial resources and a planning grant to each of the five institutes selected. The goal is for each partner to use the grant to develop a plan for a full-scale entrepreneurial development center, as well as run some entrepreneurial development activities. Based on the strength of the plans developed over the next year, each institution will be eligible for further funding of up to $1 million, spread over multiple years, to support the development of full-scale entrepreneurial development centers or programs.

In addition, the partners will work together to build a plan for NEN. The premise behind building a network is to allow partners to lever each others' resources to develop and offer programs and activities that, working individually, they would not be able to. Sharing resources and programs will allow the NEN partners to deliver more high-quality, innovative entrepreneurial development programs and activities in a shorter time, and on a larger scale.

NEN is off to a strong start with its founding member institutions. The partners have joined together because they believe this initiative is both timely, and will produce clear benefits for their students, faculty and institutions. Each institution will be able to offer enhanced programs and activities in entrepreneurial development to its community of students and faculty. And each is committed to making the investment required to bring about the success of NEN.

Speaking of this initiative, Laura Parkin, the Executive Director of the Foundation said, "NEN is one of the most ambitious and exciting endeavors being launched in entrepreneurial development today. We are delighted to work with such eminent institutions and Advisors to bring the dream of NEN into reality. However, all of us know that unless more successful entrepreneurs, financiers, industrialists and academic institutions join us, we will not realize the potential NEN has to become the most effective launch-pad for new entrepreneurs, world-wide. We have all chosen to work together to build NEN because we see the opportunity today in India to launch many more successful entrepreneurs. Since successful entrepreneurs create wealth for themselves and for society, we know that NEN's success, in the end, will benefit us all."

About Wadhwani Foundation
The Wadhwani Foundation's mission is to help individuals reach their full potential, regardless of background. The foundation invests in non-profit programs to accelerate entrepreneurship - a critical driver of growth and value creation. The foundation's efforts will inspire, educate and support entrepreneurs, and help create an environment in which individuals from all backgrounds can succeed. Founded and funded by Romesh Wadhwani, a serial entrepreneur and also currently the founder CEO of Symphony Technology Group, the Wadhwani Foundation is working to accelerate entrepreneurship in emerging economies.

What the NEN Founding Partners say
Dr. S. Venkateswaran - Director, BITS, said "NEN will bring different players on to a common platform to share a variety of experiences and cooperate with each other in propagating and promoting the culture of entrepreneurship. The NEN effort would go a long way in contributing to the growth of national economy." Dr. V S Rao, Deputy Director, and NEN Leader, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS, added "We are proud to join hands with the like-minded Wadhwani Foundation and other reputed Institutes to become part of NEN. The synergy of NEN will make possible the bigger dream of a country-wide movement of promoting entrepreneurial thinking across disciplines and cultures."

Prof. Bakul Dholakia - Director, IIM-A, said "The Centre for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship [CIIE] has been set up to undertake focused activities in the area of technology driven innovation and enterprise formation. The Centre aspires to known as an innovator in the 'process of incubation' using network relationships. Being part of NEN would go a long way in this endeavour." CIIE Chairperson and NEN leader at IIM-A, Prof. Rakesh Basant said "NEN membership would help us enhance the efficacy of all our activities. Access to industry, educational institutions and other network partners would get enhanced significantly. We can now undertake activities that are difficult to do on our own, be it research, training or incubation. NEN will also facilitate perfecting the network model of incubation."

Prof. Ashok Misra - Director, IIT Mumbai, said "We feel privileged to be working with the Wadhwani Foundation in this area as a founding member of NEN and hope to take entrepreneurship activities to greater heights at IIT Bombay." Prof. Suryanarayan, one of the NEN leaders at IIT-B added, "The National Entrepreneurship Network is a part of the larger vision of the Wadhwani Foundation that aims to generate a vibrant environment in India with increased awareness of opportunities and well-established mechanisms for the steady creation and growth of a large number of new enterprises. This is necessary, to make India occupy its rightful place in shaping the future of the world as a fair and just community of peoples, sharing equitably the fruits of progress. We at IIT Bombay are delighted to be a part of the NEN and contribute to this grand vision."

Dr. Gayatri Saberwal - NEN leader, IBAB Bangalore, said "The NEN initiative is very timely. The concept of this kind of a network is a very valuable one since useful partnerships can come up making use of the different locational and domain-expertise advantages of the partners."

Dr. M L Srikanth - Dean, SPJIMR, said, "We see our relationship with NEN enhancing the operationalising of our activities along all dimensions through collaboration with member institutions." Prof. M Suresh Rao, NEN Leader, SPJIMR, added "NEN can enable member institutions to 'scale and scope' up their entrepreneurship development program through collaboration, thus providing a wider set of students the opportunity to realize their entrepreneurial potential. The outcome can only be beneficial to the country through faster and broader based wealth and job creation."


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