If you are thinking of starting a business or looking to develop an existing business, there may be a plethora of questions revolving in your mind related to obtaining licenses to start a business, marketing, securing loans etc. Discussing them with friends and family does help, but not always. Furthermore, you may lack social contacts in the field and seriously miss a mentor or a guide who can offer ‘tailor-made’ guidance. This is where Start-up Workshops come into the picture. These workshops organized by public as well as private players give an overview of the ins and outs of the start-up process and cover various facets of entrepreneurship such as opening a business, building and development of start up, marketing strategies, human resource management, finance and legal issues. Here are a few take-aways that a workshop can provide to a business start up. • Covering Basics: Start-up workshops generally cover all topics ranging from marketing to technology to HR to finances; everything of significance is discussed. Experts in the field give valuable insights and knowledge on a particular issue. There are workshops on taxation, Intellectual Property (IP), financial planning, law and insurance, installation and utilization of technology etc. • Networking: They are a great place to network. They help you to know and meet the right people who can open the right doors for you and your business. They also nurture collaborations and partnerships. • Mentorship: Many of the people who speak at these workshops are experts in their various chosen fields and can become your mentors. They can help you reduce mistakes, eliminate weaknesses from your business model, bring out your inner strengths and abilities and help you see the future clearly. • Funding: Investors looking out for smart business ideas or start ups frequent these workshops. It’s a good place for you to connect with the investing community. These contacts can help you access to the necessary finance or support when you have to raise funds for your business. • Talent Hunt: If you are on the lookout for like-minded people interested in joining your team as an employee/consultant and lend your start up the valuable expertise you so desperately seek, then such workshops can be an ideal place for you. Where to go for such Workshops? Here are a few indicative start-up workshops in India that operate with the objective of training and mentoring start ups, students and professionals. • iAccelerator (@IIMA) : India’s only accelerator program for internet and mobile start-ups, it helps entrepreneurs to get their ventures off to an early start. • BITS Spark : This initiative by BITS-Pilani is further divided into Spark Connect, Spark Mentors and Spark Angels to ramp up entrepreneurs and start-ups through on-campus and off-campus initiatives connect BITSian entrepreneurs and start-ups to highly experienced mentors for coaching and advice and fund high potential seed stage BITSian start-ups based in India, respectively. • The Hatch : The Hatch for Start-ups, a non-profit organization, is a pan-India accelerator, a business incubator, a pre-seed stage fund and a learning centre for aspiring entrepreneurs and start ups. • Startup Weekend : It is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. These startup weekends are held in many cities across India like Delhi, Hyderabad etc. Now that we have established that start-up workshops are indeed very useful and can be a one-stop destination for all your business start up needs, we also need to stress on the fact that unless you test the waters yourself, the advice and guidance are meaningless. Though it’s a blessing to learn from the mistakes of others, you need to commit your own mistakes to scale up your business. And also, don’t scamper off to a workshop at every small hurdle or challenge you face in your business start up, try proactively to understand the situation and handle it on your own.
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Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.