This May, Jindal Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship (JSiE) hosted the latest cohort of entrepreneurs participating in the Tibetan Entrepreneurship Development Initiative (TEDi), a residential pre-incubation programme sponsored by the Central Tibetan Administration. Six aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs stayed on the JGU campus for five weeks while participating in an intensive programme of workshops and receiving individual mentoring. JSiE team members Jeremy Wade, Founding Director, JSiE, and Isabel Salovaara, Senior Research Associate and Assistant Director, JSiE, along with JGU students and faculty, worked with the entrepreneurs to refine their business ideas and venture pitch.
TEDi is an initiative of the Social and Resource Development Fund under the Department of Finance, Central Tibetan Administration. It seeks to orient Tibetan entrepreneurs and businesses toward becoming competitive, sustainable and impact-oriented. TEDi aims to convert high-potential business ideas into successful ventures as well as to support existing businesses’ expansion and sustainability. In doing so, the initiative envisions transforming the Tibetan community in India through increased participation in global opportunities and improved economic well-being. JSiE is the incubation partner for the TEDi programme and has provided residential pre-incubation training for the past three years.
Entrepreneurs brainstorm how their businesses could contribute at a session on the Sustainable Development Goals during the Tibetan Entrepreneurship Development Initiative, a residential pre-incubation programme hosted by the Jindal Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship and sponsored by the Central Tibetan Administration.
This year, the entrepreneurs’ business ideas ranged from mushroom cultivation and graphic design to travel services, e-commerce and software development. In addition to building their business, many entrepreneurs sought to create tangible changes in their communities. For Mr. Tamding Kyab, the co-founder of an IT company seeking to develop a low-cost point of sale (PoS) system, helping Tibetan seasonal business owners is one major aim. “Income of 70% of Tibetans in exile is based on seasonal business. However, they are struggling with developing their business strategies. Thus we want to help seasonal business owners to overcome that issue...with our PoS system,” he said.
JGU faculty and students from across the schools, as well as guest speakers from the legal and finance fields, contributed to the programme by holding instructional sessions. Student volunteers led by Shine Varghese (JGLS 2015) coordinated orientation activities and organised a field visit to local dhabas to analyse and compare branding strategies. JGU’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Mr. Amit Lahiri; JGBS faculty members Dr. Renu Emile and Ms. Jasmine Hsu; Mr. Yash Aggarwal of the Jindal Initiative on Research in IP and Competition (JIRICO); and JGLS student Anish Krishnan held interactive sessions on topics such as pitching a venture, product development, marketing and digital tools for business. Members of JGU’s Legal Entrepreneurship Cell (LEC) guided the entrepreneurs through the legal pitfalls of setting up a company, while JSiE worked with participants throughout the programme to incorporate their learning into a business plan.
Mr. Tsering Lhachok, who is developing a marketplace for Tibetan products, said: “I really like the learning atmosphere here at Jindal. The instructors are very helpful and approachable.” Mr. Kalsang Dhondup, an entrepreneur from the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe outside of Bangalore, said of the experience: “I came here with a mere business idea. The JSiE team showered us with great experiences and exposures with the guidance from excellent mentors on various aspects to develop an absolute business plan!”
TEDi participants use the Business Model Canvas to develop their venture plans.