iCreate (International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology), an autonomous institution is set up to identify, nurture and mentor the spirit of budding entrepreneurship and innovation. It provides upcoming start-ups with all the assistance right from ideation to prototype development to go to market strategy for the final product. It is a world-class centre for excellence in Entrepreneurship and Technology with top infrastructure facilities.
iCreate’s mission is to facilitate innovative and imaginative minds in their entrepreneurial journey. At iCreate, we support young entrepreneurs to prepare themselves to overcome business and market challenges and face the global competition to generate wealth while creating employment opportunities.
Formed under the aegis of Gujarat Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence (GFEE), iCreate is a joint venture between Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Limited (GMDC) and Gujarat Entrepreneurship and Venture Promotion Foundation (GEVPF). To guide and mentor budding entrepreneurs, iCreate has an advisory board chaired by Shri N.R. Narayana Murthy and other eminent personalities from academia and industry.
As the world offers opportunities to gain more knowledge, new possibilities have emerged leading people with access and means to leverage technology and knowledge to aspire for higher goals. The recent technological prowess has enabled people to think larger than life. Monetary aid and support, once a major limitation, has now been eliminated with the availability of angel and venture funding boosting confidence of people with good ideas, sound knowledge and basic business sense. This has led to the rise of the next-gen techno-entrepreneurship that leverages technology and knowledge with the necessary financial support to cater to unmet as well as new needs.
Engagement and participation throughout the entrepreneurial journey is at the core of iCreate’s model. It is designed to enable iCreate’s mentors to become partners to the participants instead of just being third-party facilitators. All participants and entrepreneurs who want to get incubated at iCreate need to undergo a paid grooming program. Upon selection of the project for incubation, all direct and indirect project costs including sustenance allowance paid are charged to the project. All these project costs are converted to debt when the project eventually becomes a start-up. Additionally, iCreate also buys equity in the newly formed start-up.
iCreate’s model, scope, scale and approach differentiate it from other institutions. Its scope covers schools, colleges, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, social entrepreneurs, MSMEs and high-growth companies. iCreate’s holistic approach nurtures and incubates projects by participating throughout the entrepreneurial journey. iCreate’s aim is to help participants navigate challenges in the pursuit of their entrepreneurial journey by developing innovative applications for wealth creation, employment generation and global enterprise.
iCreate campus is spread across 40 acres in the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The campus is self-contained with all the necessary facilities for nurturing the budding next generation of entrepreneurs.
iCreate offers multiple diverse activities through on-campus as well as Reach-Out programs for students from schools and colleges who are passionate about becoming successful entrepreneurs. Similarly, there are activities for aspiring/existing entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs who have an idea/project or specific domain interest with/without a firm idea as well as for existing small and medium sized organizations with high growth potential.
iCreate offers manifold and far-reaching benefits through a rich pool of intellectual capital with a high level of global connectivity and affiliations. It offers some of the best programs, events, forums, special interest groups, networking with the who’s who of the industry as well as mentoring programs for all participants. With access to mentors, money and market, iCreate is a one-stop-shop to provide end-to-end solutions for budding entrepreneurs.
Understanding the importance and critical aspects of the business, iCreate respects each and every idea along with the intellectual property rights associated with it. Therefore, it has designed an elaborate system of non-disclosure agreements for all the projects that get incubated at iCreate. It is also in the interest of iCreate to help entrepreneurs protect their ideas, projects and trade secrets as iCreate’s success if interlinked with its members’ success.
Currently, iCreate’s Bavla Campus is fully operational. This campus is spread over 40 acres fosters a sprawling entrepreneurial ecosystem. The first batch of grooming program which included participants from India, US, UK, and Singapore with experience ranging from 2 to 20 years has been successfully concluded. Four out of the six incubation proposals from this batch have been selected for incubation at iCreate. Of these incubated projects, two are existing companies (one scale-up) and the other two are new start-ups with projects ranging from social entrepreneurship, ICT, medical devices, and gaming. Since its inception, multiple Seminars, Reach-Out programs, Networking events, etc. for students as well as aspiring entrepreneurs have been successfully organized at this campus.
Right knowledge of technology, customers, markets and other crucial aspects pertaining to your field of interest, can make you a possible candidate for entrepreneurship. Additionally, your passion and dedication for bringing your innovative ideas to life lays the foundation for your journey of becoming an entrepreneur.
The right time for you to begin your entrepreneurial journey depends on your judgement of your knowledge and experience base. For some, this could be right after graduation, for others it may be after a few years of work experience, for some it may be later in life when they know the markets and are in a position to entertain risks. However, it is suggested that once you have an apt knowledge base, the sooner you venture, the more time you would get for incubation.
A very specific idea is not needed, but you must have a framework of what you wish to pursue in your area of interest. At iCreate, it is our responsibility to help the most basic idea through grooming. The grooming programs are developed to help budding entrepreneurs like yourself develop ideas and bring them to life. However, having a specific idea does provide a head start.
A ready business plan could be evaluated within the first 10 weeks of the grooming phase. You could undergo concurrent grooming and incubation if your business plan and incubation proposal gets selected. Usually, about two thirds of the time is spent in grooming and the remaining third in incubation. This enables you to kick start your project by securing project funding.
You need to bring in promoters capital once the incubation period is over. Though such start-up capital as a committed investment is necessary to start a new enterprise, special loan and grant applications may be considered by the advisory panel in certain exceptional cases.
You will have to fill the application/enrolment form once it is available on iCreate’s website and send it to us in the requisite manner for screening. Post screening of all the applications, short-listed candidates are required to undergo a written test and an interview at Ahmedabad on the same day. The written test examines general knowledge and aptitude, emotional quotient, adversity quotient, and gauges your understanding of technology and business. The interview conducted by a diverse panel in an informal setting assesses your ability, keenness and resilience to pursue this techno-entrepreneurial journey. The final selection is based on the assessment of your performance in both the written test as well as the interview. Please check iCreate website at regular intervals for program dates and specific enrolment/admission procedures.
One of the most important strengths of an entrepreneur is that they don’t mind taking risks but at the same time they are masters at not inviting risks either. Entrepreneurs are focused and think hard to understand what can possibly go wrong in their journey and build mitigation strategies against such possibilities. While this approach does not eliminate any unknowns, nor provide an ability to think through all the unknowns, such a prepared mindset helps navigate situations with a lot more ease and composure. Generally, techno-entrepreneurship involves 18 to 36 months of "difficult" times, followed by a year or two of "demanding" times before you get time to breathe and look back. The upside of the first 18 to 36 months is that you are able to build a convincing case for securing finances required to build and grow your venture, and then you are on your way to building your first company. The downside is that your efforts could fail to build a solid "value proposition" either due to technology failure, market failure, competition or changes in the operating environment. But entrepreneurs do not get bogged down by such failures, instead they learn from their failures and continue moving ahead in their journey to succeed.
One way to evaluate this is as follows: For most capable people with marketable skills, going back to employment is always possible. What you may have lost is perhaps the time - but this, you would have exchanged for a very rich experience, which would enhance your productivity and hence marketability if you were to re-visit the employment option.
Successful entrepreneurs pursue the path they believe in, irrespective of the difficulties. Their persistence and determination are what sets them apart from others. They build resilient mitigating plans and identify missing elements to line up needed resources. iCreate is conceived and designed to help techno-entrepreneurs in their journey on both these fronts. While any techno-entrepreneurship involves risks, iCreate helps change the odds in your favor. At iCreate, each participant is provided with expert guidance by a strong team with end to end solutions that ensure you get the best possible shot at fulfilling your dream.
Individuals from non-technical backgrounds are encouraged to apply though most of the participants are expected to have the knowledge and/or experience in technology/engineering. Therefore, having a fair understanding of technology business is beneficial irrespective of your background. iCreate has a multi-dimensional batch consisting of individuals from various backgrounds to build mutually complementary teams. Hence, the participants are expected to have a strong entrepreneurial drive and a fair amount of liking for the technology business.
If you feel that you have moved beyond the stage of a student of entrepreneurship and need more specialized guidance, then please see FAQs for existing/potential entrepreneurs.
iCreate provides complete exposure to individuals with technical knowledge and business aptitude to begin their techno-entrepreneurial journey. Thus, iCreate’s grooming program helps you gain the required knowledge about marketing, finance, HR, technology trends and product design. This knowledge is provided from a start-up entrepreneur’s perspective rather than existing large corporate perspective. This helps in identifying all the missing links in your pursuit of becoming a techno-entrepreneur.
Having a business or innovative idea is not a prerequisite for joining. iCreate's grooming program proposes to impart knowledge that will enable you to identify fertile ground and spot good opportunities within the chosen space, consistent with the context of emerging socio-eco-techno scenarios. This helps you evaluate ideas in your area of expertise.
Yes. Like they say, "A ship is safe in harbour, but that's not what ships are for". The journey of a techno-entrepreneur is tough and it takes a lot of confidence, efforts and self-belief to explore new shores. It requires one to move away from the comfort zone. Long work hours, keeping the purse strings tight, constantly motivating employees and paying them well, nurturing patience as a virtue, being receptive to both bouquets and brickbats - would all be the order of the day. It is the fire in the belly and passion to excel, which keeps one going, despite the odds. At the end of the day, it's all worth it.
The project could be a product or a service-oriented one. As long as it leverages technology and innovations, is scalable and has the potential to generate large scale wealth on a sustained basis, iCreate will provide the right environment to succeed.
In today’s competitive world, it is indeed undeniable that innovative and breakthrough products garner huge response and win accolades across the market and stakeholders. It doesn't mean that other products are redundant. iCreate is not essentially looking at a typical "research and development" project. There are multiple possibilities to leverage existing technologies to develop commercially viable products or services that expand markets and offer ample growth opportunities. It is hence important to pursue such ideas with enough potential to break new grounds, even without breakthrough products and services.
The grooming program is essential for the overall development of the participants. It not only helps in overall presentation but hones the crucial qualities such as team spirit, evaluating ideas, etc. . It is a small investment of time to ensure long-term returns for you as well as for us. There are exceptions where we remain flexible for project teams who seek new members to join them and add value to their projects. In such situations, enrolling for the grooming program is encouraged, but not mandatory for such late entrants.
iCreate’s grooming program is aimed at creating an entrepreneurial mindset rather than a managerial one. While several modules may seemingly sound like those covered in an MBA program, it is important to note that the material used and the manner of conduct is vastly different. Also, exposure to various ways of ideation and opportunities to form teams is a part of our entrepreneurial environment.
The selection of a business plan/incubation proposal as well as the individual or team (as the case may be) rests with an independent panel. While the onus to make a deserving case lies with you (and the team), the grooming phase would have ironed out a lot of unknowns and hence the chances of making it to the incubator are reasonably good, although not guaranteed. You do have multiple chances with modified existing ideas/projects or a new one.
iCreate is not a venture capitalist. The funding support iCreate plans to provide will be early seed funding to kick start the journey from idea to proof-of-concept.
iCreate proposes to build global connects with specific industry segments. iCreate can benefit existing companies with high growth by providing access to new innovations in the relevant industry, and special training sessions for middle management to gear up for higher growth potential. It also proposes to assist with capital mobilisation for enhancing growth. Furthermore, iCreate can provide unique networking opportunities to increase the reach of existing business and facilitate entrepreneurial pursuits. It can help you connect with peer groups to share and encourage new perspectives in existing projects. iCreate enables an existing organisation to adopt a global outlook in approach and management by propelling latent talent to succeed with "out-of-the-box" thinking.
iCreate supports organisations by providing access to mentors, venture capitalists and creation of project reports for expansion and scale-up. It also helps in creating a network between successful organisations and stimulate growth with a supportive environment.
iCreate works with few (5 to 10) promising companies at a time representing diverse areas where it can add value. Standard procedures will be put up on iCreate’s website and an experienced advisory panel will screen applications from organisations that wish to qualify for the scale-up program. It is advised that the website is checked at regular intervals for more specific details.
iCreate works to create a pool of quality next generation entrepreneurs. This would be of great interest to any angel investor or a venture capitalist like you, as your "due diligence" process is greatly simplified because iCreate provides a ready source of known entrepreneurs with the right mindset and decent business plans with some track record. Thus, iCreate will have strong relationships with many angel investors and venture capitalist firms as well as private equity players. Early association with iCreate, its projects and individuals, makes the transition smooth for all involved. iCreate is determined to make special efforts to develop such relationships with many parties. If this appeals to you, we urge you to get in touch with us.
Social enterprises need entrepreneurial acumen to be globally effective. Such organisations can depute their selected people to undergo either standard grooming phase with others or (when possible) a specially targeted grooming phase for social entrepreneurs.
The Centre will impart necessary business skills to the participants from the entrepreneurial perspective with social sensitivities in its grooming programs
Changing environment reiterating the need and importance of quick and reliable technology solutions in accordance with local needs.