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Microsoft Ventures, Deshpande Foundation to launch Sandbox Startups

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Deshpande Foundation and Microsoft Ventures in India has announced a partnership to launch Sandbox Startups, an incubator focused on nurturing startups in tier two and three cities of India.

The three-year collaboration was formalised with he signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last week in the presence of Dr Gururaj Desh Deshpande, Founder – Deshpande Foundation, Jairam Ramesh, former Minister, Rajinish Menon, Director – Microsoft Ventures in India, Naveen Jha, CEO – Deshpande Foundation, Phanindra Sama, CEO – Redbus.in and other industry leaders.

Naveen Jha, CEO – Deshpande Foundation, said: “Unlike tier one cities, most small cities lack adequate support system to nurture startups. Consequently, startups and startup potentials in these region do not have access to requisite training, mentoring and a sandbag to try out their entrepreneurial stints. Sandbox Startups is aimed at providing a launch pad for  aspiring entrepreneurs in tier two and three cities so that they can validate their business ideas, sharpen  business acumen, develop products and launch solutions to the market. Innovations by startups groomed under the program will add vibrancy to the ecosystem from those at the bottom of the pyramid.”

“The objective of this partnership is to work in an inclusive manner to ensure that all relevant stakeholders, such as early stage entrepreneurs, academia, students, the venture capital community, mentors, advisors, high-net-worth individuals and corporates, are active participants in the innovation ecosystem,” he added.

Rajinish Menon, Director – Microsoft Ventures, said: “Indian startups from across the country are building products that are addressing global and local challenges. As the culture of innovation spreads, it’s fascinating to see the kind of problems that startups from smaller towns are trying to solve. Our partnership with Deshpande Foundation aims to engage with entrepreneurs from smaller towns at every stage of their journey from ideation to maturity. ”

Deshpande Foundation in India actively nurtures innovation and entrepreneurship through various programs in its three sandbox regions – North Karnataka, Nizamabad in Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. Partnering with Microsoft Ventures is a key step to support and nurture incubators.

Imparting relevant skills is also essential for the students and entrepreneurs to succeed. Through this partnership, Deshpande Foundation is also launching a new skill development program to ensure that the students and entrepreneurs have access to cutting edge technology training.

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