|Nurture Talent Academy is India’s first entrepreneur training institute. Founder, Amit Grover, believes that entrepreneurs are the key to the development of any economy, and that they, like everyone else, can be trained
By Atul Magoon
“Back then I had two jobs. One with Onida between 9am and 6pm, followed by my evening shift at Mumbai Angels,” recalls Amit. Every evening, Amit would meet an entrepreneur and run over business plans at a Dominos outlet near his Onida office. “In those three years, I met 500 entrepreneurs and vetted a thousand business plans,” he says. At Mumbai Angels, his job was essentially mentoring, consulting, questioning business models, helping entrepreneurs with investment or business related queries. “The majority of those I met were good in one or two aspects of business, for instance, good at finance but bad at marketing, or had general lack of business planning skills. No entrepreneur can succeed with limited skill sets, but need various skills and complete knowledge of business. By providing little guidance, they can be transformed into brilliant entrepreneurs. I realised it was time for me to provide that support, which led to the formation of Nurture Talent Academy, India’s first institute for training entrepreneurs,” says Amit. He quit his high paying job at Onida to embark on the journey of entrepreneurship, which he says has been adventurous and rewarding.
Amit explains, “We conduct weekend workshops for a batch of 15-20 people each. The workshop topics are related to entrepreneurship, for example, Finance for Entrepreneurs, Marketing for Entrepreneurs, Plan for Entrepreneurs. We charge a participation fee of Rs 2000-3000. We also offer online seminars for entrepreneurs who might not be able to attend live workshops. We are now serving many colleges to train the youth for entrepreneurship. The program includes a presentation, an excel workbook, interaction with experts (mix of investors and entrepreneurs) and Q&A sessions. These workshops focus on interaction between entrepreneurs and helping them solve their problems. We further expect these participants to start their ventures, grow their revenues, receive funding, and hire winning teams.”
Intially, Amit was the CEO, brand ambassador, receptionist, cleaner and the only employee of the company. Amit, alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIM Indore, founded Nurture Talent and was the force behind it for over a year. Recently, the company has expanded to include president and marketing officer with qualifications from institutes of repute.
There are more than 150 mentors (established entrepreneurs, presidents and executives from various MNCs) located in major cities who are affiliated with Nurture Talent and provide much needed direction and mentorship to budding entrepreneurs.
Challenges and funding
When an entrepreneur embarks on his journey, there are various challenges, including harder aspects like finance and team while softer aspects include family and society. Amit says, “When I started Nurture Talent Academy, my mother told me – if you need money, then we can take a loan against our property. That was enough inspiration for me. I used my salary savings and provident funds to start my business and shortly it turned profitable.”
“Marketing is like riding a bicycle – if you stop pedalling, you fall down,” says Amit. In the early days, Nurture Talent made a few mistakes by launching a high-priced, long-duration course, and quickly realised that budding entrepreneurs need low-priced, short-duration programs. Marketing for a start-up is all about finding the next customer, and various ways of getting them are networking, partners, low-cost media, word-of-mouth and references.
Entrepreneurship training and development is a new concept. There are large institutions like EDI, Ahmedabad which offer a degree program on entrepreneurship. Nurture Talent Academy carved its niche by offering a short-duration program (1-day workshops) and online webinars. “It is such a niche domain that we really need at least 50 companies like Nurture Talent Academy,” he adds.
“Started in January, 2010, with the objective of training and mentoring start-ups, students and professionals, we have conducted 77 workshops, across 25 cities attended by 1400 participants. The future objective is to enable 1000 ventures to start in next 3-5 years, which will generate 20,000 jobs. We would like to conduct more workshops across leading colleges across India to attract the next generation of students to entrepreneurship,” he says.