Deshpande Foundation has joined forces with Microsoft Ventures in India. As per the partnership they will be launching Sandbox Startups, an incubator focused on nurturing startups in tier two and three cities of India. This is a three year partnership and was made official by signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Speaking about partnership, 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 this 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.”
On the other hand, Rajinish Menon, Director, Microsoft Ventures in India, 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. At Microsoft, we are extremely excited to help incubators roll out products and raise capital to fund their growth, eventually benefiting India’s budding entrepreneurial ecosystem. And this specific endeavor is aimed at entrepreneurs from smaller towns which have a less mature ecosystem to nurture them. Startups can call Microsoft’s Jumpstart hotline on 1800 2002114 to know more about the program and how to be a part of it.”
Through this association the foundation aims to strengthen 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, moving them to the next level by providing them an opportunity to get exposed to high end technology, get trained and mentored by professionals. Both Microsoft Ventures and Deshpande Foundation will play a significant role to mentor the startups under this incubator.