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Subhash Chandra Foundation Launches the ‘Esselerator’ Program to Mentor Indian Startups

To commemorate 90 years of Essel Group, Rs. 5000 crore of his family wealth has been pledged; the program targets early and growth stage startups and even AI,ML startups in the media and entertainment sector.


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With a firm commitment towards capacity building of the nation, Rajya Sabha MP, Shri Subhash Chandra had launched the Subhash Chandra Foundation to commemorate 90 years of Essel Group and had pledged Rs. 5000 crore of his family wealth towards philanthropic initiatives of the Foundation. Today, the Subhash Chandra Foundation announced the launch of its first-of-its kind initiative – the ‘Esselerator’ program to identify and mentor entrepreneurs. The program has been launched in association with the Essel Group, one of India’s largest diversified business conglomerates, and will be powered by TiE Mumbai, a non-profit global community.

The program has been launched to identify and mentor entrepreneurs across startups in the fields of media and entertainment, mediatech and edtech. Driven by a desire of #LetsFuelIdeas, the program aims to co-develop and nurture ‘early and growth stage startups’ that have the potential to grow into successful companies in the future.

Commenting on the launch, Shri Subhash Chandra, Rajya Sabha MP and Chairman of Essel Group said, “Essel Group’s journey of 90 years has been marked by a series of milestones, which have been driven by a pioneering vision and an undying entrepreneurial spirit. As we move ahead in this journey, our aim is to carry forward the entrepreneurial legacy of the Group and with this objective in mind, we had launched the Subhash Chandra Foundation earlier this year to help budding entrepreneurs and educationists, by not just providing them with funds but by creating a chain model.

Under the aegis of the Subhash Chandra Foundation and in partnership with TiE Mumbai, we are proud to launch our initiative – the ‘Esselerator’ program which promises to identify and groom the next generation of thinkers and innovators, who through their unique business models will play a significant role in building the capacity of the nation.”

Amit Goenka, CEO of international broadcast business, ZEEL said, “The ‘Esselerator’ program has been launched keeping in mind, Shri Chandra’s vision to nurture and grow entrepreneurs and create capacity for the nation through business models that will bring about change, increase effectiveness and provide growth opportunities. The focus of the ‘Esselerator’ on media, entertainment and education is at the heart of Essel’s business and leadership in these sectors.”

Anand Desai, president of TiE Mumbai and managing partner, DSK Legal, said “The media and entertainment space is highly fragmented and entrepreneurs face a number of challenges. This is a positive step towards nurturing the start-up ecosystem by getting corporates involved. The Subhash Chandra Foundation along with Essel Group’s focus on mediatech and edtech is the need of the hour. Through this partnership with TiE, the Esselerator program will allow us to create a more mature ecosystem.”

With the expertise of the Essel Group and the vision of the Subhash Chandra Foundation, the program aims to give the founding teams access to Essel resources, networks and platforms to test and grow their start-ups into viable businesses. The selected teams will be mentored by the eminent leadership of Essel Group including Shri Subhash Chandra, the chief mentor; Punit Goenka, MD and CEO of ZEEL, and Amit Goenka, CEO of International Broadcast Business for ZEEL, and senior management of Essel Group, along with Industry experts from different fields.

The shortlisted teams will benefit from comprehensive knowledge and guidance from the best minds in the industry, and training across technology, consumer insights, fund raising and social media tools. Along with TiE Mumbai’s strong mentorship and global network, startups passing through the Esselerator program will benefit tremendously.

The program will allow early and growth stage startups to apply into the program and go through a selection process through a panel of experts. Startups involved in IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Cognitive Computing, Virtual/ Augmented Reality and Blockchain, and willing to look at business opportunities in the media and entertainment or education space, can also apply.

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