Amit Grover's start-up, Nurture Talent Academy, is a barebones set-up. Grover is the lord, master and only employee of his company. He operates out of a friend's office in suburban Mumbai. And the academy itself is just five months old.
Yet, the idea of an academy to train budding entrepreneurs in matters varying from how to raise funds to the nittygritty of setting up a company, seems to make a lot of sense, if not a compelling business proposition.
"I have noticed that people who come up with great entrepreneurial ideas often don't know how much funding they need, how to draft a business plan, or even whether to set up a company or a proprietorship," says Grover. (If you are in a hurry, opt for a proprietorship because setting up a company requires approvals and could take weeks. Grover's own academy is a proprietorship for now.)
Grover conducts day-long courses, priced at Rs 950, on topics like marketing for entrepreneurs, finance and valuations, etc. And, what are his unique qualifications for training entrepreneurs? Grover, 31, has had plenty of net practice training entrepreneurs.
An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and Indian Institute of Management, Indore, Grover worked for Infosys and Asian Paints before joining Onida in 2006, where he reported to Chairman Gulu Mirchandani. In late 2006, Mirchandani's son Sasha was setting up Mumbai Angels, an angel investing and mentoring forum. Grover signed up as a volunteer.
"I had two jobs, back then," jokes Grover. "I had a 9-6 job at Onida and a 6-9 job at Mumbai Angels," he recalls. Every evening, Grover would meet an entrepreneur, chomp pizza and run over business plans, at a Dominos outlet near the Onida office. "In those three years, I met 500 entrepreneurs and vetted a thousand business plans," says Grover.
After three years of mentoring entrepreneurs as a volunteer, Grover decided to do the same in a more "organised manner". On the last day of 2009, Grover quit Onida and started the academy. "I dipped into my savings and have broken even," he says.
Grover, who has conducted 12 workshops and trained 180 people so far, usually gets a successful entrepreneur and a venture capitalist to sit in. Says a Mumbai-based VC: "It's an interesting idea. On an average, one in every 150 presentations I see is in actionable shape. A training academy like this should do some good even though it would have to target colleges and institutions to make serious money."
And, that's something Grover is already working on.
FOCUS: Training entrepreneurs
FUNDING: Yet to get any
BUSINESS: 180 people trained
BIGGEST RISK: Inability to attract attention to brand or offering
THE BEST ADVICE I GOT: Do quick experiments, if you fail, there's not much to lose