With the arrival of the U.S. Ambassador to India, Kenneth I. Juster, Nexus held its official launch ceremony on February 8th, 2018. Well over 100 of the top innovation ecosystem stakeholders in India were present to witness the official launch, presided over by the Ambassador.
The U.S. Embassy runs the Nexus Startup Hub in partnership with the IC² Institute of The University of Texas at Austin. Nexus operates as an innovation hub and a business incubator. As part of the innovation hub Nexus conducts training programs, workshops, and master classes for entrepreneurs and ecosystem partners, while as a business incubator Nexus conducts 10-week intensive pre-incubation training programs and offers long term incubation of eight months to a few selected startups. This two-phased approach to incubation helps in developing the ecosystem for a larger impact while helping individual startups to scale up and commercialize their technologies through the business incubator.
To date, Nexus has received applications from well over 415 startups for its pre-incubation program while 20 selected startups have completed Nexus’ intensive 10-week pre-incubation program.
At the launch, Ambassador Juster also announced two new Nexus initiatives for 2018 – special mentoring and training for women entrepreneurs through the Aspiring Women program and extension of the Nexus hub concept to neighboring countries through the South Asia Connect program. “The American Center and the IC² Institute of the University of Texas, through Nexus and South Asia Connect, will help foster an increasingly dynamic, integrated, and innovative startup ecosystem across the region,” Juster said.
South Asia Connect Program
The South Asia Connect program was launched to boost regional cooperation by building entrepreneurial capabilities among startups from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Leaders of entrepreneurship organizations and entrepreneurs will receive training at the Nexus Startup Hub to access markets, build connections and increase intra-regional business activities.
Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs Program
With additional funding from the U.S. Department of State for a special pilot program called Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs, Nexus is reaching out to female university students throughout India to identify young women with entrepreneurial ideas. The program will provide training in both India and the United States to selected women, with practical tips and mentoring on how to launch sustainable businesses. Ambassador Juster acknowledged this program as furthering the spirit of the recent Global Entrepreneurship summit in Hyderabad with the theme ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’.
“An advantage of the hub concept is that Nexus can be a home for a variety of cooperating programs with different audiences and strategies, all with the common aim of strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem in India and South Asia” said the director of Nexus, Erik Azulay.
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