It may not be the blinding revelation that is said to have hit Greek scientist Archimedes, but each year more of the world is saying, “Eureka!”
IIT Bombay’s annual business plan contest, which opened on September 1, is once again expected to attract a large number of foreigners, including students from top US universities such as Stanford and Brown.
Last year, 202 out of 2,174 entries to Eureka came from students and professionals living abroad. Most of them were of Indian origin, but that might change if IIT makes a more concerted effort to market the competition.
It has taken a step this year, when for the first time, it is offering mentoring workshops at the National University of Singapore, where experts will help students hone their business plans. Eureka accepts entries until February 2010.
“IIT is a very big brand in the US,” said Mukund Padmanabhan, who works for a media and financial company in New York and applied for Eureka last year. “Entrepreneurs of Indian origin predominantly power Silicon Valley. The world is increasingly focusing on developing economies.”
Although the contest is nine years old, it started getting foreign applicants four years ago.
The increase in prize money has, no doubt, helped. Its prize of $50,000 (about Rs 25 lakh) makes Eureka Asia’s largest B-plan contest and puts it in the same league as the world’s largest, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s B-plan contest, which offers $100,000 (about Rs 50 lakh).
In these nine years, Eureka has spawned 35 successful start-ups. “An investor is certain that the B-plan has been judged by the best and half his work is done,” said Dr. Amarnath, the faculty advisor for Eureka.