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US boost for biz ideas

Calcutta: Young entrepreneurs from Bengal will soon have the opportunity to make their business plans and businesses more viable, thanks to the Y4BIZ (Youth for Business) programme launched by the US consulate general, Calcutta, and Contact Base (Banglanatok dot com) on Tuesday.

The programme, which will also be open to entrepreneurs from Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand, aims to identify more than 50 young emerging and early-stage entrepreneurs and help them turn their business ideas into sustainable, scalable business models.

"The US is India's largest trading partner, but from a US perspective the relationship is still very small.... We believe looking ahead to the future, new business, new opportunities, new wealth will be increased not as much by developing old business, but by developing new business. Which is why this programme is focused on developing entrepreneurship and innovation," said Craig Hall, US consul-general.

Applications for the Y4BIZ programme can be sent to www.y4biz.com. Two sets of judges will screen the entries and shortlist 65 business ideas. The shortlist will be announced in January 2018. The selected candidates will then participate in an online capacity-building programme by IC2 Institute, University of Texas, Austin, followed by a boot camp and mentoring programme in April-August 2018.

"The boot camp will be an intense training with investors, presentation experts, consultants and more. We will identify some industry experts as mentors," said Suman Mukhopadhyay, director, Banglanatok dot com.

The top 10 business plans will be chosen in September by judges, mainly investors. "We want to present them in front of investors so that some may even be picked up by them and made more viable," Mukhopadhyay said. Three of the entrepreneurs will be incubated at Nexus Startup Hub at the American Center in New Delhi. "The top three who meet our criteria will be made a part of Nexus, where we do not focus on funders, but training in best global practices, which makes them attractive to investors," said Rajneesh Kumar, director, Nexus.

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