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Duke, Duchess of Cambridge launch start-up awards in Mumbai

Mumbai : The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched the Tech Rocketship Awards 2016-17 at a GREAT for Collaboration event for young entrepreneurs. The awards aim to identify and support some of India’s best and brightest start-ups, helping them to grow and internationalise their businesses.

Now in its third year, the Tech Rocketship Awards – an initiative by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in India – provides top Indian start-ups with expert business advice and support from leading professional services companies in the UK. This year the competition gets bigger and better: the ten most promising start-ups from the competition will win a week-long business trip to the UK. There they will meet venture capitalists, experienced industry leaders and entrepreneurs who will provide them with guidance on how to establish a firm footing abroad – starting with the UK.

At the official launch of the Tech Rocketship awards, Kumar Iyer, British Deputy High Commissioner Mumbai and Director General of UK Trade and Investment in India said:

“We are delighted to have the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launch the Tech Rocketship Awards today. We’re looking for the next batch of leading Indian entrepreneurs that will probably change the world through their technology. Some of the young entrepreneurs Their Royal Highnesses met today already have some truly amazing innovations.

At the awards launch The Duke and Duchess were highly impressed by the ideas, innovations and energy of all the young entrepreneurs they interacted with. The Duke and Duchess tried out a few letters on a Braille learning machine designed by Sanskriti Dawle, co-founder of Project Mudra and a winner of Tech Rocketship Awards. They were invited to view and try out a simulator of a Mahindra Formula E racing car, an example of UK-India technology collaboration. They also met Chris Sheldrick, Founder of What3Words, who partner with Indian social enterprise Pollinate to bring lighting to less privileged areas in Indian cities.

The launch of the awards by Their Royal Highnesses was followed by a pitching session where four young entrepreneurs showcased their innovations to a panel comprised of business leaders and icons of the entrepreneurial world. The panellists were Anand Mahindra; T.V. Mohandas Pai, of Aarin Capital; Saurabh Srivastava of the Indian Angel Network and young entrepreneur Shradha Sharma of YourStory a leading tech media platform. The event was hosted by Social, a hub for innovators and entrepreneurs during the day and a restaurant in the evening.

Mr. Mahindra said: “The UK is a hotbed of technology and we need to deploy that know-how in India. The Tech Rocketship Awards is exactly the platform that can give young Indian entrepreneurs access to the UK’s prowess in this sphere. Mahindra group drives various initiatives to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship both within and outside Mahindra and we are creating a start-up ecosystem that allows it to leverage its strengths and create value for entrepreneurs. I am looking forward to judging the entries for the competition this year.”

The awards are a GREAT for Collaboration initiative, aiming to link up fast growing Indian companies with potential UK Venture Capital and finance opportunities. The launch coincides with a delegation of UK Venture Capitalists to India.

Applications are open to entrepreneurs under 40 in India who have been operating a company created from the year 2000 onwards. One winner will be selected from each of five categories – Cleantech, EdTech, Fintech, Medtech and smart manufacturing – and a further five winners will be selected in the ‘Judges Awards’ section, from any sector. The winners will be announced at the -UK-India Technology Summit in New Delhi, in November 2016.

The UK provides an excellent platform for Indian companies to grow their businesses overseas, with world leading financial and professional services and a burgeoning technology sector. (ANI)