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Cornell University, Maharashtra government launch social impact accelerator program for marginalised entrepreneurs


MUMBAI: The government of Maharashtra has partnered with New York-based Cornell University to launch a social impact accelerator program for marginalised entrepreneurs.

The industries department government of Maharashtra has confirmed the establishment of an incubation centre (business accelerator) for three academic years on an experimental basis to train 60 entrepreneurs. The candidates will be fully sponsored by the Maharashtra government and will be awarded a certificate from Cornell for successful completion.

Announcing the launch of the business accelerator centre Cornell Maha 60, Development Commissioner (Industries) Government of Maharashtra Harshadeep Kamble spoke about the importance of business mentorship and international exposure to budding entrepreneurs. “Cornell Maha 60 is designed to bridge the gap between their existing entrepreneurial skills and the demands of the contemporary start-up ecosystem. The budding young entrepreneurs of Maharashtra have tremendous potential and talent. This is a very special business accelerator programme, first of its kind in India and first for Cornell University outside US. This Cornell Maha 60 platform will help nurture innovation, lateral thinking and future-ready business skills to build the next generation of entrepreneurs in Maharashtra and inspire many others to follow,” Kamble said.

This program will be facilitated by professors from Cornell and other global faculty. The Maharashtra government will enter into an agreement with Cornell University and XED (Asia Partner for Cornell). The business accelerator program is in line with Maharashtra State Innovative Startup Policy 2018, according to a statement shared with ET.

A similar business accelerator program Rev: Ithaca Startup Works has been created in a partnership between Cornell University Ithaca and Tompkins-Cortland Community.

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“Close on the heels of the success of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, Cornell University and their Asia business partner XED are keen to replicate the model with Cornell Maha 60,” according to the statement. The program aims to bring together 60 entrepreneurs from across Maharashtra to accelerate their growth by imparting them business mentorship, startup resources acumen, access to capital and a thriving ecosystem of leaders.

“We are keen to build on the entrepreneurial culture in Maharashtra. Cornell Maha 60 will offer learning opportunities to the marginalised sections of the society. The overarching theme is to foster entrepreneurs in the social arena for a greater social impact,” said John Kallelil, Executive Director, XED, a provider of customised executive education in India, Middle East and SouthEast Asia.

The business accelerator program is custom-designed by XED and Cornell University for social entrepreneurs in Maharashtra. In a year-long programme, candidates will undergo rigorous training that includes classroom sessions, live online classes led by Cornell faculty and subject matter experts. Candidates will also have access to personalised mentorship and feedback from coaches, mentors and peers.

The 60 entrepreneurs will be selected from over 250 applicants in a transparent fashion, based on the evaluation criteria decided by the government and Cornell University. The programme encourages women applicants and applicants from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Cornell is a part of the Ivy League and also ranks fourth on Forbes’ annual list of America’s most entrepreneurial colleges. Cornell Maha 60 promises an exciting journey for the next generation of leaders in Maharashtra.

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“Cornell has designed a start-up focused curriculum to aid the ambition of social entrepreneurs in Maharashtra and offer a platform to connect with angel investors, VC networks and industry experts. The business accelerator program will be an incubation lab for budding entrepreneurs and help create a positive economic impact with the creation of new businesses and jobs,” said Allan Filipowicz, Dean of Executive Education, Cornell University and Faculty Director, Cornell Maha 60.





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