On April 11, Amazon India declared the launch of its new “Mentor Connect” program. The firm is aiming at stimulating the growth of budding ventures and rising brands. For participating, the mentorship will be offered to those who are enrolled under the Amazon Launchpad initiative.
With the commencement of the program, ventures, brands and new startups will gain access to guidance from big venture capital firms, Amazon leaders, industry experts, or veterans. Through expert knowledge sharing sessions, events, and more will benefit the enrolled businesses and give more power to their ideas.
One of the statements said- “Mentors and experts from educational institutions and VC firms like Fireside Ventures, DSG Consumer Partners, Elevation Capital, Tomorrow Capital have already signed up for the program to contribute to the Indian start-up growth story”.
It added- “Start-ups and emerging brands enrolled in the Amazon Launchpad program can access guidance from these mentors through various ways. This includes one-to-one mentorship with chosen mentors over a three-month period, ongoing networking opportunities with a wider pool of industry experts, or knowledge sharing sessions between these experts and other Launchpad brands”.
The firm is claiming that this will offer more empowerment to the entrepreneurs a platform to engage, learn, and showcase their startup to the industry’s leading subject matter experts to support strategic and functional challenges and how, to begin with, the right set of tools.
Moreover, it says- “The Amazon Mentor Connect program is not limited to start-ups and emerging brand owners enrolled in the Amazon Launchpad program but will also be extended to the winners of the Amazon Sambhav Entrepreneurship challenge in the upcoming Amazon Sambhav summit”. The winners will be the first cohort of start-ups to receive the benefits associated with the Amazon Mentor Connect program, it added.
What’s Amazon Smbhav?
This year Amazon Smbhav will bring collectively important industry and thought leaders for exhilarating talks and discussions towards creating an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat by looking at the possibilities for businesses and entrepreneurs via a partnership with Amazon.
It will be a four-day-long virtual summit, due to covid hosted around the theme of “Unlocking Infinite Possibilities For India” across different sectors from manufacturing to retailing. There would be more than 30,000 participants, learning and seeking the best practices or trends from over 70 leading speakers and experts.
About the reach and scale
Amazon Launchpad showcases over 2 lakh products offered by more than 800 rising brands and budding ventures across 30 different product categories. The main categories it includes are health, personal care, grooming, grocery, beauty, and home products.
While highlighting the whole idea, Amazon India Director (MSME and Selling Partner Experience) Pranav Bhasin said- “India has a large start-up ecosystem that is key to disruptive innovation and accelerating India’s progress towards an Atma Nirbhar Bharat. Most of these startups are led by first-time entrepreneurs who have the passion to drive a change, but don’t have the experience to deal with the breadth of challenges they face along the way”.
As we already know, from the past few weeks, we witnessed a number of Indian Startups entering the Unicorn club and raising their potential and overall valuation immensely. And thus, the mentor program via Amazon India will have a greater impact on young minds and entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, the Amazon director also added- With the Amazon Mentor Connect program, the aim is to create a support system to help start-ups unlock their potential by providing them with the right kind of mentoring that can help them scale their business, avoid blind spots, learn from the experience of existing leaders, open new doors and help them unlock infinite possibilities for a Digital India.
Lastly, Prayag Mohanty, Senior Vice President at Fireside Ventures, said- “We are looking to understand grassroots level challenges, understand trends, and identify ways of solving these problems for emerging brands. Not only that, VCs like ourselves, are always on the lookout for opportunities to meet new and upcoming brands”.
Update- Amazon Smbhav’s Power Packed Day 1- Amazon announces $250 million funds for Indian startups!
On Thursday, after a successful and power-packed Day 1, Amazon announced a $250 million venture fund to support and invest in Indian Startups and young entrepreneurs. It is to focus on the digitization of small, budding, and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the key overseas market.
When the American e-commerce group, which has previously invested more than $6.5 billion in its India business. And later faced rage from government bodies, and the small and medium scale business that it means to serve. Then, Amazon thought to come up with a new investment fund for the smooth operation of SMBs.
The idea behind the new venture fund came out with “Amazon Smbhav”, as the company said it wants to invest in startups that focus on supporting SMBs- to support them in undertaking digital operations and expand the business and their reach.
The CEO of Amazon Andy Jassy said on Thursday at the virtual event – “Small and medium businesses are the engine and lifeblood of economies” and we are passionate about accelerating SMBs.
The company claimed it has led a $10 million investment round in M1xchange. It is a 3-year-old Gurgaon-headquartered startup that operates an invoice discounting marketplace exchange for MSMEs. This firm connects MSMEs with financiers and banks, or vice versa. This is the first business to invest in the company’s Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund.
Moreover, right now Amazon is focusing on two major sectors of the industry- Healthcare, and Agriculture with its new investment fund. But it doesn’t mean that it won’t focus on others, as it can consider tech firms also.
The new idea is to direct the agri-tech sector, and it is looking forward to those Indian startups that are using technology to make agri-inputs more accessible to farmers, offer credit and insurance to them, reducing food wastage, and more.
On the other hand, it will invest in ventures which are enabling healthcare providers to leverage telemedicine, e-diagnosis, and AI-powered treatment.
In the 2020 edition of Amazon Smbhav, it announced investing $1 billion to digitize 10 million SMBs and medium-sized businesses. With this, it has created 300,000 jobs in India since January 2020 and enabled exports for Indian-made goods worth $3 billion.
But it turned out to be a big problem, not far from Smbhav’s first event last year, which was attended by Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, 1000s of people marched on streets and expressed their concerns, protested against it, and said what the company claimed was unfair practices employed by Amazon to exploit them and nothing more.
Moreover, in February one of the influential trader groups that represent tens of millions of Brick-and-mortar retailers called New Delhi to ban Amazon in India.
Lastly, after facing heat in the Indian marketplace, Amazon is again here with its event to achieve its goals. There are several international tech giants namely Facebook, Google, and Microsoft which have invested in Indian startups. Amazon, too, has backed a number of ventures, and last month was in top talks to acquire Perpule for about $20 million.
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