Tibetan Entrepreneurs Launch New Startups to Preserve Culture in India

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Sonipat, Haryana, India

Tibetan entrepreneurs successfully complete the pre-incubation programme by Jindal Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (JSiE)

Post the “pre-incubation training” four Tibetan entrepreneurs receive funding to launch startup businesses

After completing “pre-incubation” training from the Jindal Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship (JSiE), O.P. Jindal Global University, four Tibetan entrepreneurs recently received funding to launch their startup businesses. The entrepreneurs are part of the second batch of Tibetan entrepreneurs supported as part of the Tibetan Entrepreneurship Development initiative (TED) and incubated by JSiE.

TED is an initiative of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) located in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. The development program is part of an effort to reinvigorate and empower the Tibetan community in India and aims to be the change agent in helping potential Tibetan entrepreneurs and businesses towards becoming competitive, sustainable and impact-oriented.

The second batch of entrepreneurs are launching startups across India in various sectors such as fashion, food-delivery and dairy farming. A common thread among all entrepreneurs is their motivation to preserve Tibetan culture and introduce it to other communities.

Jampa Tendar, co-founder of Keraa, said of his startup “our aim is to develop a new global fashion line based in Tibetan culture.” Tenzin Rigdol, co-founder of Breakfastwala, described his motivation to “create employment opportunities for every Tibetan so he could help reduce unemployment in Tibetan settlements across India.”

Startup     Founder     Business
Keraa     Jampa Tendar     Fashion line and manufacturer of Tibetan traditional dress located in Dehradun
Tibet Dairy Farm     Tenzin Tselake     Organic Dairy Farm located in Odisha
Breakfastwala     Tenzin Rigdol     Breakfast food delivery startup operating South Delhi
Mountain Girl Design     Tenzin Youdon     Fashion design business located in South Delhi

After being competitively selected by the Tibetan government-in-exile, the entrepreneurs attended the five week residential pre-incubation training program on the campus of O. P. Jindal Global University in June.  Each entrepreneur participated in group workshops and individualized training from the JSiE team and University faculty members. Core modules of training included lean startup methodology, digital skills training, business model canvas, pitching sessions, startup finance, and legal startup requirements.

After completing the program the entrepreneurs gathered in Dharamsala for a business plan competition organized by the Tibetan Government-in-exile. A jury of expert judges provided advice and worked with the CTA to set milestones which will be linked to seed investment awarded to each of entrepreneurs.

The entrepreneurs will continue to receive mentoring support from the Central Tibetan Administration and join the now growing community of Tibetan entrepreneurs living in India.

Speaking of the program, Jeremy Wade, Associate Director, Jindal Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship, said, “Tibetan entrepreneurs can create significant economic and social impact in their communities.  Supporting them helps create an economically self-reliant Tibetan community in India, and in turn, helps preserve the unique and compassion based Tibetan cultural heritage.”

The successful completion of the pre-incubation programme for Tibetan entrepreneurs for a second consecutive year is a step towards fulfilling the Jindal Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship’s (a private, University-based incubator) social mission to support inclusive growth and development across India.

Earlier this year, JSiE joined the UBI Global Incubation Impact & Network which consists of 400 data driven, entrepreneurial centric, incubation programs from over 70 countries, in partnership with Cisco Corporate Affairs.