Democratizing Incubation: Creating a Virtual Startup Ecosystem

This paper outlines Intellecap’s approach to building a virtual startup ecosystem through leveraging digital technology. We make the argument that the recent global startup movement can be a key driver for ‘inclusive growth’, increasing economic empowerment, participation, self-organization and social innovation, if enterprises across geographies and life-stages have equal access to affordable and high quality support. Over the past 13 years Intellecap has developed solutions for entrepreneurs from across India, providing capital, advice and networks suitable to their needs from idea to scale-up stage. StartUpWave, a virtual incubation and investment platform, is our response to make the ecosystem more inclusive and reach more entrepreneurs by bringing the physical ecosystem online.

Our vision is to:

1) Reach enterprises beyond metro cities in smaller towns or rural areas;

2) Scale-up incubation capacities to serve a larger number of entrepreneurs, and

3) Use scarce resources more efficiently to provide quality business support.

The paper presents first evidence from India and Rwanda and discusses our vision to build a virtual ecosystem that provides startups from across the world with capital, advise and networks.

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Author: Stefanie Bauer

Stefanie Bauer

Stefanie brings over 8 years of experience in the field of Entrepreneurship Promotion in Europe, Africa and Asia. Throughout her professional life, she has been engaged in a diversity of initiatives that aim at fostering innovation for the "Bottom of the Pyramid." At Intellecap, Stefanie is leading the Africa work of the Business Consulting and Research team. Some of her recent work includes research on youth entrepreneurship in East Africa, as well as an analysis of the financing landscape for small and growing enterprises in Kenya. Before joining Intellecap, she lead a programme for the German development agency GIZ on Financing of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in India, where she designed and implemented new initiatives in the field of impact investing, inclusive business and social entrepreneurship promotion. Stefanie brings experience in a variety of projects with banks, investors, and ecosystem players such as incubators and accelerators to address financial and technical gaps in the early stage enterprise ecosystem. Before her position in India, Stefanie had different roles within GIZ as Private Sector Development Expert and Advisor to the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). As a visiting faculty, she is teaching Entrepreneurship and Development at University of Bayreuth, Germany. She holds a MSc. degree in Development Management from London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Applied African Studies. Passionate about innovation and change processes within organizations, she holds a professional degree in Organizational Development.

Contributor: Nisha Dutt

Contributor: Nisha Dutt

Nisha is the CEO of Intellecap and serves on its Board of Directors. She is responsible for driving Intellecap’s growth globally and leads the Business Consulting practice. At Intellecap she drives technology led innovations in healthcare, agriculture, and financial services which have impacted the lives of people at the bottom of the economic pyramid. She continues to play a key role in strategic decision making across Intellecap's group companies. Her career spans 15 years of experience in strategy and operations in national and multinational corporates. She also serves on the Board of Directors of several listed companies in India. She holds an MBA from the University of Ohio and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, Supply Chain Management, Oklahoma State University, USA.