Applications are now open for financial tech start-ups to apply to an accelerator program backed by a group of 10 leading financial institutions & Accenture.

About the program

Companies selected in the Asia-Pacific-wide competitive search for the region’s top financial technology innovators will participate in the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific, a 12-week program that helps early- and growth-stage financial technology innovators accelerate product development and gain exposure to top-level financial industry executives.

Who can participate

Entrepreneurs developing potentially game-changing technologies for financial services – particularly in the areas of Big Data & analytics, mobile & wireless, payments, risk management, security, compliance and social media and collaboration technologies – are invited to apply.

Applications will be accepted until July 31, 2014.

More about “Fintech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific”

The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is modeled on a similar program that was co-founded by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City in 2010. The New York Lab’s 18 alumni companies have raised more than $76 million in venture financing and created approximately 150 jobs after participating in the program; one participant was acquired for $175 million.

In 2012, the FinTech Innovation Lab London was launched by Accenture and a dozen major banks in London, with support from the city’s mayor and other government bodies. The majority of the participants in the inaugural program have gone on to sign deals with banks and collectively they have raised $10 million in new financing since participating.

According to a recent report by Accenture, Global investment in fintech ventures could more than double to $8 billion by 2018. Global investment in fintech ventures has more than tripled from $928 million in 2008 to $2.97 billion in 2013. During the same period, investment in Asia-Pacific fintech ventures has increased nearly fourfold to $104 million in 2013.

For further information, please refer to their website

Every now and then, several SME’s have been thinking on the exit strategy from their business. The most common exit plan for SME’s is the out-and-out sale of the business.

There could be various reasons for which the owner decides to sell the business. Irrespective of the reasons [why’s] or motivations, the business owner should be confident that the real object is met – the business is sold.

Today we have a guest article by Priya Bhagat; Co-founder of Indiabizforsale. Indiabizforsale is an online platform for Business buying, selling, Business valuation and leasing. Before starting Indiabizforsale, Priya had a successful career in UK and India working for companies like Suez group, Nestor healthcare, Billdesk.com in various capacities in finance. Also, she has gained masters in international finance from Middlesex university & masters in commerce from Mumbai university.

In this article, Priya highlights “Business Selling/Exit Strategies for SME’s in India”.

IndiaBizForSale

The likelihood of business being sold successfully rises when the business for sale is marketed carefully; business valuation is genuine; internal factors are promising & external elements are beneficial.

Market carefully – Sale of a business is a life-changing scenario; the business owner should very diligent in promoting the business opportunity for sale in the market. The business owner’s main concern while marketing the business for sale is to maintain confidentiality [so that competitors & employees are not aware] at the highest level.

Hence, using the right medium to sell is very crucial to maintain privacy and at the same time generate prospects. Offline advertising like newspapers can be expensive & has a short life span. Many online classifieds provide a good channel to advertise the business for sell, however, one needs to chose a premium platform & avoid websites that have junk listings. The business owner should also be careful of any hidden fees or commission that such listing websites charge.

Genuine Business Valuation – If the valuation of your business is done on a realistic basis, the chances of closing the deal successfully increases. The value of the company should be estimated before marketing the business opportunity for sale. There are various methods used for business valuation, it is ideally important to seek help from professional expert to get the valuation of the business done properly.

Promising Internal factors – Internal factors like financial performance of the company, management team and employees, technology, suppliers and customers have to be dealt delicately as these internal factors increase the success of the Business for Sale. It is better to inform the employees after you have reached to advance stage of the business sell. about the decision to sell and address their concerns.

Beneficial External elements – External elements like market conditions, trends in the industry, legislations, competition, etc. can be beneficial if impacted positively to the business.

Generally, the SME’s approach the business brokers, the most common platform. On successful completion of a deal, these brokers expect a return in terms of a commission on the transaction price, which normally ranges from 1%-10%. Such hefty succession fees are sometimes not affordable to SME’s and the chances of businesses being sold quickly slows down. At the same time if the SME is not experienced [generally most SME’s are not] in selling the business, it is most appropriate to get professional help. In brief, if your business is not selling a business, please seek help while selling yours.

Plan and start EarlyThe average time it takes for a business to be sold is from three months to twelve months. Once your business opportunity is out for sale, be patient for the genuine buyer to be attracted.

You can reach Priya Bhagat on LinkedIn here. If you have any questions for Priya, please leave them in the comments section.

After the successful debut of Social Media Week [SMW] in India held in Mumbai in September 2013, Bangalore is all set to host this mega global festival. SMW Bangalore will be held between the 17th and 21st of February simultaneously with seven other cities namely Barcelona, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Lagos, Milan New York and Tokyo.

About Social Media Week

SMW is a worldwide festival exploring the social, cultural and economic impact of social media. In just under five years, Social Media Week has become a platform and a community that has grown to more than 100K members in 26 cities around the world.

SMW,Bangalore is a 5 day event scheduled from February,17 to February,21. To register, please log on to http://www.socialmediaweek.org/bangalore/

About R SQUARE Consulting

R SQUARE Consulting, an integrated marketing services agency will be hosting SMW Bangalore. “After the phenomenal success of Social Media Week in Mumbai, we believe that SMW Bangalore will set a new benchmark. Bangalore’s reputation as a cultural melting pot and as the IT capital of the country makes for an optimal combination” Rohit Varma, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, R SQUARE Consulting said.

The festival is expected to attract over 5000 professionals, including people from advertising & marketing, brand management, entrepreneurs, start-ups, management students and other communities of relevance and interest. Running community is one such example. “We launched MegaPink in partnership with SMW Mumbai with runners from 40 cities taking part.

Speaker List

Some of the prominent speakers who are expected to be part of the event are listed below:

  1. Neville Taraporewalla, GM India, Microsoft Advertising & Online
  2. Rishi Dogra, GM Marketing, PepsiCo India
  3. Kiruba Shankar, Blogger
  4. Varun Agarwal, Author and Founder, Alma Mater
  5. Nikhil Dey, President, Public Relations, Genesis Burson-Marsteller

Social Media Week Partners

  1. GroupM, leading media agency
  2. Genesis Burson-Marsteller, leading integrated communication consultancy
  3. Chlorophyll, India’s first end-to-end brand consultancy
  4. Time Out Magazine
  5. Yellow Seed
  6. MxMIndia
  7. Social Samosa
  8. AIESEC
  9. Indigo 91.9 FM

Intuit India, a leading provider of business & financial management solutions for small & mid-sized businesses in the country and National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development [NIESBUD] have come up with a specialized course on financial management for Indian small business owners.

The course is briefly divided into three modules & starts from the very beginning i.e. How to start a business. The contents of the modules are as below:

How to Start a Business

  • Focus on Basics [Contents – Market Research, Target Market Analysis, Competitor Analysis, Capital/Funding Needs, Infrastructure required?, What’s the return on investment?]
  • Understand what you need ? [Capital, Man power, Infrastructure]
  • Understand how to start [Choosing the Right Type of Entity, How to register a company ,Raising and Managing Capital]

How to Manage your Business?

  • Understand Key Financial Indicators
  • How You Can Monitor Financial Indicators ?
  • How to Manage Cash ?
  • How to Manage your Budget ?
  • Some Important Tax Laws to Keep in Mind
  • Don’t Forget to Pay the Government on Time !!!
  • Some Financial Risks to be aware of
  • Put in Place Checks &  Balances

How to Grow Your Business ?

  • How to Value Your Business ?
  • How to Budget for Growth ?
  • Sources of Growth Capital
  • Get Debt Right.
  • Manage Your Personal Finances, too!
  • Where and How to Find Assistance ?

Financial Management - Journey to Small Business Success [Intuit], Click to enlarge

If you need any further information, please let your comments & we would append the same in the article.

Social media marketing is hailed as one of the best ways to promote a start up. It is cheap, relatively easy and pretty effective in helping a company establish its own identity and brand. While there are certainly many benefits to social media marketing, truly benefiting from your efforts requires a certain level of skill and dedication. With the wrong approach, your social media presence could even harm your fledgling business.

These five tips will help any start-up make the most of this hectic time & leverage the power of social media for maximum benefits.

Focus Your Efforts

It seems that every day a new social media platform launches and claims it will be the next Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. This provides a mind-boggling number of options for you to try with your social media efforts. While exposure is a good thing, spreading yourself out too thin is not. Pick a platform that works best for your business. B2B start-ups could consider LinkedIn. Targeting a younger audience, consider Twitter.

Are you a local business? Facebook offers plenty of tools to expand your subscriber base by location. By limiting the number of platforms that you are tracking, you can invest real time and effort for your start-up. This can also help to avoid mistakes as you get accustomed to the platform and social media marketing.

Be Interactive

In many cases, the ultimate goal of social media marketing is to increase exposure, drive traffic and create leads. This leads to some misconceptions on how to use the platform. Simply promoting yourself everywhere you can will only find a small level of success. The true power in social media lies in building relationships, establishing authority & offering benefits to subscribers. The first step in this is actually interacting with your subscribers. Every little interaction, from thanking them for reading or sharing one of your posts, to responding to questions helps to build a relationship for your brand. This is also the best way to keep track of what readers and users are saying about your company and an integral part of brand management.

Establish Authority

Anyone can create a social media account and post about how great their own products or services are. In fact, you will see a large amount of this. However, this is just a basic implementation of the platform. As a startup, you should be establishing authority in your field and building your subscriber base. A great way to do this is to find other relevant social media accounts, blogs, sites and services and mention them on your social media feeds. By establishing authority, followers will be more likely to trust your suggestions, look at your links and come to you for products, services and information.

Participate Regularly

Frequent interaction with your social media accounts is essential to success. Try to set aside a few minutes each day to dedicate to finding new targeted subscribers, posting new content and communicating with your existing base. If you have trouble updating your social media during appropriate hours, simple use a scheduling service, such as HootSuite for Twitter or Buffer. If you use scheduled posting applications, be sure to keep each post unique and check back in periodically to interact with and respond to anyone who mentioned the post.

Test, Analyze and Improve

There is no guaranteed formula to social media success. It all depends on your market, your business and your investment. Certain tactics may work great for a competitor but fail for you. Track interactions, clicks and other important stats on your social media campaigns from the start. Though they make take a little time to provide useful information, you do not have to worry about not having access to the information should you need it. From the time you post to headlines and hashtags, any little detail could be the difference between social media obscurity and viral success. Do not be afraid to try new tactics. With your analytics behind you it, it is hard to go wrong.

One last bonus tip is to keep your brand’s messaging consistent. This requires some discipline in brand management and not veering off into every new trend that pops up on the Web. In this case, your Brand will send a mixed message to your audience members, hurting your chance for properly positioning your company in their minds as solution for a specific problem — one of the basic principles of branding and marketing.

About the Author

Steven Anderson has been writing about brand management and marketing solutions for nearly a decade. Visit Cloverleaf Innovation to learn more.

Though there are plenty of things to worry about during the start-up phase of any business, there are few things as important as brand creation and management. Whether you are securing investors or building your customer base, your brand is often one of the major determining factors in your success.

The following tips and tricks are great ways for your start-up to establish & build a brand:

Understand the Many Facets of Your Brand
Many start-ups get lost in the act of brand building and fail to realize just how detailed the process can be. The end result is a weak brand. Brand building and management is not just about everyone sees your brand. It is about how investors, employees, customers and partners see your business individually. Though positive aspects for each group tend to offer some benefit to others, building a truly strong brand is about focusing on each specific group and showing them exactly how your start-up is the best target for their money, time and trust. By monitoring and building your brand from each perspective, you can ensure that your brand is solid, stable and strong.

Research Your Market to Help Establish Your Brand
With the competitive nature of a globalized economy, market research is more important than ever. Establish a demographic & market and build your brand from there. Knowing your market makes establishing value and building your brand much easier. This also ensures that other parts of your brand, such as the name, logo and advertising, are honed easily to fit your market for improved results in your start-up efforts. Each of these factors can impact the success of your start-up. It is also much harder to alter many of these smaller aspects once the business is established. By researching before and during the start-up phase of your business, you position it for long-term success.

Embrace Your Brand
You can ask anyone what they feel makes the brand of a large corporation or business and get many answers in return. It is easy to promote a brand after it is created. However, establishing a brand in a start-up is very different. Most start-ups have only a few employees. This means that everyone should be embracing and living the brand of the company. When so few people are involved, every action you take reflect directly back on your start-up and could help or hurt its success. If you are living your brand and integrating into your practices, partners and eventually employees will be more likely to adopt your stance as well. This makes brand management and promotion easier in later stages of the business. The opposite is also true. If you live in opposition to your brand, your employees, investors and customers will be the first to notice and point it out to others.

Build Your Brand from the Beginning
Every second that a business delays in building its brand it is risking failure. Branding is not a process that requires substantial investments or dedicated professional services. Branding should start at the conception. This means that it should be an integral part of the start-up process. Branding establishes a number of things, ranging from your target market to your potential competition. This makes it one of the most crucial yet overlooked aspects of the start-up process. By establishing your brand early, you are defining the value and benefits that your start-up will offer consumers, investors and other entities. While making money is important for any business to succeed, creating value and establishing a market are two major keys to long-term success.

In summary, know what you are trying to convey with the brand, do the market research to know what your target audience will respond to, and don’t delay in executing — just do it !!!

About the Author

Eric Armstrong is a marketing professional specializing in qualitative market research.

Recommended Read

Some more interesting articles on “Brand Building” can be found here

For many people, working at a startup is the holy grail of employment, and it’s not hard to understand why. You can get in on the ground floor, be a part of something exciting, and maybe even be a part of huge growth. That’s why it’s so cool to work for a startup, but that’s also why it’s so hard to actually get a job with one: everyone else wants to do it too. Competition is fierce, but with the right knowledge and approach, you can find a way to make the cut. Read on, and you’ll discover 33 insider tips that can help you land a coveted job at a hot startup.

Find a startup you love
Identify a startup you can really connect with, and the rest is easy. With the right fit, you’ll be better poised to connect with the startup’s culture, vision, goals, and needs.

Present yourself as an innovator
Startups are always ravenous for fresh and creative ideas. You can really stand out if you come to your interview prepared with ideas for growing and improving the business.

Show that you’re well-rounded
Do you have side projects that demonstrate your interest and passion for technology? Discuss what you’ve been working on and your dedication will be clear.

Identify what makes you unique and valuable
Getting a job means being a great salesperson, and every great salesperson knows you’ve got to have a unique selling point (USP). What’s yours? Be sure it’s the star of your resume and cover letter.

Engage in startup-related chatter
Check in on Quora and other great sites featuring startup discussions, and do your best to answer questions impressively. By being a part of the conversation, you just might catch the attention of a startup that’s hiring.

Don’t wait to see a job posting
Actual startup job postings may not show up for quite some time, especially among those in the early stage. Rather than waiting to see if they’ll pop up, get engaged with the startup early on to express your interest.

Go big or go home
Go into the application process with the mindset of leaving it all on the table. Successful startup hires have created infographics, catchy slideshows, even interesting websites to stand out in the crowd.

Be flexible
Working at a startup isn’t like working at a 9 to 5, usually. You may have weird hours, unusual commitments, and strange tasks. Be willing to take them in stride and don’t be shocked when you’re asked how you’d feel about taking them on in the interview.

Just start working
One of Square’s earliest employees was initially denied an interview at the company. But he brushed it off and took it upon himself to acquire card readers and use them to sign up 10 new merchants for the service in one day. It’s a bold move, one that got him noticed, and hired, by the startup.

Say thank you
Sure, it’s impressive to create high tech, attention-getting media to woo your potential employer, and if you have the skills, by all means, do it. But startups are made up of regular people too, and everyone, yes, everyone appreciates a good, old-fashioned hand-written thank you note. Do this, and you’ll really stand out.

Fill multiple needs
Being great at one thing is impressive, but it’s much more likely to get you a job at a big company where they can afford to have one employee for one task. At a startup, needs tend to be much broader, as each employee is expected to take on a wide variety of tasks. Show that you can contribute with a wide skill set that fills multiple needs.

Know everything there is to know
Don’t just check out the company’s website a few hours before your interview. Really spend time getting to know what the startup is all about. Do extensive research, connect with their social media outlets, and learn about their development. Go beyond the surface so that you’ll be able to stand out as knowledgeable and intensely interested in what the startup stands for.

Don’t try to share any BS
Entrepreneurs tend to have great BS detectors. Don’t give them a reason to lose faith in you by trying to feed them any. If you don’t know the answer, own up to it and offer to find out and follow up with them.

Be a part of the community
Be visible in all the right circles. Attend meetups, hackathons, and launch parties. Take the time to make connections and nurture your network. Connect with the right people, and it’s likely to lead you to a great startup job.

Be personal
Joining a small startup means lots of one on one time with the first people with boots on the ground. If you don’t click personally, chances are, you’re not getting hired. Do you fit in with the company’s culture? Get along with the founders? If you think you do, make sure that you let your personality shine through so they will recognize it as well.

Have your own questions
Be really impressive by showing that you’ve taken the time to contemplate what the startup is all about. Come to the interview with your own questions, ones beyond salary, hours, and benefits, that really demonstrate an understanding, appreciation, and willingness to explore the company.

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The Power of Ideas, India’s largest entrepreneurship development initiative from The Economic Times is back. Bigger and better than ever before. The Power of Ideas seeks to encourage anyone & everyone with a business idea to realize his entrepreneurial dream. It is a platform where ideas will be polished and nurtured with personalized guidance from mentors before being taken forward to investors for funding. This ET initiative is in partnership with the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India and IIM-Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship.

For more information

About the program : http://www.ideas.economictimes.com/pgme

Eligibility criteria for participation : http://www.ideas.economictimes.com/tc

To participate in the programme :  http://www.ideas.economictimes.com/participate

[The deadline for submission of the Business Summary Format is June 25, 6pm.]

Queries: If you still have a specific query/feedback about the programme, share it with ET at: etideas@indiatimes.com

Start-up Sessions: With the twin objectives of taking those with an idea through the nuances of starting up & guiding them through the process of filling the Business Summary Format, which is the participation form for the initiative, ET has organized a series of learning sessions called ‘Start-up Sessions’. To know more about these sessions & participate in them log onto http://www.ideas.economictimes.com/sup

Social: To participate in exciting contests, have fun with cool trivia etc., follow “ET-Power Of Ideas” on:

Nominate a friend: If you know a friend who has a business idea or is running a start-up, but is not able to take it forward/scale up, connect him to “ET-Power Of Ideas” by SMS ETNF<space>your name<space>his name and his email id to 58888

Partnership: In case you seek to partner with “ET – The Power of Ideas” programme as a mentor/investor/sponsor, drop them a line at etquery@indiatimes.com

** Image Credit : ET Power Of Ideas FB Page