Starting an enterprise is everyone’s fantasy. While dreaming is always easy, bringing your dreams into life is not always a cake-walk. For everyone dreaming about being an entrepreneur in India, the startup ecosystem has never been more wonderful. The startup bug has bitten the youth of India like never before, and the government is turning more supportive of exploiting this ambition and talent by providing more incentives. But still, unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurial dreams in India are nipped in the bud due to many reasons like lack of awareness about the dynamic market demands, failing to raise enough funds for the startups, lack of guidance and experience, etc. This is where communities get to play their part. Communities can help any budding entrepreneur go a long way in the entrepreneurial adventure by providing the right advice, mentorship, networking, and funding assistance. There are many communities in India that solely focus on entrepreneurship and startups. Most of them are the haven for budding entrepreneurs who look forward to experiencing the startup culture and challenges before they enter the market. Scholarship Track India would like to share this curated list of the top 27 communities for budding entrepreneurs in India.

These communities may be divided based on the region they operate in and if they focus on women entrepreneurs as:

  1. General Communities
  2. Region-based communities
  3. Women – entrepreneur communities

General Communities

The following pan-India communities are covered here which focus on entrepreneurship:

  1. Headstart Network Foundation
  2. TiE
  3. Indian Startups
  4. National Entrepreneurship Network
  5. eChai
  6. India Entrepreneurs Club
  7. OpenCoffee Club India
  8. Pushstart
  9. Startup India Foundation
  10. Nordic – India startup community
  11. Venture for India
  12. Startup India Hub
  13.  IFISE
  14. 10,000 startups

1. Headstart Network Foundation

Headstart Network Foundation was founded in 2007 and is one of the oldest and largest startup development organizations in India. It is a not-for-profit organization and is largely volunteer-driven. It has got chapters all over India including in the main cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jharkhand, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Navi Mumbai.

Why join?

 A few of its initiatives include :

  • Startup Saturday, which includes expert talks on a focused subject, panel discussions, startup pitches, and demos on the second Saturday of every month
  • Headstart higher, a speed-dating format of matching startups with candidates
  • WE@Headstart, an initiative aimed at helping and encouraging more women to enter startup ecosystems
  • Kickstart, a pitching session for aspiring entrepreneurs in front of a panel of investors
  • Mentor, a group mentoring session

Click here to read more about this community!

2. TiE

The Indus Entrepreneurs Global is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals with Indus roots. This organization is devoted to helping entrepreneurs at all stages throughout the entrepreneurial cycle. This organization connects early-stage entrepreneurs, serial entrepreneurs, professionals at leading corporations, venture capital, angel investors, and thought leaders. There are TiE chapters throughout India. 

Why join?

Some of its initiatives are:

  • TiEcon, the largest professional and networking conference for entrepreneurs.
  • TiE Young Entrepreneurs, to foster entrepreneurship in youth
  • TiE Women’s Forum, aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs

Read more about this community here!

3. Indian Startups

Indian Startups is a 90,000+ member startup community in India that focuses on bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, and partners throughout India. The members of the community get to connect with and access co-founders, startup team members, mentors, advisers, incubation facilities, agencies for seed-funding, crowd-funding, co-working spaces, and high network individuals. Some of its chapters in India include Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Delhi.

Click here!

4. National Entrepreneurship Network

This is a not-for-profit initiative of the Wadhwani Foundation. National Entrepreneurship Network aims at fostering entrepreneurship by providing institutional capacity building, entrepreneur support, entrepreneurial ecosystem, and national platforms. 

Why join?

Some of the programs they conduct are:

  • Program for college students aimed at real-world learning
  • Courses and startup labs in colleges to create HiPOs
  • Practice ventures at the college level as the seed of entrepreneurship
  • Wadhwani curriculum focusing on the experience of doing through activities, assignments, and PV pitches

Read more here!

5. eChai

eChai is a community that heavily focuses on startup networking with founders and encourages to co-learn with the community. It requires a membership fee. 

Why join?

Some of the features offered are:

  • Access to engaging startup meetups
  • Networking opportunities with founders over one on one video calls
  • Access to startup offers and curated knowledge resources

Click here to read more!

6. India Entrepreneurs Club

This community serves as an information destination on the latest news, success, and failure stories about entrepreneurs, business owners as well as intrapreneurs. The services offered by the community include entrepreneurs meet, funding, an arena for marketers to find the right founders, merchandising, incubators, co-working space, and a platform to showcase products and services. It has been making its impact in more than 15 cities throughout India.

Read more about this community here!

7. OpenCoffee Club India

This tech entrepreneurship community which started in London has spread to other countries as well. The main objective is to focus on encouraging entrepreneurs, developers, media, investors, and aspiring entrepreneurs to network and get to know each other. They hold meetings every week in different cities of the country. Some of the most active chapters in India are in Bangalore, Pune, and Chennai.

Read more here!

8. Pushstart

Pushstart is one of the most active startup communities in India at the moment. They provide a platform to share experiences, build meaningful connections, and access relevant business opportunities within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Why join?

Some of its initiatives are:

  • Knowledge community, where experiences are shared and it also consists of live sessions from industry experts and a question-answering opportunity
  • Network community, a platform to connect with curated founders and investors across India

Click here to read more!

9. Startup India Foundation

This is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on building a world-class startup ecosystem in India to identify, nurture, and support the modern age startups built by Indians. They conduct several activities including backing up first-time entrepreneurs, particularly those from tier 2 and tier 3 towns, organizing startup events, providing mentorship and guidance, building entrepreneurship communities, policy advisory, and implementation, and strengthening the startup institutions like incubators and e-cells.

Why join?

 Some of its initiatives are:

  • Project NEST, aimed at bringing all e-cells together for co-learning
  • Launchpad program, to help aspiring entrepreneurs turn their idea into a business plan in 50 days

Read more here!

10.  Nordic – India startup community

This community connects Nordic startups with vast opportunities in India. Startups incubators, accelerators, innovation hubs, government, organizations, investors, and industry are connected here. They organize events in India, provide a curated list of business and investment opportunities, offer co-working spaces, conduct programs for startups and growth companies, and connect to funding- and industry partners.

Click here!

11. Venture for India

This community conducts a fellowship program to train, mentor, and assist aspiring entrepreneurs to build organizations with a lasting impact. They are required to spend two years in a start-up to become entrepreneurs after graduating from the program.

Read more here!

12. Startup India Hub

This is an initiative by the government of India to promote entrepreneurship in the country. It provides a one-stop platform for all stakeholders in the startup ecosystem for interaction, exchange of knowledge, and forming successful business partnerships.  

Why join?

It provides three main facilities:

  • Networking, to connect with startups, investors, mentors, incubators, accelerators, and government bodies in the Indian startup ecosystem
  • Accessing resources like knowledge bank for startups, partnered services, templates for every situation, online courses, and innovation challenges
  • Participating in challenges and programs hosted on the platform to win cash prizes, incubation, etc.

Click here!

13. IFISE

The International Federation of Indian Subcontinent Entrepreneurs works to bring entrepreneurs who originate from the countries of  India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives together in one community. 

Why join?

The following support is provided in the community

  • Business opportunities, joint ventures, and collaborations
  • Opportunities to explore new markets both locally and globally
  • Facilities to enhance the value to customers
  • Support to systematize the business
  • Access to investment and funding

Read more about this community here!

14. 10, 000 startups

This initiative by NASSCOM is focused on scaling up the startup ecosystem in India by enabling incubation, funding, and support for 10,000 technology startups in India over ten years. 

Why join?

The main programs include

  • Incubation, which aims to improve startup survival rate, generate more business, and better product concepts.
  • Virtual incubation, to create the optimal environment for startups to scale up with support in the form of a Startup Kit and access to a widespread network of influencers.
  • NIPP, aimed at creating a seamless junction for corporates and startups to innovate and integrate products. 
  • Global acceleration, by creating hubs for Indian startups in key global markets and assisting the operation of global startups in the country.

Click here!

Region-based communities

The following region-based entrepreneurial communities are covered in this section :

  1. Coimbatore Startups
  2. Startup Hyderabad
  3. Madurai STARtupS
  4. Startup Pune
  5. Startkom
  6. The Startup Centre

1. Coimbatore Startups

Location: Coimbatore

This community consists of Coimbatore-based startup enthusiasts and entrepreneurs which is focused on brainstorming, networking, and discussions. It holds regular meetings and is devoted to promoting the city of Coimbatore as a city built on entrepreneurship.

Read more about this community here!

2. Startup Hyderabad

Location: Hyderabad

This community was formed on the belief that the city of Hyderabad has the potential to create the biggest of ‘the’ next things. The organization acts as the biggest source of all valuable and relevant information to entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts in Hyderabad. There are ample resources on technology start-ups, saas startups, funding news, talks by experts, and other events on their platform.

Click here!

3. Madurai STARtupS

Location: Madurai

The purpose of this community is to promote Madurai as one of the most important startup hubs in India and share available co-working and co-living spaces in the city so that startups or entrepreneurs can find nearby co-working and co-living spaces and use them. Besides this, there are opportunities to ideate through meetings, collaborate, and volunteer in this start-up focused community.

Read more here!

4. Startup Pune

Location: Pune

This community hosts unique meetups for young entrepreneurs in the city to give them actual exposure to the startup ecosystem. Phase 1 of the startup Pune event consists of a space where all the aspiring entrepreneurs get a chance to showcase their unique skills, share stories, and create networks for their future business.

Click here!

5. Startkom

Location: Delhi – NCR

Startkom is a community of entrepreneurs who believe that it is important to have great connections to create sustainable businesses in this highly competitive market. There are workshops, interviews, and speaking sessions with networking opportunities in Startkom events. 

Why join?

Joining this community would give you the following benefits:

  • Finding co-founders, getting investments, and turning the idea into businesses.
  • Startup mentorship and finding new clients. 
  • Networking and opportunities to discuss new business ideas.

Read more about this community here!

6. The Startup Centre

Location: Chennai

The Startup Centre is a Chennai-based community that acts as an early-stage hub and accelerator for tech startups in the Chennai startup ecosystem. 

Why join?

Some of its initiatives are:

  • One-on-one mentorship for entrepreneurs on fundraising, board formation, corporate structuring, product launches, team building, and idea validation
  • Workspace for early-stage entrepreneurs
  • Startup Walk, which is an open house event for people who are interested in seeing the Chennai ecosystem up close
  • Prototyping events, where teams build solutions for real-world problems

Click here!

Women Entrepreneur Communities

The startup arena is difficult. Unfortunately, it could become more difficult for women entrepreneurs as they are often underrepresented. The following communities are known for helping women entrepreneurs rise and shine in the startup ecosystem:

  1. Women Entrepreneurs India
  2. WEFT Foundation
  3. HEN India
  4. Catalyst for Women Entrepreneurship
  5. empoWer
  6. TiE Women
  7. Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs 

1. Women Entrepreneurs India

This internationally recognized organization has been mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs to launch a new venture and existing business owners to scale up their business. This community educates, supports, and motivates women entrepreneurs all over India as well as provide a platform where they can share their experiences, information, and support each other. This community offers free membership as well as paid membership.

Why join?

 Some of its initiatives include:

  • Support for innovative business ideas
  • Startup funding avenues
  • Marketing support 
  • Services including website design and development, content writing, legal and business registration support
  • Mentor connections

Read more here!

2. WEFT Foundation

Women Entrepreneurship for Transformation provides a platform for dynamic women entrepreneurs and promotes the financial independence of women through entrepreneurship. It aims at achieving gender equality by increasing women representation in business decisions across industries in the country. 

Why join?

It offers the following benefits:

  • Online and offline support ecosystem for women entrepreneurs
  • Completes support for any solutions from start-up ideation to scalability
  • Access to speakers and industry leaders
  • Networking, getting featured and recognition
  • Access to funds for the venture

Click here!

3. HEN India

Her Entrepreneurial Network is a community of Indian women entrepreneurs who work together to uphold its motto of Inspire, Inform and Support each other to create successful businesses and enjoy balanced lives. 

Why join?

Some of its activities include:

  • Networking meets online and offline
  • Workshops to polish the skills of its members
  • Seminars and E-sessions on relevant topics related to entrepreneurship

Read more here!

4. Catalyst for Women Entrepreneurship

This not-for-profit organization focuses on providing a comprehensive ecosystem for women entrepreneurs to start and scale up their businesses. Its mission includes propagating skills among women entrepreneurs, leading them to success, making them inspire others with similar ambitions, and engendering the innovation and emerging technologies ecosystem in India. The CWE platform gives access to finance, markets, technologies, trade networks, business skills, and mentorship.

Why join?

 Some of its other services are:

  • CWE Cares, a mindfulness support system for its members
  • Incubator program, for 12 months at the NASSCOM 10k Startup warehouse
  • Other events like Business Series Workshops aimed at the holistic development of women entrepreneurs

Click here!

5. empoWer

An initiative by Zone Startups India, this platform provides opportunities for mentorship, industry connections, peer network, and investor meets for women entrepreneurs in the country. It also includes a 6-week accelerator program followed by a 1-year support program. 

Why join?

Some of the services offered are:

  • A platform to interact and build networks with fellow entrepreneurs.
  • One-on-one interaction with all major corporate CIOs and CXOs to explore business development opportunities.
  • Workshops, sessions, case studies, and one on one mentoring.
  • Seed funds, investor connections, access to other value-added resources. 

Read more here!

6. TiE Women

This organization aims at embracing, engaging, and empowering women entrepreneurs across the globe irrespective of the enterprise size, origin, and background. The program is built on the pillars of TiE Global which are learning, mentoring, access to funding, scalability, safe space, and community.

Why join?

 Some of its activities include:

  • Following sustainable and easy to adapt programming
  • Tracking the entire entrepreneurial journey with measurable metrics
  • Conducting an annual mega event where women showcase their successes
  • Access to funds, scholarships, accelerators, etc.
  • Opportunity to learn and network
  • Capacity building, knowledge sharing, and enhanced visibility

Click here!

7. Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs

FIWE is a national organization founded in 1993 which acts as one of India’s premier institutions for women thoroughly devoted to entrepreneurship development in the country. It provides a networking platform for women, technical know-how, industry expertise, skill development, and training. 

Why join?

Some of its benefits include:

  • Networking with passionate women entrepreneurs
  • Access to FIWE knowledge centers and consulting
  • Opportunities to attend conferences and B2B meetings with global companies
  • Meeting eminent speakers and visionaries in the field
  • Skill assessment, impact assessment, awareness programs, and awards

Click here to know more about this community!

Everybody knows entrepreneurship is not an easy task. But it is not an impossible one as well. It might feel overwhelming when starting but the point is to keep believing and working hard. Communities are the key to success during these tough times as they can provide the right mentorship and guidance. Many world-renowned companies started as a small enterprise in India. While things may not be as smooth as before due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and the economy in turmoil, it might be good to see that some of the biggest companies of today like Whatsapp and Uber were founded during the great recession. So keep up with your entrepreneurial spirits and participate in the communities mentioned above to get things going. Good luck!

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