Season 4 of Runway to Success from Lufthansa & Times Network takes off
Over 50,000 contestants are vying for top honours in Season 4 of India’s biggest SME stage, ‘Lufthansa Runway to Success’. The 10-episode television series, produced in partnership with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) and ET Now, begins on June 4, 2016.
‘Lufthansa Runway to Success’ has grown exponentially over the past three years to be amongst India’s most popular platform for start-ups and SMEs. Preceding the competitive leg each year are free mentorship camps held across the country, where over 50 mentors invest time in guiding young entrepreneurs. Additionally, this season saw for the first time ‘The Start-up Expo’, co-created by Lufthansa, and recognised as India’s largest ecosystem for start-ups. The event brought together 10,000 participants and led to 50,000 applicants for the TV series, a 100 per cent increase over last season.
From the vast array of contenders, the 21 most innovative ventures will be shortlisted by TiE business experts to compete in the series. The Grand Prize winner will fly away with a seat at the prestigious Design Thinking Boot Camp at Stanford University sponsored by Kalaari Capital, a business class ticket to any destination in the US and coveted mentorship from TiE.
In partnering the success of Indian business, the Runway to Success platform reflects Lufthansa’s Nonstop You philosophy, which pledges a relentless focus on its customers and people in the community. It also reinforces the airline’s commitment to be ‘More Indian than you think’.
“It has been an absolute privilege for Lufthansa to be an enabler in India’s entrepreneurial revolution. The overwhelming response to the Runway to Success platform has led to its progressive expansion over the past three years into what is today a nationwide campaign. It is also an affirmation of the fact that as an airline, Lufthansa truly has an Indian heart within a German soul,” said Wolfgang Will, Director, South Asia, Lufthansa German Airlines.
“At a time when young entrepreneurs are the driving force of the Indian economy, Runway to Success is recognised as a crucial growth catalyst for start-ups and SMEs,” said Geetika Dayal, Executive Director, TiE Delhi-NCR. “The unprecedented success of this platform, built through a unique partnership with TiE, reflects Lufthansa’s strong commitment to enabling the success of entrepreneurs in India.”
The Runway to Success TV series will feature leading icons such as CP Gurnani, CEO and Managing Director, Tech Mahindra; Dr Mahesh Gupta, President, PHD Chamber, and Chairman & Managing Director, Kent RO Systems; Ajay Kaul, CEO, Jubliant FoodWorks; Alok Kejriwal, CEO and Co-founder, Games2win; Dilip Chhabria, Founder, DC Designs; celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor; and Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation. These pioneers will inspire, motivate, mentor and select the best among three shortlisted entrepreneurs in each episode, who will each win a Business Class ticket to the US, and then go on to compete in the semi-finals and finale for the Grand Prize. A parallel “Viewer’s Choice” award will also be decided via social media, through online voting based on elevator pitch videos by the contestants.
This year, the Runway to Success TV series was preceded by mentorship camps in 10 cities, including Jaipur, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Pune and Chennai amongst others. This was followed by the first-ever ‘Start-up Expo’ organised in Gurgaon end-April. The Expo attracted more than 30 investors, 100 partners, 200 start-up exhibitors, 500 mentors, and 10,000 participants. The one-day event facilitated over 700 business meetings, a start-up job fair, and day-long interactive workshops drawing over 3000 participants. It was attended by an array of government dignitaries and business icons, including Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Ayog & architect of the Government of India’s Start-up initiative; Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP); Saurabh Srivastava, Chairman Emeritus, TiE, Delhi and NCR; Deep Kalra, Founder, Makemytrip.com; and Sanjeev Bhikchandani, Vice Chairman, Naukri.com, among others.
Times Network CEO & MD, MK Anand, said, “‘Lufthansa Runway to Success’ is an experience which will inspire you ahead on the journey of entrepreneurship like never before with live access to illustrious minds, exciting discussions, and a grand celebration of the spirit of entrepreneurship. ‘Lufthansa Runway To Success’, now in its fourth season, is an excellent showcase of the ideas, efforts and achievements of SMEs, which deserve the biggest news audiences. As India’s most influential television network with the biggest English and business news channels, we are pleased that our channel ET Now will provide it the right communication platform that it deserves.”