Last Saturday, Mint put out a half page interview with Laura A Parkin, executive director, National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) and Wadhwani Foundation, clarifying some of the issues/controversies around the Tata NEN Hottest Startups 2008 nominations — Tata NEN Campaign Addresses Early Hiccups. Mint is a media partner for the startup ranking contest. As on Saturday (September 20th) the contest had received 350 nominations. Parkin, who is currently also an advisor for Acumen Fund’s water portfolio, sent me detailed responses to questions that I had raised separately on the contest. Edited excerpts from the email interview:
One of the key objectives of the awards, as you state, is to engage the public, which would be beneficial to the startup eco-system in the longer term. Voting, therefore, is public. Why did you consider ‘nomination by public’ also necessary? Since startups would ultimately self-nominate via the verification check, wouldn’t self nomination in the first place have helped avoid all the confusion and miscommunication that has arisen?
Why have the public nominate? Two reasons, both boiling down to increasing inclusiveness. One, we are trying to include people in the identification and appreciation of startups. Voting is one way to engage, but nomination is another. Our intent is to get people thinking about their own regions, their own cities, fellow alumni from institutes. Has someone they know started a great company?