Shortlisted finalists get to present their cases on a television reality series debate for the top spot. Vodafone received an overwhelming response to the first season with close to 80,000 entries. In the first season, ABC Consultants had its logo on the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes cars during the racing weekend.
The call for entries for the second season started on July 11 and will be open until Aug. 20 and is open to all SMEs across India. The second season of Vodafone's Drive Into The Big League will be held on a much larger scale. Over a period of 45 days, the qualifiers will be conducted at 10 prominent SME industry hubs like Pune, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Delhi, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Mangalore and Vishakhapatnam.
About 100 SMEs who have focused on technology as a key driver for growth, will be invited for the contest in each of these venues and this would be telecast on ET Now during September and October. Two winners from each venue will be selected to be a part of the grand finale that will be held in Delhi closer to the Indian Grand Prix weekend.
There is a new element of wild card entry added to the contest this year. The wild card entry will be chosen through a contest run on a social networking platform between Aug. 1 and Sept. 15. Out of the entries received, three enterprising businesses will get an opportunity to make an elevator pitch to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team on how they have used technology to enhance their business productivity. One of these three will get a wild card entry into the grand finale.
For the grand finale, 20 winners from the qualifying rounds and the wild card winner from the online contest will then debate on a reality show on ET Now all through September/October for the coveted spot.
In an eight-part reality television series, the final winner will be selected by an expert jury, who will evaluate the finalists providing them with real situations that each of their businesses could face and how they would work around those situations. Overall, the show is healthy for any established or budding entrepreneur to see how 21 different minds analyze business situations and find an easier path to growth.
Commenting on the initiative, Naveen Chopra, Director of Business Services, Vodafone India said: "Vodafone Drive Into The Big League gave an opportunity to small and medium enterprises to have their logo displayed on the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes race cars and supported them towards an easier path to growth. We are happy with the success of this initiative as it helped us in making significant in-roads into the small and medium business community. Encouraged with the overwhelming response received last year, we are taking this initiative forward in an attempt to give more enterprises an opportunity to showcase how they have used technology to enhance growth."