To encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the Food & Agribusiness sector, the Govt. of India, collaborating with a-IDEA – the Technology Business Incubator (TBI) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)’s National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) – launched AGRI UDAAN 2.0 – an accelerator program yesterday (4th August) at the NASC Complex in New Delhi. Aimed at catalysing Food & Agribusiness startups through rigorous mentoring and training over a period of 6 months, AGRI UDAAN is expected to play a pivotal role in converting innovative ideas into viable businesses. The launch event was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Prof. Ramesh Chand, member of NITI Aayog – the Central Govt.’s think tank for market reforms.
In it’s pre-launch phase in 2015, the program trained 8 startups, of which 3 startups – Hyderabad-based Inner Being, Bengaluru-based FlyBird Innovations and Kochi-based Kinemach – materialised into viable businesses. Inner Being processes locally grown exotic millets and caters to the high-end wellness market, FlyBird develops Smart Irrigation Controllers based on soil temperature, atmospheric humidity and water availability, and Kinemach develops a range of farm machinery that mimics human tasks on the field—from ploughing to weeding.
Now, with the formal launch yesterday, AGRI UDAAN will be reaching out to Agri-startups across the country with a series of road shows in Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad to identify 40 startups who will be allowed to pitch in to a panel of evaluators for the Cohort Finalisation Program in October this year. From these 40, around 12 startups will be selected for the final Capability Building Workshop where they will be mentored and guided by Industry Experts, including NeML, at the ICAR-NAARM’s Hyderabad campus.
As a Thought Leader in the Agri space, NeML’s MD & CEO, Mr. Rajesh Sinha, has been actively involved with the a-IDEA team in finalising training strategies for these agri-entrepreneurs on diverse business aspects like technology commercialisation, product validation, business plan preparation, risk analysis, finance management, fund raising, etc. The 6-months AGRI UDAAN accelerator program will conclude with an Investors’ Meet in January next year where the startups will demonstrate their product ideas and seek business investments for scaling up their ventures.