AAU Incubator to Help Region’s Agro Industry Get Into Overdrive
North Eastern India is known for its rich bio-diversity and abundant natural resources. The economy of this region mainly depends on its agricultural sector. In recent times, great emphasis has been laid on developing and nurturing entrepreneurs and startup companies in India. This is believed to create more jobs in the coming years, especially in agriculture and its allied sectors in the North East Region of India.
With the motive of creating an enabling environment for agriculture based startups, the North East Agriculture Technology Entrepreneurs Hub (NEATEHUB) has been established. It is a Section 8 Non Profit Company established under the aegis of the Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat. It has raised funds from Atal Innovation Mission scheme of NITI Aayog, Govt. of India and Dept. of Agri Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW)’s flagship scheme Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana - Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sectors Rejuvenation (RKVY- RAFAAR).
If you have an innovative Agri Business idea and need support to transform that idea into a product or service, then the AAU incubator can provide you with such assistance. So here is an opportunity!
NEATEHUB is now inviting applications from start-ups from the Agri-sector under its start-up programmes ISANYA 3.0 and SARANYA 2.0 for agripreneurship orientation and startup incubation respectively till 30th May, 2020.
With the former providing grants in aid upto Rs. 5 lakhs and the latter upto Rs. 10 to Rs. 25 lakhs, they also offer services such as Technology and IPR support, business mentoring, co-working space with plug and play environment, pilot production facility, marketing support, labs-dry, wet and smart analytics, alongside seed funding and access to investors.
Supported by the Assam Agricultural University (AAU), this best-in-class Innovation Hub has been set up to facilitate absorption and commercialization of various agriculture and allied technologies to promote ventures and businesses. AAU has also developed numerous technologies in the pre and post harvest domain to increase farm productivity and reduce costs of production.
Entrepreneurs can grab this opportunity to commercialise some of these technologies and embark on their journey.
NEATEHUB is an incubator which can be termed as a breeding ground for start-ups. As the word incubator resonates with “a bird sitting on eggs, nurturing and hatching them, taking care of the hatchlings and enabling them to fly”, in the context of businesses too, an incubator has a similar purpose. The intent is to provide a fledgling business with an ambient environment and resources until they learn to move on from the Incubator.
The core sectors of focus for NEATEHUB are horticulture, live stock, fisheries, food processing, soil conditioning, natural fibre, textile, medicinal and aromatic plants, digital agriculture and small farm machinery etc. Apart from this, it is one of a kind incubator in the region which emphasizes solely on agricultural and allied services.
In addition, specialized pre incubation training, admin, accounting and legal services for the start-ups are provided by the organization. High quality personalised mentoring and coaching for business growth is also given to the budding entrepreneurs. North East being a tribal dominated region, special fellowships opportunities for tribal youths are on the anvil.
The initiative offers physical co-working space for start-up and entrepreneurs. It also brings in industry linkages and networking, training and business coaching, technology transfer and IP portfolio management, legal and quality assurance services, seed funding and access to investment. It is a one point contact to angel investors, mentors, corporate and VC funds interested to invest in agri businesses.
NEATEHUB provides training to the entrepreneurs from the region. For the entrepreneurs with an idea, it provides an Agripreneurship Orientation Programme (AOP) for two months with a stipend of Rupees ten thousand per month and after completion of the training the participants are allowed to apply for a grant in aid of rupees five lakhs subject to their Business Plans being shortlisted. Further, successful candidates will be provided with incubation support for setting up their ventures. There is a provision of one time seed grant to kick start entrepreneurial businesses.
In drawing things to a close, it can be said that the organization will augur well for the promotion and facilitation of agribusiness enterprises around commodity-specific value chains. It is also hand holding the establishment and operations of three agri-business incubators - one each in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura, currently.
The AAU Incubator has plans to work on a hub and spoke model with its own satellite centres in strategic districts of Assam as well as in other North Eastern states to turn the region to an agriculture entrepreneurial hub. Currently it is headquartered in Jorhat and has a branch in AAU Guwahati.