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Need to look beyond agriculture and help nurture agri-businesses: AAU Vice-Chancellor

Need to look beyond agriculture and help nurture agri-businesses: AAU Vice-Chancellor

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  1 Jan 2020 10:47 AM GMT

A Correspondent

JORHAT: The North East Agriculture Technology Entrepreneurs Hub (NEATEHUB) organized a valedictory session of their second batch of agri entrepreneurs in the NEATEHUB premises at AAU Jorhat campus on Tuesday. The chief guest for the session was Dr.G.Narahari Sastry, Director, CSIR – NEIST, Jorhat and the Vice-Chancellor of Assam Agricultural University, Dr.Ashok Bhattacharyya, Dr.K. Karthikeyen, CEO, NEATEHUB and Dr Danish Tamuly, Director on Board of NEATEHUB, graced the occasion.

NEATEHUB is an agri technology incubator for start-up companies and has been registered as a not-for-profit Section-8 company in September 2018, under the aegis of Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat. This incubator is headquartered in Jorhat with a mission to nurture entrepreneurs across the north-eastern region who may be at various stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Currently, the incubator is funded by Atal Innovation Mission of NITI Aayog, Government of India, as well as RKVY-RAFTAAR of the Department of Agri Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.

The incubator has embarked on two distinct programmes -two month residential agri entrepreneurship orientation programme for entrepreneurs who are in the idea stage and need nurturing, and incubation programme for early stage and growth stage start-up companies which are already registered as a legal entity, and need mentoring and funding support.

The first batch of idea stage entrepreneurs programme was held during July-August 2019, while the second batch of the two-month residential programme was held from November – December, 2019. In the second batch, there were 11 participants with some impactful ideas and ready with their proof of concept to bring out their products in the real world. The programme imparted two months of classroom mentoring and practical handholding/ apprenticeship on their respective business ideas. Chief huest Dr.Sastry and the Vice-Chancellor of Assam Agricultural University, Dr.Ashok Bhattacharyya handed over certificates and stipend to them on their successful completion of the course in the valedictory ceremony held on Tuesday.

In his opening remarks, the CEO of the Incubator, Dr.Karthikeyen emphasized the need for innovation in the north-eastern region for which adequate support and exposure was critical. Dr.Sastry, in his address, mentioned the research work being carried out by CSIR NEIST and about the establishment of a Centre for Agri Technology and Rural Development which was underway. He said that NEIST and NEATEHUB should collaborate to help agri-based entrepreneurs to innovate and scale up their ventures to generate more and more employment in the region.

Dr.Ashok Bhattacharyya, the Vice-Chancellor of AAU, in his address, stressed the need for looking beyond agriculture and to help nurture agri-businesses. He outlined the various activities and initiatives taken by the university to commercialize their technologies for a larger impact. A few entrepreneurs spoke about their ideas and the challenges in their journey in building up their ventures.

NEATEHUB has been established with the intention to create a sustainable environment for start-ups and entrepreneurs of the north-eastern region. The organization is ably supported by Assam Agricultural University (AAU) and is located in the AAU, Jorhat campus. The organization has so far raised funding from NITI Aayog, Government of India, and the Department of Agri Cooperation and Farmers Welfare’ (DAC&FW) flagship scheme RKVY- RAFTAAR (Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana - Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sectors Rejuvenation).

NEATEHUB is a recognized Atal Incubator Centre (AIC) under the Atal Innovation Mission of NITI Aayog, Government of India; a recognised Centre of Excellence under the Department of Agri Coop and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, and the NEATEHUB is currently handholding the establishment of three RAFTAAR-Agri Business Incubators (R-ABI) – one each in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura. The NEATEHUB is also a Knowledge Partner for the Assam Startup Nest and has signed an MoU to create the necessary start-up ecosystem in the State. The Incubator has also got into an MoU with KIIT- Incubator, Bhubaneswar. NEATEHUB has a hub-and-spoke model and it is headquartered in Jorhat and has a branch in the AAU Veterinary campus in Guwahati.

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