This is the first such program to support businesses in the agri-food and related sectors launched in Assam. Assam Agribusiness Growth Lab (AAGL) is launched by CIIE.CO, an incubator of IIM Ahmedabad, in partnership with Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART) under the aegis of the Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services Society (ARIAS ).
The program was officially launched in Guwahati by Vinod Seshan, State Project Director, ARIAS Society. Seshan focused on formulating strict policies for quality control and start-up funding for agribusiness companies. He said there is a need to promote scalable agricultural enterprises and nurture their organic growth process with government support and technology transfer. “The time has come for various ecosystem players, government and private actors, academic institutes and promising entrepreneurs to join hands and boost the growth of the state’s agrifood businesses.
Hemendra Mathur of Bharat Innovation Fund (BIF) shared with the audience an investor’s perspective on the evolution of the agricultural sector and ally in India.
Afreen Rahman, AAGL Program Entrepreneurship Specialist, moderated a roundtable with some promising agro-entrepreneurs from the state. Some of the common concerns of the state’s agro-entrepreneurs were raised by a few local entrepreneurs during a panel discussion at the launch event are access to capital, knowledge networking, linkages with high value-added markets, etc. To fill these critical gaps, the selected companies would benefit from technical assistance, access to finance, market access and mentoring to develop their existing businesses. The program will take a sectoral and sectoral approach to enable local businesses to form downstream business links, leverage external and internal business networks and strengthen value chain actors to deliver new products / services of the best quality.
There will be 30% representation of state-run women-led businesses in the lab providing them with business and technical mentorship for scaling up their agriculture and related businesses. Special emphasis is placed on supporting women-led businesses to make the program equitable and ensure gender balanced growth. The program would focus on companies working in areas such as agricultural inputs, agricultural production equipment and services, food processing, agricultural warehousing and logistics, farm to fork, connection services of the farm at the market, and others.