Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Mohali, December 5
Having created a niche for themselves, AgNext, Mooofarm, Agri to Power and TAC Security are some of the companies that were cited during the session on startups on the inaugural day of the Progressive Punjab Investors Summit here today. The success stories of these startups were shared with those who are aiming to become entrepreneurs themselves.
During the session, experts opined that Punjab had the right ecosystem, talent pool and entrepreneurial spirit to emerge as a hub for startups in India. A Shivalik Valley, on the lines of Silicon Valley, could become a reality in Mohali, if supported by the government through a favourable policy and funded by venture capitalists, they said.
Over 500 startups, having raised funds of Rs 100 crore for their ventures, 23 incubators and over 30 mentors in the state, have given confidence to the industry, young entrepreneurs and a state government which is trying to lift the sagging industrial sector. Software Technology Parks of India, which has among the biggest facilities in the country here, too, has set up an incubator for startups (where space is provided to run operations at just Rs 7,000 per month).
The state government has also signed an MoU with the Indian School of Business to set up an e-start to accelerator programme, which will work on promoting and mentoring startups that deal in e-mobility, using IT in grain procurement and finding innovative ways to tackle the burning of stubble.
Tanu Kashyap, the state nodal officer for startups, told The Tribune, “We will be setting up a Venture Capital Fund for startups. It is because of the good road and air connectivity, high rain density, smooth movement of cargo and power availability, besides premium education institutions which produce the best of talent that we have one of the best of ecosystems.”
Speaking on the occasion, Padmaja Ruparel, co-founder of Indian Angel Network, while highlighting the urgent need to promote startups by governments, said the generation of jobs was not keeping pace with the population explosion. “We need to provide employment avenues to the global quality talent pool that we have created. Punjab is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and creating a conducive ecosystem for startups is the best way forward,” she said.
Nandu Nandkishore, former head of Asia, Africa and Oceania, Nestle, said Punjab was fast becoming a startup hub, while Kunal Upadhyay, co-founder of Bharat Fund, said the state had all the ingredients needed for being a startup hub.
Taranjeet Bhamra, founder, AgNext Technologies, stressed the need to create a central pool of talent for the rapid growth of startup culture in the state.
Param Singh, founder MoooFarms, while sharing his experience of building a successful startup in Punjab, said his startup, based on facial recognition of cattle, had trained over 30,000 women and farmers.
What industry leaders said
Tourism and hospitality is the major sector for development of any state and Punjab has tremendous religious tourism potential, which can be optimally utilised. The Investors Summit will go a long way in boosting trust and confidence among prospective investors and entrepreneurs. — PRS Oberoi, Executive Chairman, East India Hotels
There is a need for quality education and skill development, which are prerequisites for a robust industrial base in any state. There is a need to diversify agriculture and provide self-sustainable marketing mechanism to procure the produce of farmers at remunerative prices and to create synergy between industry and agriculture. — Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice-Chairman, Bharti Enterprise
The Vardhman Group has played a pivotal role in the industrial development of the state and has forayed into steel after textiles. The Group recently tied up with Japan’s steel major Aichi to tap the automotive sector. It has engaged nearly 30 per cent woman workers in its units and is providing all basic facilities, including boarding, lodging and transportation to them. — Suchita Jain, Vice Chairman, Vardhman Textiles
We have offered world-class technology — procured from the United States, Japan and Israel — to tackle the menace of pollution caused due to burning of crop residue. — Prakash Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group Europe
Investors love a state which is consistent with its policies, does not change taxes, does not change the rules of the game after somebody has invested. Lending is another important facet of providing financial support for initiation of any new venture. The state government’s initiative to hold this summit will help garner more investments. — Uday Kotak, CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank
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