The Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) program of AIP-ICRISAT conducted a one-day workshop for Mentors of the Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubators (NIABI) under the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) on ‘Handholding and Mentoring of BPD Units of NARS’ on 24 December at ICRISAT-Patancheru. The workshop was to facilitate mentoring arrangements for the NAIP-BPD units to facilitate funding for their entrepreneurs.
Mentors, business incubator managers and entrepreneurs deliberated on identifying areas of support required by the BPD units and entrepreneurs. The bankers guided the mentors and clients with information on funding. Modalities of engagement were worked out and 13 formal agreements were signed and exchanged among mentors and mentees.
Delivering the welcome address, Dr Kiran Sharma, CEO, AIP-ICRISAT gave a brief overview of NIABI’s activities over the last two years. Speaking on behalf of Director General William Dar, Dr CLL Gowda, Director, Research Program on Grain Legumes emphasized the crucial role of incubators in bringing different stakeholders together to accelerate the development of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services.
Chief Guest, Dr Bangali Baboo, National Director, NAIP, spoke on the need to promote agri-business for the well-being of society and on making it commercially viable for job generation within the agriculture sector. He underlined the three key elements for successful hand holding and mentoring of the BPDs, namely, analysis of the techno-economic viability of entrepreneurial ideas, generation of commercial data, and creation of effective and detailed project reports for clients by the BPD units.
Over 60 participants, including Principal Investigators (PIs) and business managers of NAIP BPD units, entrepreneurs of BPD units, mentors of NIABI, senior bankers and ICRISAT staff participated in the meeting. The event also saw the release of NIABI-Nexus, the bi-annual newsletter of NIABI, and the NIABI year planner for 2013 by Drs Baboo, Gowda and Sharma.