GUWAHATI, June 10: Assam Agribusiness Growth Lab, an APART led acceleration program in partnership with CIIE.CO, IIM Ahmedabad’s incubator, completing its inaugural cohort, successfully staged “Pitching & Demo Day” on Friday. The Demo Day was a coming together of stakeholders, government agencies, financial bodies, investors, buyers with the AAGL entrepreneurs in focus. Ashish Bhutani, IAS, state project director of APART was at the event as the chief guest. The rest of the industry stalwarts present were from DIC, NEDFi, NRL, NABARD, HDFC bank, North East Small Finance Bank, CII, FINER, SELCO Foundation, Department of Fisheries, Department of Agriculture, ARIAS Society, World Veg, World Fish, IRRI, etc. CIIE.CO in partnership with ICCSPL is co-implementing this acceleration programme in Assam that was officially launched on June 30, 2021.
Bhutani categorically remarked, “Govt of Assam is committed to promote an enabling agriculture enterprise ecosystem in the state. Towards this, APART has initiated the Assam Agribusiness Growth Lab program to foster and accelerate the growth of the Agro-processing sector. APART encourages entrepreneurs to spearhead the development of the State. We welcome CIIE.CO‘S effort in implementing a much-needed program for achieving results.”
Assam Agribusiness Growth Lab (AAGL) organised the Demo Day primarily to interpret its flagship journey of 1 year of the Cohort acceleration process. After a series of business and technical interventions and 2 Boot Camps, the cohort of 25 Agri-enterprises will now be engaging with investors, buyers and market platforms leading to access to finance and markets. A pitch session followed by Q&A by the invitees for each startup marked the event. The Demo Day saw 10 enterprises pitching their businesses before a group of reputed investors representing agencies as diverse as Menterra, Caspian, NEDFi, NRL, HDFC Bank, AGVB etc. showing potential for immense investment opportunities in the Agri and allied sector in Assam.
The event kick-started with round-table discussions among diverse ecosystem players and engaged the entrepreneurs with different stakeholders towards access to finance & markets. The most valuable takeaways were the business insights on upscaling businesses and navigating the challenges faced by the entrepreneurs in terms of regulating cash flow, strengthening the supply chain, customer acquisition, maintaining unit economics and financial hygiene, quality assurance, while resolving a business problem statement with innovation and technology infusion.
Chintan Bakshi, partner CIIE.CO and CEO Startupoasis stated, “The AAGL is a path-breaking program not only for Assam but it is also a potential trend-setter for supporting Agri-based businesses and MSMEs across India. CIIEI has used its deep expertise in startup incubation and acceleration to provide deep mentoring, business advisory, fundraising and market access support to agribusinesses from Assam. “
Another event highlight was the launch of Freshdo App, an AAGL incubatee, which is an online essentials delivery platform for farm fresh vegetables, fruits and meat. Arijit Sarmah, AAGL team leader and senior manager, Regional Incubation, CIIE.CO demonstrated on the Call for Application URL hyperlinked to the AAGL website (https://aagl.ciie.co/) for its upcoming cohort and urged every eligible Agri-entrepreneur of Assam to apply to the program. Pitching & Demo Day concluded with the participants taking a tour of the display of the AAGL enterprises’ products. All the key stakeholders lauded the APART initiative and congratulated the AAGL team for contributing to the cause of developing the agribusiness ecosystem of Assam. Nitin Singh of APART delivered a vote of thanks.