India: Startup incubator T-Hub has teamed up with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) to launch an accelerator programme for agri-tech startups in order to increase incomes of small farmers and to promote entrepreneurship in agriculture through the utilisation of ICT.
T-Hub is a public/private partnership between the Government of Telengana, three of India’s leading academic institutes (International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad; Indian School of Business and Nalsar University of Law) and the private sector. It bills itself as standing at the intersection of the start-up, academic, corporate, research and government sectors.
The three-month programme called AgriTech Accelerator is powered by RViP (Riverbridge Ventures Innovations Platform) and will begin on February 15, 2017.
During the three-month acceleration period, RViP, in association with ICRISAT and T-Hub, will engage with startups and provide financial advice, marketing know-how and other functional expertise to enable growth and scale. The programme began accepting applications from November 2, 2016.
“The potential to innovate and scale innovation from startups is what we are trying to achieve through the AgriTech Accelerator. With AgriTech being a specialised vertical at T-Hub, we are sourcing the top startups globally to come up with solutions which will solve the myriad challenges faced by the sector,” explains Jay Krishnan, CEO, T-Hub.
Krishnan adds that through this sector and stage-focused approach, the accelerator is banking on providing interventions to the top startups that get selected for the accelerator to allow them to scale and go-to-market with the right methodologies.
The programme is designed to enable participating startups to scale their projects through real-time management, full-time engagement, and knowledge sharing. The selection process involves up to three levels of application screening including manual screening to curate the most relevant applications. The process will culminate with the top 10 participants being identified.
“In order to double Indian farmers’ income by 2022, we need to accelerate the development and delivery of demand-driven innovation that gives economic agency to farmers,” says Krishnan.
The AgriTech Accelerator program will bring together agriculture, IT, and finance entrepreneurs to develop tailored services, technologies, and market integration to support sustainable (social, economic, environmental) rural development at scale,” said Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT.
With an aim to aid and incubate budding entrepreneurs, the Telangana government launched T-Hub, a private/public partnership initiative, in September 2015. Spread over 70,000 square feet, with seating capacity for 800 people, the incubator can house up to 150 startups.
Indian farmers as part of the agricultural value chain need access to relevant and timely information such as weather forecasts, ideal dates for planting and other farm operations, appropriate crop varieties, potential return on investment among others. However, it is not easy for farmers to access and analyse this information. This is where digital entrepreneurs can play an important role in gathering, analysing and disseminating that information to farmers in a more accessible medium.