Dubai: As many as 400 startups from India have so far shown their credentials to potential investors and clients through the Innovation Hub at the Expo site. And there could be some more ahead of the event’s closing on March 31.
“The idea of the India Innovation Hub was all about exposure, giving people a platform to open up to this part of the world,” said an official from an Indian industry grouping. “As of now, three startups have signed deals and eight others are in the process of due diligence (with likely investors).”
The Innovation Hub is a specially fitted out bus that gives startup owners a chance to give a quick presentation of what they are bringing to market and what they could do with in terms of funds. The bus has also hosted startups from other countries, including Switzerland, Italy, the UK, among others.
Next month’s first Elevate session will host startups led by Indians from other GCC countries too. Bibin Babu, co-founder of Colexion, said, “Most of the companies who pitched in the last one were post-revenue - this means the products these businesses are building are tested and have been accepted. That's important because a lot of time entrepreneurs just go back to the drawing board and we build something that people might not buy. At Elevate, startups actually prove that people are building products that are required.”
The Indian government is focussing on improving farming productivity, reducing the cost of agriculture production and diversifying into different product produce. “From using tractor tiller and harvesters, we have moved to even the digital eco-space,” said P.K. Swain, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare. “We are using AI, Blockchain, IoT and space technology to boost agriculture productivity.”
Talking about the agri-tech startup space in India, he said, “We have got knowledge partners and incubation centers that invite startups to be interviewed for the selection process. The startups will receive free and intensive training under the national programme.”
India has the third-highest number of incubators with over 250 of them. A startup incubator is a collaborative programme designed to help new entrants grow their businesses. Mostly, incubators are non-profit organizations usually run by both public and private entities.
Incentives for incubators
- Infrastructure: Host institutes are provided with a capital grant of a maximum 50 per cent for IT infrastructure setup, subject to a maximum of Rs2 million.
- Operational allowance: The selected incubators to get the financial support up to the tune of Rs500,000 per year for five years covering the deficit of the operational expenditure of Incubators.
- Mentoring assistance: Selected incubators are required to appoint a minimum of two mentors to be paid on an honorary basis up to Rs200,000 per Annum