Under the accelerator program, IM Punjab will invest in startups working across agritech, deeptech, food processing, logistics, and edtech, among others
“From 35 to 40 startups that were earlier registered, we now have nearly 300 recognised startups and close to 1000 entrepreneurs working in the state,” Somaveer Singh, CEO of IM Punjab, informed
IM Punjab is also leading an entrepreneurial awareness program for college students called Pollinator and will create an INR 150 Cr Innovation fund by the next year
To build Punjab’s startup ecosystem, the state and privately-held organisation Innovation Mission Punjab’s (IM Punjab) accelerator program will be launching its cohort for startups by late July or early August this year.
Under the accelerator program, IM Punjab will invest INR 3 Lakh to a minimum of 15 startups that would work across sectors including agritech, deeptech, food processing, logistics, and edtech, among others.
“Each startup will get INR 3 Lakhs to grant as work on inputs during the accelerator program for piloting in different markets, creating scalability, and leveraging technology,” Abhishek Purohit, head of accelerator program at IM Punjab, told Inc42.
According to Somaveer Singh, CEO of IM Punjab, the state, which offers opportunities in textiles, agriculture, automotive and other allied sectors, does not have a burgeoning startup ecosystem unlike other provinces. Before the inception of IM Punjab, there were a marginal number of startups working in the state; however, now a 4x growth in the count of startups has been witnessed.
“Presently, the number of registered startups working in Punjab have grown by 4x after formation of the new government. From 35 to 40 startups that were earlier registered, we now have nearly 300 recognised startups and close to 1000 entrepreneurs working in the state,” Singh said.
Instilling The Entrepreneurship Zeal In Punjab’s Youth
Punjab, which clocked Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) at a CAGR of 6.78% between 2016 and 2021, has a large young demographic at present.
“We realised that people were extremely entrepreneurial here. I am in Mohali right now. Within 200 kms of Chandigarh, there are six academic institutes right from IIT Ropar to IISER Mohali to PAU, Ludhiana. We have such fantastic institutes here but we do not have commercialization of technology,” Singh shared.
Over the years, the state government is asking different departments to support diverse sectors of Punjab; however, nothing is coming in terms of collating and bringing innovation. To lead technological innovation in diverse sectors, the state government set up IM Punjab in late 2021.
IM Punjab is essentially a public private partnership, which means that the state government mandates and supports the entity financially whilst the private sector leads the organisation.
Apart from the accelerator program, IM Punjab is also leading an entrepreneurial awareness program for college students called Pollinator. Under this initiative, the organisation holds contests and workshops in universities thereby, teaching the significance of entrepreneurship to youth.
The state-led organisation is looking to create an INR 150 Cr innovation fund to invest in early-stage startups working across sectors such as agritech, food processing, healthcare, and gaming, among others.
It is further planning to organise an entrepreneurs’ mela in early September this year. “Nowadays, young boys and girls start getting a little scared talking to big investors and entrepreneurs. So, our job is to help youth overcome these issues and offer them a platform to represent themselves and their business. For this, we are launching a two-day Entrepreneurs’ Mela this year,” Singh informed.
In the entrepreneurs’ mela, startups will be demonstrating their products and services. Women entrepreneurs will also get an opportunity to showcase their skills and seek investment from individual investors.
“Homepreneurs are silent warriors in the state, who run bakeries and create phulkari and juttis. We seek these women to showcase their business to others and grab investors’ attention at the same time,” Singh added.