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ICCO Convenes Stakeholders to Discuss Ways of Empowering Agri-Entrepreneurs in East and North-East India

New Delhi, 08 FEBRUARY, 2017: Aligned to the Government of India’s “Start-up India” initiative, ICCO organised “Partner Up: Agri-Business Connect”event, with support from partners, including Institute of Rural Management Anand, Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship, Tata Institute of Social Science, Labs Indigram, Smart Agri-Post, and Youth Net, as part of its concerted efforts to foster an entrepreneurial eco-system in East and North East India. Through the two day event, which also commemorated the closing of “Green Business Challenge (GBC) 2016”, participants discussed ways of upgrading value chains by empowering enterprises and integrating them in strategic partnerships, including impact investment.

The events took place on February 7 & 8, 2017 at India Habitat Centre and FICCI respectively. The first day had GBC 2016 finalists present their business plans in front of a seasoned jury. On the second day, a gathering of more than 90 eminent national and international stakeholders from the private sector, banks, knowledge institutions, Government and the development sector came together and deliberated on issues and opportunities in agribusiness and the way forward. This was followed by the award ceremony to announce the winners of GBC 2016. Out of 12 shortlisted finalists of the Green Business Challenge 2016, jury members selected four best entrepreneurs after the final pitching round, based on five criteria: business proposition; innovativeness; stage of business; social impact and team strength to pitch the business plan. The winners were awarded with cash prizes and they will also receive incubation support for the next eight months for growing their agri-businesses. There was also a special award of recognition for an outstanding woman entrepreneur.

The winner of ICCO’s Green Business Challenge 2016 was Dependable Agri Services Pvt. Ltd., a company that aims to play a critical role in disseminating knowledge and services in the agribusiness domain of Odisha, impacting the lives of thousands of farmers in the region. Through the incubation support, Dependable Agri Services wishes to manufacture and distribute quality liquid organic manure in the name of “DeepNutri” which will improve productivity of farmers significantly at a reasonable price, thereby aiding organic farming in the region and better economic status of farmers.

During the event, Mr. Alphonsus Stoelinga, Ambassador of Kingdom of the Netherlands to India, Mr. Gaurav Gogoi, Honourable Member of Parliament – Lok Sabha, Mr. Sobhana Pattanayak, Secretary of Department of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmer Welfare, and Dr. Bindu Dey, Secretary of Technology Development Board, were present as special guests

Mr. Alphonsus Stoelinga emphasized the Dutch Government’s commitment to working with the Government of India and other partners like ICCO to promote agriculture related initiatives in India.
Mr. Gaurav Gogoi remarked that there was a constant need for events like the Agri Business Connect, which will serve as a gateway to connect the best brains from the east and north east region of India with the rest of the country.