Newsroom  Press releases  2003

20) Agri-Business Incubator off the starter (30 April 2003)

The project to establish an Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) was kicked-off recently with the first meeting of its Governing Body members.

According to Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT and Chairman of the ABI Board, the project will give an opportunity for entrepreneurs to incubate technologies so that they become effective agri-business ventures. The entrepreneurs will also get the opportunity to tap the expertise of ICRISAT's scientists since the Incubator project will be hosted inside the Institute's Patancheru campus.

"Technologies that are nurtured and incubated have better chances of becoming commercial successes than those that do not follow this process," Dr Dar added. "All technologies that show promise in the laboratories need not necessarily make good commercial ventures. The Incubator will provide the appropriate facility for the entrepreneur to test out the technologies."

The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, has visualized the ABI as a national facility and has provided the initial corpus funding of Rs 2.5 crore for establishing it.

It will enable entrepreneurs wishing to incubate agri-business technologies to hire working space and shared scientific equipment. Within the five years that an entrepreneur spends in ABI it is hoped that his technology can be incubated to a stage where investment can be made for commercial production.

Incubation of technologies is the critical stage where the technology comes out of the laboratories and it is tested for performance, market acceptability and viability before scaling up to larger commercial projects.
The entrepreneurs can identify the technology they want to incubate and develop a business plan for their individual projects. They can, however take help from the ABI management in these areas.

The services that will be marketed by ABI are consultancy, technical evaluation, and exploring the business opportunities of the technologies identified (in collaboration with the International School of Business).

In addition to ICRISAT, the institutions represented on the Board of ABI are the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, DST, the Andhra Pradesh State Seeds Corporation, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation.

At ICRISAT the ABI project is being facilitated as part of the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC). Another project being facilitated by TIC is the establishment of an Agri-Biotech Park, which will be part of the Genome Valley visualized by the Andhra Pradesh Government.

For more information contact Dr V Mahalakshmi at v(dot)mahalakshmi(at)cgiar(dot)org.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.