4) ISBA 2007 The national conference on technology incubators being held at ICRISAT

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) along with ICICI Knowledge Park and the University of Hyderabad are organizing the first annual conference of the Indian STEP and Business Incubator Association (ISBA 2007) at its Patancheru headquarters from 25 to 27 February. STEP is Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Parks.

The conference has attracted around 150 delegates who are managers of technology incubator parks and companies that are being incubated in the STEPs and Business incubators. This conference has attracted 40 speakers and resource persons including top management of successful companies, such as Mr Ramalinga Raju, Chairman, Satyam Computers Ltd.

The Agri-Business Incubator at ICRISAT is a co-organizer of the conference, along with the ICICI Knowledge Park, Hyderabad, and the University of Hyderabad. The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and the Government of Andhra Pradesh are among the main sponsors of the conference.

The conference was inaugurated by the Minister for Tourism, Sugar and Major Industries, Commerce and Exports, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Honorable Dr J Geeta Reddy. Inaugurating the conference, Dr Reddy said that business incubation is a journey and not a job. Technology Business Incubators strengthen collaboration between industry and the academia, and turn ideas into viable businesses. She said that there are already five business incubators in and around Hyderabad , and two more are envisaged in the Shapoorji Pallonji Biotech Park and the ICICI Knowledge Park.

Dr Dyno Keatinge, Deputy Director General of ICRISAT, speaking on behalf of Director General William Dar, said that ICRISAT has catalyzed public-private partnerships through the Agri-Business Incubator. A very successful example is the development of sweet sorghum varieties and the incubation of a commercial venture to produce ethanol from these varieties in collaboration with Rusni Distilleries.

The Agri-Business Incubator at ICRISAT had received the best technology incubator award from the Government of India in 2006.

Mr HK Mittal, Advisor and Head, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, said that technology business incubators make business out of ideas. Incubators are finishing schools for future business tycoons.

ISBA, which was established in 2004 as a registered professional body to promote business incubation in India , aims to promote business incubation activities in the country through exchange of information, sharing of experience, and networking assistance.

The main objective of the ISBA annual conference is to raise the awareness among innovators, prospective entrepreneurs and other stakeholder groups about technology business incubation. Globally business incubators play a vital role by providing intensive support to creation and successful launch of business ventures. More than 4000 such incubators are in existence worldwide and it is a fact that the contribution is quite significant in terms of job creation, knowledge creation and wealth creation. The success rate of companies incubated is close to 80%.

A business incubator is a managed workspace with office facilities and business and professional services necessary for nurturing and supporting early stage growth of technologies and technology-based enterprises. The services may include modern communication and information services, and access to the R&D, testing, design and engineering facilities and services. The aim is to cover the risks involved in the early stages of incubation of technologies and techno-entrepreneurs particularly in the area of high technologies. In addition to workspace, the services provided by incubators can include various forms of business planning and managerial advice.

The National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) division of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India is spearheading the creation of Incubators in Universities and other institutions.

For further information, contact Dr KK Sharma at k(dot)shama(at)cgiar(dot)org.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.