2) ICRISAT’s Agri-Business Incubator awarded as best in Asia-Pacific

The Agri-Business Incubator at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ABI-ICRISAT) won the prestigious AABI (Asian Association of Business Incubation) Award for the year 2008. The award was presented by Mr Saffar Annuar, President of AABI at the 13th General Assembly held in Seoul, Korea, recently.

The Asian Association of Business Incubation promotes business incubation activities by facilitating information exchanges among incubators, incubator clients and related organizations in Asia Pacific. It is composed of organizations operating incubation programs in the Asia-Pacific region. There are more than 1,000 incubators in this region.

According to Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, this is a significant achievement for the second time for ABI-ICRISAT. ABI had received the national award for Best Business Incubator for 2005 from the Government of India in May 2006.

“This is a recognition of our initiatives in public-private partnership and highlight ICRISAT’s unique model of incubation in agri-business. ABI-ICRISAT is an innovative institutional mechanism to facilitate technology commercialization and reach out to farmers through agri-business ventures,” Dr Dar said.

“Through ABI-ICRISAT, we could make a difference to the livelihood of nearly 30,000 farmers through various products and services to over 60 incubated ventures. Currently, we are replicating similar agri-business incubator initiatives in partnership with domestic and international agricultural research institutes,” Dr Dar added.

ABI-ICRISAT was established with support from the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, in the year 2003.

ABI-ICRISAT promotes technology commercialization through public-private partnership under the Agri-Science Park at ICRISAT. It provides opportunity for entrepreneurs to incubate agricultural technologies so that they become effective agri-business ventures. ABI-ICRISAT also provides a range of services that include agricultural technologies, business consultancy, facilitation of funding, and provision of infrastructure and facilities at ICRISAT, Patancheru. Entrepreneurs also get the opportunity to tap the expertise of ICRISAT's scientists.

ABI-ICRISAT has pioneered the commercialization of the sweet sorghum-based ethanol venture. It has also successfully commercialized ICRISAT’s groundnut ICGV 91114 and chickpea variety JG 11 in Andhra Pradesh, India, together with Aakruthi Agricultural Associates of India. It has also incubated 35 ventures and generated direct employment for over 550 and mobilized US$8 million for the companies that it has incubated.

ABI-ICRISAT has also facilitated the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to establish five Business Processing and Development (BPD) Units across India.

More recently, ABI-ICRISAT has been accredited as an outreach Center for Technopreneur Promotion Program (TePP) by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. TePP is jointly operated by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) of DST to tap the vast innovative potential of the citizens of India. TePP is a mechanism to promote individual innovators to become technology-based entrepreneurs (Technopreneurs).

Similar initiatives have resulted in developing and operating business incubators in collaboration with national agricultural research systems – the Investigação Agrária de Moçambique (IIAM) of Mozambique and the Agricultural Research and Extension Unit (AREU) of Mauritius. In India, ABI-ICRISAT has helped initiate an agri-business incubator for the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University at Coimbatore, and partnered with the Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Park (STEP), Thapar University, Patiala, Punjab, on co-business incubation.

For further information, contact Dr Kiran Sharma at .

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