STPI launches Open Challenge Program 1.0 to foster Agritech


Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) launched an Open Challenge Program (OCP) 1.0 of FASAL (Fostering AgriTech Startups for Augmenting Livelihood), a Centre of Entrepreneurship (CoE) for IoT in Agriculture at Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), Akola, Maharashtra in association with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). The objective of this CoE is to create the holistic ecosystem for encouraging innovation, R&D and Entrepreneurship in AgriTech domain and to address the problems of farmers in the region to increase their productivity and profitability.

While launching the Open Challenge Program (OCP) 1.0 of FASAL Dr. Omkar Rai, Director General, highlighted, “All those who are participating in the challenge program should understand the agricultural challenges of the Akola & Vidarbha region to convert their ideas into innovative AgriTech products. You can see how Israel has addressed the agricultural challenges of the country by leveraging the innovations in the agricultural technologies and empowering the farmers to adopt the modern technologies to enhance yield. We have the similar kind of innovation ecosystem at FASAL. Our 20 CoEs are well integrated in terms of facilities, mentoring & labs. So, any startup being incubated in any CoE can access all the facilities that we provide to startups on pan-India scale. ”

 Dr. Anand Deshpande, Founder & CMD, Persistent Systems and Chief Mentor, FASAL said, “We have to look at the agriculture sector as an industry. There is a tremendous opportunity for startups focused on agriculture to build smart AgriTech products to significantly improve productivity of farmers by enabling them to leverage smart agricultural technologies apropos farmers’ needs. FASAL will address these challenges in a more streamlined manner.”

 Dr. V. M. Bhale, Vice Chancellor, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola stated, “FASAL can solve the problems of farmers in the Vidarbha region by providing them the right AgriTech solution to lower input costs for farming, increase yield, help access to the right marketplace, and improve their income. Vertical farming can also provide enormous opportunities to farmers to multiply their harvest potential.”

 The facility of FASAL CoE is spread over the area of 10,000 sq. ft with state-of-the-art incubation center housed in the campus of Dr. PDKV, Akola. FASAL will have domain specific physical laboratories like Digital Framing Lab, Agri IoT Lab, Predictive Analytics Lab and Hi-Tech hydroponic vertical farming setup with required equipment, software in the domain to support the startups for PoC,prototyping, product development or testing their solutions. The Centre along with state-of-the-art incubation center and world class physical laboratory, will provide the support like training, mentoring, marketing, networking, outreach, access to funding resources, IPR/ patenting assistance and other requisite support to the startups and entrepreneurs working in Agri-Tech domain. It is provisioned in CoE to provide funding support up to Rs. 10 Lakh per startup in addition to the access to other financial resources.

 The CoE is supported by partners comprising leading stakeholders from Government, Academia, Industry & Industry Associations like Dr. PDKV Akola, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) New Delhi, Agriculture Insurance Company of India Ltd. (AIC), KVK Akola, College of Engineering & Technology Akola, SatSureAnalytis India Pvt. Ltd. Bangalore, Amazing Aerial Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Pune, ioCare Pune, Indian Society of Agricultural Engineers (ISAE) New Delhi and TiE Mumbai.

 Open Challenge Program (OCP)

 Open Challenge Program is a platform where a startup gets an opportunity to solve problems through innovative solutions. The objective of Open Challenge Program (OCP) is to identity, recognize & reward aspiring and early-stage tech entrepreneurs and innovators in Smart Agriculture / AgriTech domain. This platform facilitates aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators and their success through strategic networking, seed funding, mentoring, providing support for training, marketing, patenting, access to the CoE labs, tools, software and state-of-the-art incubation facility. The start-ups having any innovative idea/ prototype / solution in Agri-Tech domain are encouraged to apply for CoE FASAL through this Open Challenge Program.


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