Ways to make use of technology for the growth of rural India
A dozen speakers of international repute attended the two-day Rural India Business Conclave 2.0 being organized by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in association with Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) at the agricultural center’s premises in upstate Kasaragod.
RIBC 2.0 featured interactions by the country’s frontline startup entrepreneurs, sessions on the growth and prospects of technological growth in agriculture and food production and panel discussions on the scope of rural India as well as on the marketability of products developed through technologies devised by government-run establishments including CPCRI at Kasaragod.
Shri Rajmohan Unnithan, MP, inaugurated the conclave. In his address, Shri Unnithan explained how startups have to utilize the favorable conditions in the ecosystem and they must also realize that the future of the country lies in villages.Setting up a Technology Innovation Zone in the district on the lines of the existing one in Kochi is under consideration, said Shri N A Nellikunnu, MLA. he also hinted how there is a plan to take over the two acres of land lying vacant after the closure of a factory near the seashore in Kasaragod to set up an IT Facility.
Dr Anitha Karun, Director, ICAR-CPCRI; Dr K. Muraleedharan, Head, Kalpa Agri Business Incubator; Prof H. Venkateshwarlu, Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Kerala; Shri Mohammed Riyas, Project Director, KSUM; and Shri Ashok Kurien Panjikkaran, Senior Manager, KSUM; Shri Shanavas Padur, Vice President, District Panchayat, Kasaragod; Mrs Deepti Nair, Deputy Director, Coconut Development Board, were also present during the inauguration Function.
The experts and panel discussions included in the two day summit were Nagaraja Prakasam, Angel Investor and Startup Mentor, Acumen Fund; Mathew Joseph, Co-founder, Fresh-To-Home; K. Rupeshkumar, Coordinator, Kerala’s Responsible Tourism Mission; Dr Anitha Karun, Director, ICAR-CPCRI; Mohammed Hisamudheen, CEO & Co-founder, Entri App; Robin Tommy, Head, TCS Rapid Lab; Ajayan K. Anat, Managing Partner, Vrddhi CTS; Kishore Indukuri, CEO & Co-founder, Sid’s Farm; Manjunath Marappan, Founder & CEO, Happy Hens; ICAR representatives Dr K. Srinivas and Dr Sudha Mysore, and ESAF Retail Director Thomas K.T.
Social Alpha also conducted a startup pitch in which five startups participated. The SocialAlpha Team will be evaluating the startups and recommending funding procedures if interested.
RIBC 2.0 also hosted the Rural-AgriTech Hackathon along with the summit , seeking to promote innovative technical solutions that will contribute to the country’s agricultural growth. The hackathon was held at Kasaragod’s Wintouch Palm Meadows on June 9 and 10 which aimed to derive technical solutions for the agriculture sector and to develop technologies that are beneficial for tapping tourism possibilities of rural India. Team CODERS (Christ college of engineering Thrissur) won the Rural Rural-AgriTech Hackathon .The team was awarded Rs 50,000 cash prize and they will also get an opportunity to directly pitch the idea to secure KSUM’s innovation grant of Rs 12 lakh.
As a result of the summit and further talks held, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) and the Central University of Kerala(CUK), Kasaragod, have agreed to explore the possibility of setting up an Incubation Centre at the university, which will further strengthen the state’s startup ecosystem, especially in northern districts. The proposal envisages to make available the labs of the CUK for the initial activities of startups. Also, startups will get mentorship from a team of academic experts from the university.