With the objective to tap Punjab’s growth potential by
developing a vibrant environment for entrepreneurship, Chief Minister Captain
Amarinder Singh on Wednesday launched ‘Innovation Mission Punjab’(IMPunjab), a
public private partnership that brings in the best global investors and experts
to catalyze start ups making Punjab one of the top three States in innovation.
Speaking at the virtual event, the Chief Minister said that
the Mission will unleash Punjab’s growth potential and create a thriving
economy by generating jobs and inviting investment. The Mission will mobilize a
global pool of ambassadors and partners for investment, mentorship and market
access, said Captain Amarinder Singh adding the mission will also leverage the
strength of the Punjabi diaspora, allowing them to partake in this renewed
growth story of Punjab besides running focused programs to encourage
entrepreneurship amongst women.
On the occasion, a grand ideathon was also announced in
partnership with incubators, inviting budding entrepreneurs, young professionals and students across the state.
Showcasing Punjab as an entrepreneurial State with a strong
footprint of entrepreneurs across the world and India, the Chief Minister said
that the State has a burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem with 450 startups and
20+ incubators. Besides, the Innovation Mission Punjab will act as a catalyst
to strengthen by rallying rally all the stakeholders viz. academia, incubators,
investors, startups, government, progressive farmers, sports people, media,
industry and corporate, said Captain Amarinder Singh.
The Chief Minister further said that the Mission is a
unique public-private partnership, championed by the private sector with strong
government backing. As partners Department of Agriculture, Industries and
Commerce, Mandi Board and Startup Punjab are providing over Rs. 30 crores in
cash and kind, including operating expenses for the first three years, 10 year
rent-free lease for 12,000 sq ft at Kalkat Bhavan and support to startups and
incubators in the State. The Mission stands firmly on three pillars namely
Pollinator- To create a network of virtual incubators and organise events such
as bootcamps, ideathons, pitch days to create a vibrant startup ecosystem,
Accelerator: To provide structured guidance and curated mentorship to startups
through sector and stage-specific programs. The accelerator will be set up at
Kalkat Bhavan and a Venture Fund of Rs. 150 crore to support early-growth stage
startups. The State government will provide 10% of the corpus and guarantees
upto Rs. 10 crore cumulatively to incentivize early investors.
The Mission will play to Punjab’s sectoral strengths,
supporting businesses in diverse arenas, including healthcare, pharma &
biotech, food & agriculture, manufacturing, media & entertainment and
more, added the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, eminent economist Montek Singh Ahluwalia while
describing innovation as the important factor in the start ups, said that the
innovation mission would get going in true sense once the things get back to
normal and a post Covid scenario emerges. He mentioned digital connectivity and
Artificial Intelligence as key areas of the start up sector.
Taking part in the deliberations, Chief Secretary Vini
Mahajan said that Punjab's time has come in the start up sector which is a new
kid on the Block. At the time of framing the New Business policy in 2017, the
start ups were given a prominent place, said the Chief Secretary encouraging
new start ups to explore Punjab as the new investment destination.
Elaborating on the larger objectives of the Mission,
founder Genpact and Asha Impact Pramod Bhasin said, “The start up wave is in
the air and Mohali, Chandigarh and Ludhiana have the potential to emerge as the
start up hubs and far-reaching steps to put Punjab on the global startup map
would be undertaken by building impetus for entrepreneurship communities and
collaborating with investors, industry and academia."
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Among others who shared their ideas included Managing
Director Sequoia Capital Rajan Anandan, Co-founder and CEO Snapdeal Kunal Bahl
and Founder Socksoho Pritika Mehta.