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Innovation Mission Punjab launched; will unleash potential of startups to fuel growth

Updated on Thursday, September 02, 2021 06:24 AM IST

Chandigarh - Punjab is an entrepreneurial State with a strong footprint of entrepreneurs across the world and India. It has a burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem with ~450 startups, 20+ incubators and Innovation Mission Punjab (IMPunjab) will act as a catalyst to strengthen it. It will rally all stakeholders – academia, incubators, investors, startups, government, progressive farmers, sports people, media, industry, corporates – to create a vibrant startup ecosystem and establish Punjab among the top 3 innovation hubs in India.

The Mission is a unique public-private partnership, championed by the private sector with strong government backing. As partners Dept of Agriculture, Dept of Industries and Commerce, Mandi Board and Startup Punjab are providing over INR 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 is being chaired by Pramod Bhasin, founder Genpact and Asha Impact.

Formally launching the Mission at a virtual event, Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh said, “The Mission will unleash Punjab’s growth potential and create a thriving economy by generating jobs and inviting investment.”

IMPunjab is backed by some of the marquee names in the private sector as well as strong representation from the Government including the existing Additional Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce. Other Board of Directors include eminent leaders such as Saurabh Srivastava, widely acknowledged as an architect of the Indian IT Industry, D.S. Brar, Promoter-Chairman, GVK Bio, noted economist Ajay Shah and award-winning film producer Bobby Bedi. The Mission also has Naina Lal kidwai, Manoj Kohli, Ido aharoni, architect of Brand Israel, Vikram Gandhi, Harvard Business School Professor and co-founder Asha Impact, Kunal Bahl, Sehraj Singh and other business leaders on its Advisory Board.

The Mission stands firmly on three pillars

Pollinator: To create a network of virtual incubators and organise events such as bootcamps, ideathons, pitch days to create a vibrant startup ecosystem

Accelerator: An 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

Venture Fund: A INR 150 crore venture fund to support early-growth stage startups. The government will provide 10% of the corpus and guarantees of upto INR 10 crore cumulatively to incentivise early investors.

The Mission brings a strong convening power and will mobilize a global pool of ambassadors and partners for investment, mentorship and market access. It will leverage the strength of the Punjabi diaspora, allowing them to partake in this renewed growth story of Punjab.

It will also run focused programs to encourage entrepreneurship amongst women

Elaborating on the larger objectives of the Mission, Mr. Bhasin said, “We will take far-reaching steps to put Punjab on the global startup map by building impetus for entrepreneurship communities and collaborating with investors, industry and academia. 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.”

Bringing the agenda to life, the Mission announced a one-stop web portal (impunjab.org) and a grand ideathon in partnership with incubators, inviting budding entrepreneurs, young professionals and students across the State.

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