36 hours idea exposition hackathon held at AIC-SMUTBI, Sikkim's Lagstal and Chakras Farm declared collective winners
Gangtok, January 24: An idea exposition hackathon on “Innovations in Agriculture, Sustainable Environment and Ecotourism” was organized by AIC-SMUTBI in collaboration with IKP, Bangalore and funded and supported by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) Regional Innovation Centre (BRIC) on 22nd and 23rd January 2021.
A 36-hour grind, from a pool of 15 startups, six were shortlisted for the finals which were put on fast track mentoring and funnelled through the final pitch.
Padma Shri Awardee of 2020, Miss Trinity Saioo, who heads the Lakhadong Movement in Meghalaya, was one of the key panellists who spoke on “The struggles of founders in Agri startups and what not to do”. Mulieh village in West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, a nondescript village comprises of 230 households who practise traditional agriculture. What is unique about this village is the fact that all the households grow the prized Lakadong Turmeric, because of the innovative and hard work of one lady farmer, who led from the front with exemplary and steadfast leadership. Her story of working with 800 farmers at the “Ieng Skhem Spice Producer Industrial Co-operative Society” for the production of Lakadong Turmeric and making it a commercially viable product was an inspiration to many.
Startup success stories sessions were delivered by Ms Reena Rai, Founder, Maato Studio and Karma Thutop and Pintso Gyatso, Co-Founders of ourguest.in (Topview Pvt Ltd).
Miss Reena Rai, highlighted the need for intervention of younger minds in bringing new and innovative business idea which otherwise were considered unconventional in the region.
Mr Karma Thutop and Mr Pintso Gyatso presented their struggles and pain points faced by them during their early days and the dark side of a startup after raising capitals from Institutional Fund.
The shortlisted startup founders were mentored by Ms. Deepanwita Chattopadhyay, Chairman and CEO, IKP Knowledge Park, Mr. Jyoti Saroop, GM, The Unati Co-op. Marketing-cum-Processing Society Ltd., Dr. Tej Chingtham, CEO, AIC-SMUTBI and Manish Kumar, Manager, IP & Licensing Services, Bharat BioTech.
The two winners of the hackathon are CAS Collective LLP (Lagtsal) and The Chakras Farm Pvt Ltd. The founders of the two startups Ms Chimi Bhutia and Mr Pranay expresses their gratitude to the organizers for bringing in innovative ways of fast track mentoring for growth hack of businesses in Sikkim and North East. The two startups were awarded a grant of Rs 50,000/- each.
“It was a struggle when we had to work till 1 am in the morning to get the business plan right but in the end, it paid off”, says Chimi Bhutia, Co-Founder, CAS Collective LLP (Lagtsal).
“Some of the opportunities that were only seen in bigger cities have started coming here now, we no longer have to travel to cities to validate our business plans and sincerely appreciate the efforts of AIC-SMUTBI for bringing such events closer home”, says Pranay, Co-Founder, The Chakras Farm Pvt Ltd.