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“Brackishwater start-up initiative’’ under Startup India campaign of Government of India was organised at ICAR-CIBA, Chennai on 17th March 2016, along with a one-day workshop familiarizing the start-up entrepreneurs on the initiatives taken up by the institute highlighting different technologies developed by CIBA. Agricultural Business Incubator (ABI) funded by National Agricultural Innovation Fund of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was also formally launched during the programme. Current and prospective entrepreneurs of brackishwater aquaculture sector from different parts of India participated in this whole day event to acquire knowledge about this less exploited, but emerging sector. Business Incubation activities of ICAR- CIBA started about three years back with a technology commercialization revenue of Rs. 5 lakh rupees but it has progressed very rapidly, and in the year 2014-15 revenue of 40 lakh rupees was realized. A reputation was built-up by CIBA through collaborative programmes, and institutions such as Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai (IIT-Madras), Seafood Export Association of India (SEAI), Matsyafed under Government of Kerala etc. have already become the partners.

Mr. S. Panikkassery, Director, Micro Small and medium Enterprises- Development Institute MSME-DI, Chennai inaugurating the “Brackishwater start-up initiative’’ under Start up India at ICAR-CIBA, on March 17th 2016

Mr. S. Panikkassery, Director, Micro Small and medium Enterprises- Development Institute MSME-DI, has inaugurated the programme, and in his inaugural address he mentioned that more than 95% of entrepreneurs are from micro sector and starting of business requires more of motivation than education, and he suggested that CIBA would be able to hand-hold and help the new entrepreneurs to be successful, and promised all support from MSME. The guest of honour, Head of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Tamil Nadu State Council (FICCI), Mr. Ruban Hobday highlighted the need to reduce the gap between institutes, industry and the commercialization. Regarding the start-up programme he suggested to have novel idea for entrepreneurship and grow with innovation. He assured that FICCI will keep its option open for aquaculture as they have for agricultural business. He also offered support to CIBA to bring out a knowledge paper on aquaculture that can be used by start-ups.

Dr.M. Sakthivel, President, Aquaculture Foundation of India, provided an overview about the opportunities in the aquaculture sector. His speech highlighted the abundant brackishwater resources available in the country to have aquaculture start-ups. Dr. K. K. Vijayan Director ICAR-CIBA delivered the presidential address pointed out the importance of close association between science and entrepreneurship. Mentioning the population growth of India and need to produce more healthy food such as finfish and shellfish, he suggested even a family farming unit is a start-up by which the production can be multiplied to several folds. To highlight the importance and uniqueness of aquaculture sector, he mentioned that it is the only sector which can provide high employment, food and profit at the same time.

In the technical sessions that ensued Dr. Kavitha CEO, Fibsol, Chennai, Dr. V. Shanta Professor, Biotechnology, IIT, Madras and M/S Erukava, Hyderabad shared their experiences in developing industrial applications. Dr.K.Suresh from National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad and Mr.Karuppan Chetty, Agri Business Incubator-International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ABI-ICRISAT), Hyderabad shared the details of support to start-ups from their institutions. Head of Division/ Section in charges, Dr.K.Ambasankar, Dr.S.V.Alavandi, Dr. M.Muralidhar, Dr, M.Kailasam and Dr,C.Gopal gave presentations on technologies on seed, feed, farm inputs and diagnostic and analytic kits ready for commercialization in CIBA. Dr.T.Ravisankar, Principal Investigator of Agricultural Business Incubator (ABI) project funded by National Agricultural Innovation Fund of ICAR welcomed the gathering in the inaugural session and Dr. P.K.Patil, Senior Scientist and Co- Principal Investigator of the project proposed vote of thanks.