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."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.