The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation, the impact arm of non-profit organisation The/Nudge and San Jose, California based networking giant Cisco have come together to launch an innovation challenge for agri-tech startups.
Dubbed the Cisco Agri Challenge, the programme is launched in association with the Government of India. It aims to mobilize agri-tech startups to innovate solutions that have the potential to positively impact at least 10 million small farmers, according to a statement.
With a prize purse of Rs 2 crores, the challenge will run in stages over twelve months. Entries to the innovation challenge are now open.
The programme will support startups in developing, testing, and scaling solutions that help alleviate the issues of low income and diminishing profitability for farmers in India.
"Through the Cisco Agri Challenge platform, we aim to accelerate digital transformation in the agriculture sector. We are not only incubating agritech startups, but also bringing together a powerful ecosystem of investors, domain experts, and government stakeholders to galvanize action and bring to market scalable solutions that can help boost farmers' incomes and improve their decision-making," Harish Krishnan, managing director, public affairs and strategic engagements, Cisco India and SAARC, said.
The conceptualization and management of the programme have been undertaken by The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation.
Participants will be mentored by experts like Mark Kahn, managing partner, Omnivore; Anil Kumar SG, founder and CEO, Samunnati; Samit Ghosh (Founder, Ujjivan) and Shamika Ravi, non-resident senior fellow, Brookings Institution).
The programme has also tied up with institutions such as NSRCEL, IIM Bangalore, Purdue University and Sattva Consulting for knowledge and technology expertise; investors including Bharat Innovation Fund, Aavishkaar Capital, and Menterra; and its immersion partners include The AgHub, Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), and agri-tech investor Nagaraja Prakasam. In addition, it will also have a policy circle to enable access to administrative units and communities for pilots, the statement added.
"Our aim is to scale innovation for income growth of small farmers. This will axiomatically augment GVA and the rural economy. Small technological advantages can lead to an inordinate impact on agricultural livelihood. We're leveraging public-private partnerships to achieve big shifts," Atul Satija, CEO, The/Nudge Foundation, said.
Nudge Foundation’s incubation arm N/Core runs a six-month program with Cisco for non-profit startups solving social and economic problems using technology. It incubates startups from a host of sectors including telemedicine, school education, blood donation, urban governance, smart toilet, computer education, career planning, and water treatment.