Minister emphasised the significant role that startups play in fostering growth within the food processing industry, while inauguration the a startup conclave.

Minister of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), Pashupati Kumar Paras, emphasised the crucial part that startups play in supporting growth in the food processing industry. He said that the government is committed to assisting aspiring entrepreneurs in this industry. The minister delivered these remarks at the launch of the “SUFALAM: Start-Up Forum for Aspiring Leaders and Mentors Startup Conclave 2024”.

MoFPI and NIFTEM-K jointly organised the two-day event on the 13th and 14th of February, 2024. The objective of the conclave was to facilitate collaboration, knowledge exchange, and the advancement of food processing startups, which is imperative for fostering growth and innovation within the food processing industry.

The minister underscored “the pivotal role of startups in the food processing sector.” Paras highlighted that events like these facilitate networking and knowledge exchange, in addition to assisting startups in accessing various government schemes.

Dignitaries at Food Processing startup Conclave
Dignitaries at Food Processing startup Conclave

He also stressed how the government is highly committed to nurturing the entrepreneurs in the country and working towards creating an enabling ecosystem for startups around the country.

“This initiative stands as a testament to the government’s steadfast commitment to nurturing entrepreneurship and creating an enabling ecosystem for startups, thereby empowering aspiring entrepreneurs in the food processing domain,” he said.

Shobha Karandlaje, Minister of State for Food Processing, covered critical aspects concerning the supply chain and the food processing industry. She highlighted the sector’s potential in fulfilling the Prime Minister’s vision of doubling farmers’ income and positioning India prominently on the global stage through increased exports, innovation, and meeting global food demands.

The Food Processing Secretary Anita Praveen emphasised the importance of registering all micro-entrepreneurs, Self-Help Groups (SHGs), and MSMEs on the StartUp India Portal. She also explained the vast scope for processing and value addition of agricultural produce.

Additionally, she discussed the various schemes of the ministry aimed at supporting and guiding startups to ensure their success and contribute to realising the Prime Minister’s vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).

Minhaj Alam, Additional Secretary of the Food Processing Ministry, and Dr Harinder Singh Oberoi, Director of NIFTEM-K, were also present at the event.

The event witnessed participation from over 250 industry stakeholders, startups, MSMEs, financial institutions, venture capitalists, and academia. The event, spanning over two days, comprised four knowledge sessions, two pitching sessions, and an exhibition.

The knowledge sessions were held in collaboration with FSSAI, EIC, APEDA, Start-up India, and FICCI. In contrast, the pitching sessions are conducted in partnership with industry giants such as Nestle India, HDFC Bank, Buhler India, Marico, Indian Angel Network, ITC Foods, LT Foods, and TCPL. A total of 35 exhibitors from across India are participating in the event.

The two pitching sessions, scheduled on each of the two days, saw twelve selected start-ups pitching their ideas to a panel of food technologists, top banking officials from SBI and HDFC Bank, VCs, NIFTEM faculty and industry professionals. Six start-ups were offered mentoring support in product refinement, market linkage, and investor connect.

Overall, during the two-day event, 38 exhibitors, including 26 start-ups, nine PMFME beneficiaries and three Government agencies, showcased their products, schemes and technologies. Besides, there were separate networking sessions between the startups and the industry where discussions revolved around the hand holding and technical support to the start-ups.

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