August 30, 2023
Guwahati witnessed a dynamic 3-day startup event recently (Aug 23 – 25, 2023), leaving a lasting mark on the region’s entrepreneurial landscape. The Assam Startup Fest 2023 emerged as a source of inspiration and empowerment for the youth, echoing the spirit of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-Reliant India). This festival was not merely an event; it was a rallying point, uniting dreamers, innovators and visionaries under one roof. It celebrated entrepreneurship, startup innovation and the art of real-world business, setting the stage for a future where Assam’s youth transform from job seekers to job creators.
Over 332 startup founders, startup enthusiasts and aspiring entrepreneurs registered for the Assam Startup Fest, which was in itself a testament to the emerging entrepreneurial spirit in Assam. Among them, 296 startups took center stage, underscoring their commitment to innovation and growth. The presence of more than a dozen nationally and internationally renowned speakers enriched the discourse, elevating the festival’s purpose and value. Further, collaborations with 5 top startup investment agencies highlighted the festival’s investment appeal, amplifying opportunities for startups. A star attraction of the Assam Startup Fest, the Startup Exhibition, provided an enormous platform for about 105 startup founders to showcase their innovation.
The event unfolded over three captivating days, each pulsating with energy and insights. Following is a day-wise summary of the Fest.
Day 1 marked the inauguration of the Assam Startup Fest by the Hon’ble Minister of Industries, Commerce & PE, Shri Bimal Borah, and was graced by a few other dignitaries from the government. The Hon’ble Minister, in his address, expressed his appreciation for witnessing the exceptionally creative and innovative prowess demonstrated by the diverse participants of the event.
As the day progressed, a thought-provoking panel discussion on the “Sustainability of Startup Ventures” took center stage, featuring successful startup founders- Mridu Mahendra Das (Founder, Automovill Technologies) and Biswajit Dey (Founder, Drones Tech Lab). The discussion was moderated by Pankaj Baruah (IIMCIP Mentor and Former VP – Furlenco).
A significant highlight was the Powertalk by Pravin Agarwala, the founder of BetterPlace, Asia’s largest employee engagement SaaS platform. He engaged the audience with motivational storytelling, drawing from his personal insights and startup journey.
Beyond the insightful talks specific to the startup domain, the first day of the Assam Startup Fest also focused on raising awareness about the various schemes for MSMEs and startups by the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC). Furthermore, an interactive session was convened for the General Managers of District Industries & Commerce Centers (DI&CC). The purpose of this session was to sensitise the officials about the Assam Startup initiative and outline their vital role in bolstering the initiative’s mission within their designated districts. The day concluded with key remarks from Dr. Subhrangshu Sanyal (CEO, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park), who shared about the exhilarating journey of IIM Calcutta Innovation Park as a Knowledge Partner since the inception of the Assam Startup initiative.
Day 2 delved deeper into the startup realm, sparking a deliberation on “Embracing Failure in the Startup World”. The discussion was led by the founders of two promising incubated startups – David Gogoi (Co-Founder, Zerund Manufacturing) and Ratan Kumar (Founder, Encamp Tourism). The day also featured an awareness session on startup funding by officials from The Indian Bank, followed by a special Masterclass on delivering a winning pitch by seasoned investor and member of the Indian Angel Network, Hari Balasubramanian. The second day’s proceedings concluded with a special startup pitching session, Pitch Perfect, which saw 20 startup founders from the ecosystem pitch their ventures before a panel of top startup investors like Hari Balasubramanian (Member, Indian Angel Network), Pranta Pratim Singha (Chief Manager, Corporate Planning, Numaligarh Refinery Limited) and Prasanta Kumar Talukdar (Assistant General Manager – Investment, NEDFi Venture Capital Limited).
Day 3 commenced with an invaluable Powertalk on “Building an Effective Team While Scaling Up,” by the man who catalysed the rise of three unicorns in India, TN Hari (Co-Founder, Artha School of Entrepreneurship). The impeccable session was followed by a Masterclass on “Generative AI for Startups” by Microsoft India.
Apart from the talks and the knowledge sessions, the courage and efforts of 10 incubated startups were recognised in the form of the Startup Awards.
- The Next Gen Innovators: Deroi Innovations.
- The Promising Innovators: Drones Tech Lab.
- The Robotics Startup: Symbica.
- The Food Tech Innovators: Sprengal Food Technologies (Darjeeling Momos).
- The Woman-led Innovative Startup: TGG Technologies (ChfMart).
- The Automotive Solution Provider: Automovill Technologies.
- The Green Sustainable Entrepreneurs: Agrithink Services.
- The Timeless Innovator: Axom Farm Machinery.
- The Consistent Performer: Zerund Manufacturing.
- The High-Tech Innovators: My3DMeta.
The concluding day of the Assam Startup Fest also witnessed the introduction of Assam Startup’s new initiative – Campus Ambassadors – under which a student and a faculty member from each higher education institution will pick up the baton to encourage entrepreneurship within the campus. 40 such campus ambassadors, including students and faculty members from 8 districts were handed over the campus ambassador kits and encouraged to ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship in their respective colleges/universities.
The day concluded with dignitary felicitation, the launch of the Assam Startup Impact Report 2022-23 and the coffee table book – Assam Startup TrailBlazers, carrying the inspirational stories of 11 successful startups incubated under Assam Startup.
As the curtains fell on the Assam Startup Fest 2023, it left an indelible mark on Assam’s entrepreneurial journey. The event resonated with innovation, growth and entrepreneurial prowess. The Assam Startup Fest was a testament to Assam’s commitment to innovation, growth and the untiring spirit of entrepreneurship.