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Startup Conclave

Innovation rules at start-up event in Kolkata’s American Center

Twenty start-ups from Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, besides India, taking part in a three-day workshop

Debraj Mitra | Published 31.03.23, 08:17 AM
Participants at a session at the workshop at the American Center on Thursday.

Participants at a session at the workshop at the American Center on Thursday.

Gautam Bose

A jungle resort in Nepal takes visitors on tiger and bear trails. The guests are also encouraged to cook meals in the homes of local people.

A woman in Bhubaneswar has started a company that makes non-lithium batteries from crop residues. The project, in the pilot stage, aims to go commercial in another two years.


A three-day workshop in Kolkata, that started at the American Center on Thursday, includes 20 startups from Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, besides India.

The top five start-ups — two from India and one each from the neighbouring countries — will make pitches to an investor panel on Saturday.

Nana Jungle Resort, a property with more than 20 rooms in Nepal's Chitwan National Park, offers guests an immersive experience.

"We take them on tiger and bear trails. We also take them to the homes of locals, where they share meals together. We keep off single-use plastic. A part of the earnings go into the development of the local community," said Vivek Nath Pyakuryal, the founder of the start-up.

Sabrina Imam, from Dhaka, is the founder of Bitsy, an online platform selling toys.

"A majority of the children in middle-class families depend on plastic toys, mostly made in China, which offer very little learning. I want to change that," said Imam, who imports toys as well as components that are assembled in Bangladesh.

The workshop in Kolkata was preceded by an online course and a formative workshop in each country.

"The 20 start-ups here have been selected from a much wider pool. The workshop here will offer them a larger market access, make them investor-ready and investible," said Surekha Routray, who heads social incubation at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology.

The KIIT Technology Business Incubator is partnering the US Consulate in Kolkata in organising the workshop.

"The three-day Regional Startup Network (RSN) advanced workshop aims to build entrepreneurial capacities of select startups in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, and to strengthen linkages between them through ecosystem partnerships to foster greater economic prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region," the organisers said in a statement.

Inaugurating the event, US consul general Melinda Pavek said: “The programme provides a nurturing entrepreneurship ecosystem, helping startups gain valuable insights, expand their network, and showcase their ideas to a global audience".

Nishita Baliarsingh, the co-founder of Nexus Power, which makes bio-degradable batteries from crop residues, was one of the participants in the workshop.

Every year, stubble and crop residues are set on fire in the northern plains, hampering the air quality in Delhi and surrounding areas.

"Ours is a sustainable solution. The batteries we make are focused on recharging electric vehicles. We are in the advanced trial stage and want to go commercial by 2024-25," she said.

Last updated on 31.03.23, 08:17 AM

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