Start-up India: Coffee entrepreneurs to brew success with govt help, VC funds

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 27, 2018

Govt focussed on promoting consumer-facing industries, says Chief Secretary of Dept of Commerce

Coffee entrepreneurs, coffee shop start-ups, and roasters from across the country would soon get the backing of caffeine-buzzed venture capitalists, and some essential help from the government. The Ministry of Commerce and Industries has asked the Coffee Board of India to identify certain start-ups in the coffee industry, which require substantial hand-holding to take their venture ahead.

In an exclusive interaction with BusinessLine, Rita Teaotia, Chief Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, said the government was deeply committed to ensure that Make in India and Start up India would benefit consumer-facing industries.

Channelising start-ups

She said the government would reach out to help the coffee sector, given the exponential growth of coffee consumption in the country. “We have already requested the Chairman of the Coffee Board to focus their efforts in this region, and identify some start-ups whom we can do hand-holding. We want to make everything accessible to them,” said Teaotia. “The aim is to channelise these start-ups towards the kind of policies that have already been announced and enable them to access all the benefits. We have asked the Coffee Board to make this a regular activity.”

The Chief Secretary was in Mumbai to present a keynote address at the India International Coffee Festival. She went on to add that in every industry and sector, the government was keenly ‘looking for people who are willing to invest in the sector, through their expertise, through their talent, through their commitment and through their resources.’

The government will then “look to see how we can support them. We will put up a framework which enables us to sort that through,” she pointed out. “Now that the government has announced the start-up policy, it is incumbent on each sector, or promotion body, to really pick up the gauntlet and go ahead,” said the official.

Promoting brand

Pointing out that the Department of Commerce and Industries “actually has a Coffee Board,” the official said the “objective was to support the industry and provide technical help to the extent possible, and to also promote branding and growth of the industry.”

The event in Mumbai was organised by the India Coffee Trust (ICT), which is made up of key stakeholders of the coffee industry, in collaboration with the Coffee Board of India. The mandate of ICT is to increase the footprint of coffee across the country.

India is the third largest producer and exporter of coffee in Asia, and the sixth largest producer and fifth largest exporter of coffee in the world. Leena Nair, Chairman, Coffee Board, said the overall production of coffee is expected to reach 355,600 tonnes in 2015-16, up eight per cent year-on-year.

In 2014, coffee consumption in India was pegged at 115.02 million kg. Of the total coffee produced in India, around 70 per cent is exported, and around 30 per cent is consumed domestically. In 2014–15, India’s coffee export volume was 286,545 tonnes valued at $810.1 million.

Published on January 24, 2016

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