December 22, 2011
Planting a seed: University and city create environment for India-based company to flourish
Thanks in part to a little purple power from Kansas State University, an international fertilizer manufacturer is growing its operations and opening its first American facility in Manhattan.
Prathista Industries Limited, a fertilizer and animal feed supplements company based in India, was recruited to Manhattan by the community and university researchers, as both parties believe Prathista would benefit efforts by the city and university, and vice versa.
In spring 2011 K-State Provost April Mason toured Prathista's facility in India and met company workers and officials.
"It was apparent that between the university and city's strengths of being research-oriented and business-friendly, Manhattan was the ideal location for it to flourish," Mason said. "As a research-based company, Prathista aligns well with both the city's economic development strategy and private sector research activity, as well as with K-State's expertise in agricultural research. This is an advantage that will help make K-State a top 50 research university by 2025, and economic benefit the community as K-State helps attract more science-based companies to the area."
University researchers in grain science and industry are anticipated to work with the company in helping develop, test and enhance its products. This could give Prathista a boost in scaling up its production efforts for a U.S. audience over a shorter time frame. In return, the company could quickly expand its operations and hire more employees.
Initially, the company will hire nine employees to help develop and introduce its new eco-friendly, high-yield fertilizer to the American market. After a few years, Prathista officials plan to open a full-scale U.S. manufacturing facility that will create 50 new jobs and will reimburse money borrowed from the city for its seed investment, plus interest.
At Tuesday's city commission meeting, the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with K-State, the city of Manhattan and the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, announced that the company would open its U.S. headquarters in Manhattan. City officials also announced that the city will reimburse Prathista up to $500,000 for upgrades made to its U.S. pilot facility, located in Manhattan's airport armory building.
"We are proud to welcome Prathista to Kansas and thrilled to see once again the partnership of K-State and Manhattan producing broader benefit to the university and community," said Kent Glasscock, president of the Institute for Commercialization. "Prathista's decision to expand to Manhattan fits exactly with the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization’s goal of leveraging the intellectual capability of K-State for knowledge-based economic development."
In addition to its facility in India, Prathista also has a corporate presence in Africa, the Philippines and the Netherlands.