There has been much hype surrounding the Kochi based incubator, Startup Village, due to its novel nature of being India’s first Public Private Partnership (PPP) model Technology Business Incubator (TBI). Launched last year with the aim of incubating 1000 product startups over 10 years, the telecom incubator proposes to launch a center in the Silicon Valley. Startup Village is the same organization which introduced 1 Gbps internet connection and provided support for Blackberry Apps for Student Entrepreneurs last year.
How will that help?
The offshore center will play the role of a landing pad for Indian startups to understand the US market and observe the innovative startup ecosystem in the country. There is a lack of a product startup ecosystem in India, as businesses and startups are led by the services sector. Very few product startups make their way into the local market and even lesser into the global market. Indian startups are not aware of the technology hub and ecosystem in the US. This new center will provide an opportunity entrepreneurs to interact with tech leaders and similar companies in the US and understand the market.
Mallu Angel Network
Kerala is forming its own angel network, appreciably called to resonate with the Indian people , Mallu Angel Network, to support startups. It plans to help startups to reach the product stage from the idea stage. For this, it plans to bank on the network of about 1000 successful Kerala born entrepreneurs and industrialists from all over the world, who would provide mentoring services, with each member investing up to 10 million rupees. Some key personnel include Infosys co-chairman S Gopalakrishnan, who is also the chief mentor of Startup Village, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Federal Bank CEO Shyam Srinivasan, among others. It is planning to be a non-profit organization and leverage already existing startup financial networks like Mumbai Angel Network and the Indian Angel Network.
To foster the spirit of entrepreneurship in the state, the Kerala government introduced a policy to give grace marks for entrepreneurial students for their projects. The students will be allowed to miss up to 20% of the classes if they want to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions.
Startup Village has also launched a new initiative, SVSquare: Startup Village to Silicon Valley, for startup students to be given international exposure. Five young talented students from the state will be given a chance to experience and meet the Silicon Valley giants. This competition calls for school and college students to upload a two or three minute video of their innovative idea or project on YouTube.
Startup Village also wants to search for a billion dollar company from a college camps by the end of the decade. For this, it is creating a platform for startups to innovate and arrive at breakthrough technologies in the global telecommunications industry.
Such initiatives will only make the startup scene in India stronger and will give an impetus for students who might want to pursue their dreams. It is great to realize that the government is also supporting this cause in a big way. If successful, we might soon see an Indian startup making waves in the global industry.
The road ahead
Kerala’s lack of startup culture may be attributed to the large communist presence and influential trade unions, giving way for socialist policies. This is being changed by the Startup Village initiatives. Emotional inspiration, in addition to infrastructure and real estate impetus, is required for young minds looking to start up. The rest of the country should also follow up with their own initiatives, thereby giving much needed support for entrepreneurs.
What do you think of this initiative? What else would be required to support and promote entrepreneurial spirit in the country? Do let us know.
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