Thiruvananthapuram: Unlike many other states, which developed their startup ecosystem by attracting talent from other geographies, Kerala has built a model that identifies, nurtures and promotes talented innovations within the state, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here today.

“We believe that such a strong ecosystem could also become a good nurturing ground for startups from other parts of India and the world,” he observed, while inaugurating the Huddle Kerala, one of Asia’s largest startup ecosystem congregations, at The Leela Raviz Beach Resort, Kovalam.

The two-day event has been organised by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in association with Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IAMAI Startup Foundation.

“Kerala became the first state to come out with a startup policy. In 2017, we issued the second policy document, which specifically identifies the interventions required to successfully develop new ventures in the state.  The government of Kerala observes youth entrepreneurship development as a key focus area. The Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme outlined in the startup policy caters to developing technology, innovation and entrepreneurship among school and college students and aspiring professionals,” Vijayan explained.

There are also programmes like training for startup CEOs and international exchange. All the schemes are available to the eligible startups through the incubation network facilitated by the KSUM.

“Currently, there are more than 1,000 startups registered under the KSUM, and the state has more than two lakh sq ft of incubation space available for startups,” he noted.

For the last one year, the KSUM has funded 100 plus ideas which have potential to become successful ventures and create wealth and impact in the society. The government has provided innovation grants to these ideas to help them go to market and scale up faster. To make the investment available to the startups, a ‘fund-of-fund’ programme has been created to invest in the startups operating from the state, the CM said.

“Within a short period of the launch of the scheme, several startups have benefited substantially from it. This shows the strong presence of our ecosystem,” he added.

Sharjah Digital Transformation Higher Committee Chairman Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, who was the chief guest at the event, lauded the educational progress of Kerala in building up a strong startup ecosystem.

Sivasankar, Kerala IT Secretary; Paul Antony, Chief Secretary;  Harish Krishnan, MD, Public Affairs and Strategic Engagements Cisco India and SAARC;  Subho Ray, President, Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Shrikant Sinha, CEO, NASSCOM, were also present.

By Manoj

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