THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday said Kerala is the most ideal destination for startups and technology giants to set up their hub for India, Middle East and South Asia business operations.
Inaugurating the second edition of ‘Huddle Kerala’ - Asia’s largest startup convergence - at Kovalam beach resort here, Vijayan said considering the state’s inherent strength like high socio-economic parameters and digitally aware and empowered population, Kerala is a great piloting opportunity for startups seeking to expand in India and other emerging markets.
“The state welcomes startups from abroad and other parts of India to consider making Kerala as a base for their India, West Asia and Southeast Asia business efforts,” he said.
“We have the talent, support system as well as the market potential to emerge as the innovation hub of India,” he said, recalling that “it is in this pristine state that Travis Kalanick found inspiration to code the initial version of Uber.”
Vijayan also said Kerala now boasts of a thriving startup and innovation ecosystem, which offers a lot of incubation facilities, corporate tie-ups and financial systems facilitated by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM). In a landmark move, the government had a couple of years ago invested in Funds-of-Funds scheme through SEBI-accredited funds, which had helped startups to take off and scale-up, he said.
Many success stories like the manhole-cleaning robot ‘Bandicoot’ of Gen-robotics have received equity support from international investors like Tiger Global. On its part, the government has come out with a unique procurement policy by which various departments have been given permission to purchase technology products up to `1 crore from startups. Also, startups have been facilitated to work closely with the government, he said.
The state-led interventions such as establishing Innovation Entrepreneurship Development Cells, distributing Raspberry Pi kits among school children and setting up telepresence network have helped in developing a culture of innovation at school and college levels, he added.
Noting that many initiatives of Huddle 2018 have yielded results, the chief minister also said he was excited to note that Christopher Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, is joining the meet through video-conferencing. He said the Government is also looking forward to more meaningful associations with OPPO and Orbit and Wadhwani Foundation.
The chief minister also launched ‘WING-Women Rise Together’, an initiative supported by Startup India to identify and support women entrepreneurs, and Adobe Creative Jam, the design hackathon to be organised in association with KSUM.
On the occasion, KSUM exchanged three MOUs signed with OPPO, Wadhwani Foundation and Orbital Microsystems Ltd.