THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As Technopark celebrates its 25th anniversary, pioneers of the project as well as successful entrepreneurs agree that the IT park owes its success, to a great extent, to the rare consensus among political parties in the state for the sake of development.
“The Indian economy had not even opened up when the idea of Technopark was mooted in 1990. We were literally working against the tide as the mindset of the people in the state was not receptive to the idea. The project owes its success to the consensus among political parties and the support of successive governments over the years,” reminiscences G Vijayaraghavan, the founder CEO of Technopark.
Convincing foreign investors about the feasibility of the project was a tough task for the pioneers. But the task was achieved through powerful and effective presentations around the world, dispelling the impression that Kerala was not investor-friendly, says Vijayaraghavan.
Visionics India was among the first batch of companies to set foot in Technopark. Its Managing Director, M Thiyagarajan, remembers that along with the attractive environs surrounding the IT park, the persuasive and supportive attitude of the state government was what made companies finally choose the destination.
“Of course, there were issues surrounding headload workers and certain infrastructure drawbacks in the initial days. However, these were immediately sorted out by the top leadership, be it in the government or in the opposition,” says Thiyagarajan.
According to V K Mathews, Founder and Executive Chairman IBS Group, Technopark of the mid-90s definitely had an edge over other IT destinations.
“Compared to the crowded cities of Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad or Pune, Thiruvananthapuram offered an entirely different environment,” he says.
“One now sees a Technopark where 23 per cent of the workforce come from families of daily-wagers while 56 per cent of the employees have studied in ordinary government schools. The transformation that Technopark brought to the society around it is immense,” he says.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which constitute over 80 per cent of the companies in Technopark are poised for major growth, says Binu Jacob of Experion Technologies. Binu is the convenor of Business Focus Group, which drives Business Development initiatives of SMEs. “SMEs have generated business to the tune of two million US dollars in the last two-and-a-half years since initiatives such as ‘Global IT Connect’ were launched. However, more mentoring and financial support are needed to ensure a sustained growth. Such companies will definitely benefit from global exposure as it will familiarise them more with the global market requirements,” he adds.