THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Startup activities, being carried out by the University of Kerala, are set to get a major boost with the setting up of a full-fledged startup incubation centre that would provide mentoring as well as grants for such ventures.
The Kerala University Business Innovation and Incubation Centre (KUBIIC), formed to promote innovation and entrepreneurial activities of students and faculty, will soon receive `43.5 lakh from the varsity this year for stepping up its activities. KUBIIC has already got three startups registered as companies while another 12 are in the stage of company formation. Along with 63 startups in the idea phase, KUBIIC has enabled 78 startups to sign MoUs with the University of Kerala.
This year, KUBIIC conducted an idea hackathon in two phases from which 74 startup ideas were selected for idea grants. Notably, 63 ideas came from university departments and 11 from affiliated colleges. “Taking feedback from experts drawn from diverse domains, we had formulated a startup policy which was approved at the recent meeting of the syndicate. One of the major recommendations in the policy was to set up the proposed incubation centre as a non-profit company so that its functioning is not confined to the university departments and colleges alone,” Dr Manoj Changat, director, KUBIIC, told TNIE.
According to Manoj, KUBIIC will also establish links with the TIMed technology business incubator of Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) and will seek support from the Union Government’s MSME Development Institute in Thrissur.
Also, KUBIIC is in touch with several venture capitalists for funding innovative startup companies. While a portion of funds that KUBIIC will get from the varsity this year will be for setting up a dedicated incubation centre, it will also be used as grants for the new startup ideas. In 2021 itself, KUBIIC selected seven new startups through a strict selection process by a panel comprising experts from the industry, funding agencies and research and development centres.
The new startup ideas include a smart reverse vending machine for plastic waste management, a system to manage industrial waste from sludge by additive aided composting, BIOCURE-AGR, a bio-degradable wound dresser; FEED SOLUTIONZ, a solution for all fish feed needs; Fish4Trialz, a platform for Fish Seeds’; JOBOPSY, exclusively for home needs and WPIGGY, a financial app for children.
KUBIIC success stories
- MakLab - Innovations: An ed-tech company that manufactures electronic hardware and software products for prototyping and learning of electronic design and computer coding. Their motive is to habituate hardware and software education through gamification and computational thinking.
- Auggen21: A research and development based organisation specialising in Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence by bridging contemporary research solutions.
- KALAVARA: Working towards becoming a full-fledged centre for Malayalam Language Resources Technology and Application Development.
- Biocure - AGR: Developed a useful, biocompatible, cost-effective wound dressing for burn wounds.
- Wellspread Technologies Pvt. Ltd: Develops automation systems for industrial, medical and agricultural fields.
- Among the products launched by the varsity-mentored startups, N-Sour, the ripened fruit extract of Malabar tamarind or ‘kudampuli’ has generated a lot of interest. The product has been brought by KU CraVings, a startup project by research scholars of the Department of Botany.
- Other notable products include a magnetic field-assisted 3D printer by the Department of Physics; and Rebin - a bin system developed by the Department of Environmental Sciences for better collection of single-use plastics. The system has been designed so as to enable the user to get credits for waste collected.