In a significant push to expand IT incubation space and encourage startup ventures, the Kerala government has approved support for private entities and tie-ups with national and global agencies for setting up incubators and accelerators in the state. The Pinarayi Vijayan-led government has also decided to revise norms in the state IT policy to align with the national Startup India campaign, providing greater incentives to startups in Kerala.
State IT Secretary M Sivasankar issued orders in this regard this week following a proposal from the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) on schemes to develop an additional 500,000 sq ft of incubation space outside of the existing incubators in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. KSUM recommended the participation of private sector to help realise the goal of the 2014 Kerala Technology Startup Policy of creating one million sq ft of IT incubation space, a statement said.
It will be a major step towards achieving the target outlined in the IT policy 2017 of creating 10 million sq ft of office space to provide direct and indirect employment to 2.5 lakh people, it said. "We have set ambitious goals for our IT sector and this is an important step in realising them.. Private sector participation will strengthen both our startup infrastructure and ecosystem.. the government is willing to incentivise such partnerships," Sivasankar said.
As per the order, the state government will support private entities with proven experience in startup mentoring to set up incubators or accelerators in the state, with capital, operational and promotional assistance, as per norms. It may also tie-up with national and international agencies for mentoring and incubation support, it said. The agencies are classified into three groups for specific incentives. "We have been assigned to extend support to the agencies in accordance with the IT policy," said KSUM CEO Saji Gopinath.
The incubators would receive operational and internet support for a period of five years, and all incubatees would be eligible for our promotional schemes such as startup boxes, grants, seed funds, cloud credits and so on, he said. "These facilities will be monitored closely and subject to appraisals," the official added.