The entrepreneurship programme for students initiated by the government has evoked an enthusiastic response, with the Startup Village here offering space to a record 120 campus start-ups since October last year.

Interestingly, one fourth of the nearly 800 applications received since the inception of the Startup Village comprises campus start-ups.

Grace marks

As per the government scheme, student entrepreneurs will be given maximum of four per cent grace marks and maximum 20 per cent relaxation in attendance to become part of the growing start-up ecosystem in the State.

Minister for Industries P. K. Kunhalikutty said the response for the students' entrepreneurship programme was positive considering the increasing number of students joining the initiative. He said the youngsters would soon drive the change emerging in information technology and related sectors in the State.

Change in mindset

Sanjay Vijayakumar, chairman of the Startup Village, said no other State in the country had achieved Kerala’s record of reaching an agreement to start over 120 campus start-ups in one year. “We have been successful in creating a change in the mindset of students,” he said. Many youngsters have left high-paying jobs in leading companies to start their own ventures. It pointed to the confidence instilled in them through such unique initiatives, he said.

Sharan Thampi, head of the entrepreneur cell at College of Engineering at Thiruvananthapuram, said its membership had grown from five in 2012 to nearly 140 over the last one year. He said they had already launched five campus start-ups. A final year student, Mr. Thampi is chief executive officer of the start-up, HedCet Innovations. He said youngsters now wanted to be job providers rather than job seekers.

According to the students’ entrepreneurship scheme, engineering students can submit their project proposals before incubators recognised by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology. They will be selected through a process beginning at the college level. Colleges and universities should designate a teacher as entrepreneurship coordinator. An expert committee will examine their proposals and accept them or refer them to other technology incubators. The incubation period could range from three months to one year. Duty leave will be provided to applicants for attending seminars, workshops, competitions, and training programmes.

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