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Updated: February 9, 2013 10:51 IST

More tech incubators for Kerala

M. P. Praveen
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K.C. Chandrasekharan Nair, T-TBI Managing Director
K.C. Chandrasekharan Nair, T-TBI Managing Director

Five new Technology Business Incubators by the Thiruvananthapuram-based Technopark-Technology Business Incubator (T-TBI) are on the anvil to bolster entrepreneurship and innovation among youngsters. This will take the total number of TBIs in the State to 11.

T-TBI managing director K.C. Chandrasekharan Nair told The Hindu that new TBIs will be operational in one-and-a-half years. “The proposals will receive the in-principle approval of the National Advisory Committee shortly,” he said.

While the TBI proposed at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) will incubate companies dealing in information technology and bio-technology as well, the thrust area will be hardware. “It will be the first of its kind incubator for core hardware products,” Mr. Nair said.

Cusat Vice-Chancellor Ramachandran Thekkedath said he was confident and upbeat about the proposed TBI in spite of space constraints.

This will be the third incubator in Kochi, the other two being the Start-up Village at Kinfra Park and the agro-business incubator at the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology.

Funds not a problem

Funding for TBIs was not a problem thanks to the Union government’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), which funds up to 50-60 per cent of the total project cost, Mr. Nair said.

The IEDC (Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre) at the Amal Jyothi College of Engineering at Kanjirappally in Kottayam district will be elevated to rural technology-based TBI. The elevation comes in the wake of the IEDC’s success in incubating five companies for four years together, one of the conditions subject to which the DST provides Rs. 45 lakh for five years under the IEDC programme, Mr. Nair said.

The Technopark TePP (Technopreneur Promotion Programme) Outreach Centre at Care Keralam, a Koratty-based Ayurveda consortium, will also be converted into an Ayurveda-centric TBI. The remaining two TBIs will come up at Thiruvalla - a medical TBI at Pushpagiri Medical College, and a bio-science and bio-technology-based incubator at Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies.

Besides, the NRI-TBI announced at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be inaugurated at Infopark next month.

Mr. Nair said that companies successfully incubating from the TBIs will be given preferential treatment at IT Parks in the State.

“T-TBI will organise a reverse pitching this April whereby venture capital firms will come scouting for innovative start-ups worthy of funding rather than the other way around. This will enable start-ups to focus on the creative side instead of being bogged down by funding concerns. At present, a start-up may invest months in an effort to get the backing of a venture capital firm only to be rejected outright at the end,” Mr. Nair said. About 10 venture capital firms from Bangalore and Mumbai are expected to participate.

T-TBI has another novel initiative up its sleeve, as it gears up to organise a first of its kind fair exclusively for start-ups, Kerala Start-up Fair, 2013, on February 28. The product start-ups will be given space to exhibit their products while service-oriented start-ups can also showcase their strengths and expertise. Already 23 start-ups from across the State have registered for the fair.

“Investors can enter in to agreements with start-ups of their choice at the one-day fair itself. The fair will be made in to an annual affair and will be held at destinations across the State,” Mr. Nair said.

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