State urged to promote technology entrepreneurship

By promoting entrepreneurship, Kerala can harness the global demand for innovative products in the telecom and information technology (IT) sectors, Sanjay Vijayakumar, chairman, Startup Village, Kochi, has said.

Addressing a Meet-the-Press programme organised by the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club here on Tuesday, Mr. Vijayakumar said the State could not afford to miss the opportunity to boost its growth potential through entrepreneurship in technology.

‘40 years behind’

“With our ecosystem of poor infrastructure, we are at least 40 years behind Silicon Valley in promoting start-up ventures for IT products. Yet, we have the necessary social foundation to leapfrog and bridge the gap,” he said. Mr. Vijayakumar said the time was ripe for the State to ride the technology wave in the telecom and internet sectors. The Startup Village, he said, had received 900 applications to set up entrepreneurship ventures ranging from Facebook applications to building a robotic arm for the Canadian Space Agency. “We are trying to build the world’s largest telecom incubator,” he said.

Mr. Vijayakumar, himself one of the early entrepreneurs in the telecom sector in the State, is the chief executive officer and co-founder of MobMe Wireless Solutions, a company that has joined hands with the Department of Science and Technology and Technopark to launch Startup Village as a public private partnership project.

“As many as 20 companies at the Startup Village have raised funds to set up enterprises, with MobMe itself investing in 12 companies. We have created 6,000 to 7,000 jobs at the village,” he said.

Mr. Vijayakumar said the village was set up with the target of incubating 1,000 companies in 10 years. “We expect to receive that many applications in 18 months,” he said.

Startup Village, he said, would require government intervention to improve infrastructure facilities for incubation of product companies. “We have received requests to set up similar facilities in other States including Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh,” he said.