By the turn of this decade the next billion dollar Indian telecom giant could well be from Kerala. The brains who would lead such a firm could well be studying in one of the many colleges in the State.

Working to facilitate the chrysalis from a college canteen brainwave to a commercial success would be the Indian Telecom Innovation Hub, billed as one of the first technology business incubator in the country operating in the Public Private Partnership mode. A joint venture of the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, the Technopark and private firm MobME Wireless, the Hub is likely to set up shop in Kochi by January.

The Hub would focus primarily on student start-ups from college campuses and would be modelled on Technology Incubators in the Silicon Valley, USA. The aim is to incubate 1,000 product start-ups over a decade. The Hub would operationalise its business model by setting up Telecom Innovation Zones in association with leading firms in the telecom sector. This way, the latest technology platforms and products would come to the start-ups in the incubator before they find their way to the market.

“We will be launching the Telecom Innovation Hub by January next year and are marketing it aggressively within the NRK community and hi-net worth individuals for their support to the start-up eco-system in Kerala,” a press note issued here quoted Sanjay, CEO of MobMe Wireless, as saying.

“Infosys co-founder and co-chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan has kindly agreed to be the Chief Mentor of the Telecom Innovation Hub.”

The campus chosen for the Hub would have a full-fledged 4G network and advanced telecom labs. In addition to office space, virtual office services, computers, phone lines and space for computer servers, the Hub would provide value-added services including legal and IPR-related advice and accounting backup. In short, there would be everything required by a student to start a company while studying in a college.

“MobME Wireless and Technopark created one of India's finest start-up eco-systems that inspired over 122 start-ups at the Technopark Incubator over the last five years. NSTEDB is pleased to support this innovative PPP model that aims to take this growth to the next level,” the press note quoted H.K. Mittal, Head and Advisor, NSTEDB, as saying.

“The economic growth engine of our country is firing on all cylinders as we enter one of the most promising decades of growth in the history for our nation. With this initiative, we aim to create a platform for the next generation of entrepreneurs to create enterprises and be job-creators than job-seekers,” he added.

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