Women launch biotech start-up in Trivandrum

The number of engineering colleges in the State has grown so much and so fast that it has even become the stuff of jokes such as, ‘If you throw a stone in the streets of Kerala, you’re bound to hit an engineer.’ Now, it seems the statement can be applied to the field of entrepreneurship with more and more youngsters rejecting the prospect of a desk job in a large corporation and choosing to follow their own creative and innovative spirit.

A recent entrant into this fold here strikes as a little different from most others that are being incubated in institutions such as the Technopark-TBI in the capital and Start-up Village at Kochi. For one, it has two women at the helm.

For Aardra Chandra Mouli and Gayathri Thankachi, the inauguration of Aeka Biochemicals Pvt. Ltd. here on Friday is the first step towards the dream they have nurtured since college. Both of them graduated from the Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering in 2011.

Another feature that sets this start-up apart is their specialisation in biotechnology and biochemicals – a vast area that is yet to receive a level of interest by new start-ups in the State that matches its immense potential. In Kerala, biotechnology is still viewed as ‘the next big thing,’ when the truth is it has already arrived, said Aardra. She pointed out how in Hyderabad and Bangalore, the concept of ‘bioparks’ has long been established but Kerala is still a step behind.

Aeka seeks to apply its expertise on a wider basis, covering food and agriculture, health care, waste management and environment conservation. “Research for biochemical products is a capital intensive affair which is why we are prioritising small-scale production of high-value, low-volume products to begin with,” said Aardra. Their first product may be brought out as soon as next month and Aeka has the support of the Cashew Export Promotion Council at Kollam in this venture.

Afterwards, Aardra says they hope to work on biopesticides and products that will provide some solution to the waste management issue in the capital. “We were born and brought up here and we know what the city can be at its best. But pollution, accumulation of plastic waste are major civic issues here that need to be addressed,” she said. Their classmate from college Nidhin Sreekumar is another member of the start-up.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 9:27:59 PM |

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