The three IT parks in the State and SmartCity Kochi will collectively offer a built-up space in excess of 3 crore sq. ft by 2026. John M. Thomas, CEO, Kerala IT Parks, announced this at a press conference held at Infopark, Kochi, on Thursday.
At present, the three IT Parks collectively offer 2 crore sq. ft. “One has to look at the speed of growth in the IT sector. While it took us about three decades to hit 2 crore sq. ft, we are about to achieve half of that in the next five years. This would not have been possible without the private-public partnership model,” said Mr. Thomas.
The export revenue from the three IT Parks stood at ₹15,100 crore during 2021. It will be in the range of ₹18,000 crore to ₹20,000 crore if the revenue of companies from outside the parks and non-export revenue are also taken into account.
“Cyberpark [in Kozhikode] registered the biggest growth of 77% followed by Kochi Infopark at 21% and Technopark [in Thiruvananthapuram] at 8%. Technopark would have recorded much greater growth but for the temporary space constraints,” said Mr. Thomas.
The IT Parks are planning to reinvent by focusing on three aspects – improving the overall surrounding ecosystem and access, and giving a facelift to the parks themselves.
“While we focused on developing the IT infrastructure, we neglected the overall social ecosystem. We are giving a big push towards achieving that by facilitating quality supporting infrastructure in transportation, shopping, health and education in association with the government and other stakeholders. Bringing more international flights to Thiruvananthapuram, providing walkways, cycle tracks, eco-friendly transportation are all part of it,” said Mr. Thomas.
Parks will be given a facelift by plugging the gaps that prevent them from developing the ambience of modern IT parks and by bringing in co-developers of international repute.
Mr. Thomas said proposals were being explored to facilitate angel funding to fill the funding gap for the development of start-ups. While multiple agencies offer funds up to ₹50 lakh, there is a dearth of funding in excess of ₹50 lakh and up to ₹2 crore. “We are also working towards the seamless transition of start-ups to IT Parks,” said Mr. Thomas, who also holds temporary charge of the Kerala Startup Mission.
Efforts are also on to bring in multinational companies not having presence in the State to the IT Parks for which interventions have been made at the top level, including by the Chief Minister’s office.
“We are getting plenty of enquiries for space in IT Parks from both existing and new companies. Kerala has managed to grab a fair share of the IT growth since the pandemic. We are also encouraging companies to return to the parks by restoring transportation facilities and reopening eateries besides proposals for holding cultural fests,” said Mr. Thomas.