The IT / ITeS start ups received a terrific boost, when in the year 2002, the Govt of Kerala launched incubation services under the TBIC (Technopark Business Incubation Centre). The proposal for TBI (Technology Business Incubator) with a view to promoting companies in IT, Electronics, Biotechnology, e-learning, Bio informatics and Social Entrepreneurship was submitted in 2006 under the DST (Department of Science and Technology ). Presently, the Technopark TBI hosts 50 companies - 14 under the Product platform and 36 under IT / ITeS.
Kerala Start up Mission (formerly Techopark Technology Business Incubator) has been driving the startup saga in the State of Kerala from the year 2002.The reflections in the mind-set of the youngsters to become entrepreneurs have been greatly influenced by the vision of Kerala Start up Mission formerly (T-Tbi).Since its inception the drive to boost up the technology business incubators have been successfully fulfilled.
- In 2006 T-Tbi formulated as an independent society supported by DST, GOI.
- In 2012 T-Tbi designated as the Nodal Agency for startups supported by GOK.
- In 2015 T-Tbi rebranded as Kerala Startup Mission
KSM have various schemes which will help the budding entrepreneurs to excel well. The schemes implemented by KSM are as follows:
Start up Incubation Programme
Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programmes
Start up Boot camps
Start up Box Campaign
Learn to Code: Raspberry Pi Programme
Start up Leadership Training & Workshops
International Exchange and Training Programme
Web portal and Video Library for entrepreneurs
Technology Innovation Fellow Programme
Entrepreneurship Driving Programme
Technology Innovation Zone
Entrepreneurship Development Programmes in Schools
Student Entrepreneurship Policy
Kerala Technology Start-Up Policy
The proposed incubation stages comprised of
a) Pre-incubation Stage (3-6 months)
b) Incubation Stage (6-12 months)
c) Accelerator Stage (3-6 months)
- Maximum 4 seat shall be allotted
- Plug & Play facility available
- Six Months‟ rent as advance have to be submitted.
Preincubation stage mainly focuses on ideation stage, where technologist having a potential innovative idea can be provided with a co-working space. During this period, the entrepreneur takes up the role of a „techno-evangelist‟ who develops the idea to into a Proof of Concept and prepares him for understanding the technical feasibility of the idea proposed. Sometimes, a number of potential innovations or startup teams may come out of this co-working ecosystem. KSUM will be supporting the startups by mentoring or by creating right platform for networking. Once a marketable technology/ product idea is evolved, a company can be formed and KSUM can look at for incubation stage. KSUM shall assist the innovator in getting grants from DST/DSIR for the ventures
Incubation stage will be 6-12 months where startup companies graft product development and prepare themselves for marketing. During this stage the entrepreneur takes up the role of a ‟technopreneur‟, who brings all his efforts (such as technology, team, seed money,) to build a market viable prototype(MVP‟s). KSUM at this stage will allot them specific seats/modules along with funds or grants as applicable under department scheme and right mentorship. KSUM can also offer a wide array of value added services like entrepreneur trainings and workshops, skill development programmes, leadership programmes, R & D facilities, International tieups etc to speed up the incubation cycle. The incubation stage enables the entrepreneur to be ready with an „innovative technology‟ in the form of marketable product that can primarily drive the market, and which is easy to pitch before an investor/VC in future.
Accelerator Stage (3-6 months)
Accelerator stage will be of 3-6 months, and this will be a business tool box and a holistic business advisory service, resembling the traditional management consulting or mentoring, but adjusted to fit for the startups. The focus of accelerator stage shall be on rapid growth and to sort out all organizational, operational, financial and strategic difficulties that may be facing the business under KSUM guidance through a highly systematic approach. The startup shall be presented to VC‟s and investors (strategic & financial).
The business incubator programme will be highly intense and focused programs for the startups to try and look at their entrepreneur talent with in a period of 3-6 months(pre-incubation stage). The “fail fast” approach will again help the entrepreneurs to save their years not endeavoring into a non-workable solution and choose their career path in less time. The limited time frame also inculcates some thrust in the entrepreneur to rapidly achieve his goal of setting a successful enterprise.
• Physical space
KSUM will be initially provide shared workspace, that enables the entrepreneur to incubate their ideas in a right ecosystem and limits him on spending into unwanted luxury spaces in the startup phase.
• Review and monitoring
The entrepreneurs will undergo a regular and frequent review in the new system, that creates a mental urge to hunt for his passion and to expedite his entrepreneurial venture in a serious way.
• Mentoring sessions
The startups will be provided with regular orientation programmes and mentoring sessions. KSUM has industry specific mentors with international exposure, domain experience and connections within the area and level of business the entrepreneurs work at. KSUM offers mandatory mentoring sessions like „Meet the Mentor programme‟ to encourage the entrepreneurs by sharing their knowledge and entrepreneurial experiences.
• Focus on technology product development
KSUM enables entrepreneur to develop technology products that match market dynamics and create business values. KSUM would consider the technology/idea by looking at below
a. Technology compulsion to market
b. Market opportunity
c. Commitment and capability of the entrepreneur/ team
d. Passion of the entrepreneur
e. Value added by the company for branding KSUM
A set of support services comprising fabrication lab facilities, mobile communication labs, software and security testing facilities etc would be provided under this. The entrepreneur would also be supported through programmes like „NASSCOM Product Conclave‟ and funding options as applicable by the government departments for product development. The technology thus developed would undergo constant review and mentoring by KSUM.
• Funding – seed/angel & early stage VC
KSUM would create a funding platform for those incubated technology startups for developing or enhancing the technology product or innovations and marketing them. KSUM can either provide a seed loan of NSTEDB (National Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship Development Board), DST or TDB(Technology Development Board); MSME grants, PRISM grants and link to any institutional funding of KSIDC (Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation), KFC (Kerala Financial Corporation), KSCSTE(Kerala State Council for Science, Technology & Environment) or KSITM (Kerala State IT Mission). KSUM can also make arrangements to access Angel Investors like IAN (Indian Angel Network) or TiE (The indus Entrepreneurs); Venture Capitalists and Accelerator funds for the entrepreneurs.
• Networks, Memberships and Contests
KSUM has wide networks comprising the government, industries, industry associations like TiE, NASSCOM, NBIA (National Business Incubator Association), InfoDev (initiative by World Bank), investors, universities, institutions like MIT USA and IIMs, R & D centres, OEM‟s like Apple & Raspberry Pi Foundation, business mentoring consultants like D2E, training institutions like ICT Academy, UNCTAD-Empretec and so on. KSUM‟s collaboration with Technopark has created a brand value and right industry ecosystem for the technopreneurs to groom.
Further KSUM would also encourage the startups to participate in various contests like TATA first.NEN, In 50 Hrs, international exhibitions like CeBIT & GITEX and international conferences like ISBA (Indian STEPS and Business Incubators Association).
KSUM would be devising potential technopreneurs from iEDC‟s or BootCamps at Colleges and mentor them to develop potential technology products that can be brought out in markets. KSUM in associating with government and incubators like startup village would constantly endeavor in inculcating entrepreneurship spirit right from schools and colleges by hosting several programmes and initiatives.
Extension centres at Colleges have been established under the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (IEDC) of the T-TBI to promote students in technology entrepreneurship. Currently, 42 Engineering Colleges in Kerala run IEDCs.
The Government of Kerala has come up with a Student Entrepreneurship Policy for promoting Entrepreneurship by offering 4% grace marks and 20% attendance. The student needs to be an incubatee under the TBI to be eligible to avail the privileges under the policy.
Technology Innovation Zone (TIZ)
The Technology Innovation Zone is a much innovative project under the TBI that operates at Kalamassery and which promotes technology in diverse sectors like Biotechnology, IT/ITeS, Telecom, Agriculture, Tourism, Coir, Health & Media. An area of 13.5 acres is earmarked for setting up the Innovation Zone.