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Narendra Modi initiative has Kochi’s ‘Startup Village’ plotting more success

On the cusp of the launch of 'Startup India' programme by Narendra Modi, Kochi's 'Startup Village' sits pretty with a list of grand achievements

Written by Vishnu Varma | New Delhi | Updated: January 18, 2016 1:15 am
The Startup Village incubation campus istartup village, startup india, narendra modi, startup india campaign, kerala startups, kochi startups, startups in india, india startup, arun jaitley, india economy, india news The Startup Village incubation campus in Kochi, Kerala (Photo courtesy: Startup Village/Facebook)

Four years ago, an idea took root in Kerala’s business capital of Kochi in the hope of attracting the best entrepreneurial minds among youngsters and creating successful start-ups. Startup Village (SV), as it was called, was a nascent idea then that drew not much attention. But today, on the cusp of the launch of a nationwide campaign that aims to spawn startups across the country, Startup Village in Kochi sits pretty with a list of grand accomplishments and a grander vision.

In April 2012, Startup Village commenced operations as India’s first public-private technological business incubator with the aim of creating at least 48 startup companies in five years. However, within three and a half years, it achieved its targets, becoming home to over 70 startups in typical incubation mode.

After its successful first phase, officials at SV are now excited about their next phase of expansion in which they aim for complete digitization of the incubation process right from filing applications to mentoring, resource allocation and final graduation. The target is to support 10,000 startup teams in the next five years. The ‘Startup India’ campaign that Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches on Saturday will be an added boost, top officials at SV told IndianExpress.com.

Read: The billion dollar club of Indian startups

“Startup India is a flagship programme of the government. The idea is recognition of the fact that startups are important for India’s future. I mean, you need to create a million jobs per month and traditional industries cannot create such jobs. The programme does not just talk about technology. Through it, someone sitting in a remote part of the country can contribute to the economy,” said Pranav Suresh, CEO, Startup Village.

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Suresh added that SV will exclusively deal with engineering students and campus teams in the second phase of operations.

WowMakers, a designing-cum-digital marketing company, was one of the first startups to be incubated at SV, Kochi. Started out as a graphic design studio, it now focuses more on animated explainer videos on specific topics.

“We had an absolutely life changing experience at Startup Village…Apart from providing us with good infrastructure, SV helped us in getting connected to many HNIs including top level executives, industry veterans, successful entrepreneurs and startup gurus,” said Vivek Raghavan, co-founder and CEO at WowMakers.

Another much talked-about startup is Fin Robotics which rattled tech conventions in Silicon Valley last year with its wearable technology brand. ‘Neyya’, as the product is called, is a smart ring, which when connected via Bluetooth, can control desktop computers and iPhones. With a swipe of the finger on the smooth capacitive touchpad, one can make/receive calls and lower music volumes on iTunes. The smart ring that was covered extensively in US gadget press is available on popular platforms like Amazon and Bloomingdales.

Last year, the team behind Fin Robotics made a presentation before the state cabinet which has promised to allocate 1% of the budget for entrepreneurship goals. The Kerala government has also decided to celebrate September 12 every year as Entrepreneurship Day.

Incubators like Startup Village have found favour among the administration at a time when startup companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola have made it big and entered the billion dollar club. With a young and aspiring demographic, many believe India can very well be the hotbed for enterprising startups that can contribute to national GDP as well as provide labour. For PM Modi, ‘Startup India’ programme is a way to create more jobs, boost technological know-how and most importantly to engage with the youth, a majority of whom were part of the movement that voted him to power in 2014.

narendra modi, modi foreign visits, modi foreign relations, Jawahar lal nehru, china, afghanistan, bangladesh, shashi tharoor bill, gay rights bill, dadri lynching Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the ‘Startup India’ programme on Saturday to encourage entrepreneurship talent in India (Source: PTI)

But it’s not going to be easy. Experts have pointed out systemic flaws that need to be corrected for the growth of small and medium sized companies.

“I am happy that it has come at the PMO level, but there are fundamental issues here like starting and closing a company. In India, it is difficult to start or close a business. The government should also streamline things in the companies act. Lack of infrastructure and rampant corruption is another problem,” said Prasanto Roy, a senior media consultant.

Roy also called for the government to introduce relevant courses in engineering design in colleges with the long-term goal of upgrading hardware design know-how.

Shiju Radhakrishnan, founder of iTraveller, an online travel company that was incubated in Kochi, believes startup friendly policies are the need of the hour.

“An entrepreneur should not spend valuable resources of time and money to register a company or take countless licenses from numerous government departments in order to start and run a business. Policies should be formulated to help startups grow rather than stall it,” he said in an email interview.

He, however, exuded confidence that the ‘Startup India’ programme will eventually help in ushering a stage when innovative and sector disruptive companies like Facebook and Air B&B will be conceived and founded in India.

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  1. D
    Jan 16, 2016 at 1:03 pm
    Start up India
    1. Hemen Parekh
      Jan 17, 2016 at 4:01 am
      TEN MILLION START- UPS IN ONE YEAR ? Thank you , Narendrabhai , for the Start Up Action Plan announced last evening I am glad that some of my suggestions ( sent to Ministers / Secretaries ) over the past 2 years , have been incorporated in the ACTION PLAN , in respect of : * Self Certification * Simplified Registration thru Mobile App * Tax Exemption for Capital Gains * Entrepreneurship Program for 10 lakh students * No Corporate Income Tax for 3 years You will find my detailed suggestions covering these points in following blogs at , : * A New Economic Order - Start Up Act 2015 / 12 Sept 2015 * From Job Seekers to Job Creators / 15 Sept 2015 * Back Up Factory of the World / 09 Sept 2015 * Blue Print for a Start Up Nation / 27 Dec 2015 * Creating Jobs Vs Creating Self Emplo ? / 10 Dec 2015 * Get Out of the Way / 01 Dec 2015 * Ten Million Entrepreneurs ? / 19 Oct 2015 * Start Up Eco System / USA vs India / 01 Oct 2015 * Treading the Beaten Path / 25 Sept 2015 * Second Industrial Revolution / 21 Sept 2015 * From Single Window to a Single Day ? / 19 Sept 2015 * Myth of Job Creation / 12 Sept 2015 * Killing Many Birds with One Stone / 07 Sept 2015 * If Mohamed cannot go to Mountain / 26 July 2015 * Ditch Historical Baggage / 24 Dec 2015 * Create Self Employment / 21 Feb 2015 Very likely , your initiative may see the birth of ten thousand new start-ups in 2016-17, which , together , might generate one lakh jobs In itself, this will bring a new dynamism to India's Economy But that will still fall far short of 12 Million ( 120 lakh ) youth joining the work-force each year Can all of these youth become Start Ups ? It is entirely possible All you need to do is to implement my following suggestion, described in , " A New Economic Order / Start Up Act - 2015 " / 12 Sept 2015 " : SUGGESTION * Although all Start Ups will need to file annual Income Tax returns ( with full disclosure of income / expenses / profits / sources of funds etc ) , it will not be required to pay any Corporate Income Tax for the first 10 years of its existence * A Start Up will be free to raise funds from any source ( Individuals / Companies / PE funds / VCs / Angel Investors / Religious Trusts etc ) * 100 % FDI will be permitted in Start Ups * A Start Up can receive loans or equity and be able to accept fixed deposits . It can also give loans to individuals or other Start Ups or invest in other Start Ups by way of equity * There will be no restrictions on what interest ( on loans / FDs ) that a Start Up may pay nor any restrictions on dividends it may declare The dividends declared by Start Ups will not attract any Income Tax * As far as the persons / companies etc providing funds to Start Ups ( by way of loans or equity ) is concerned , no questions will be asked re their source of funds WHAT WILL HAPPEN , IF IMPLEMENTED ? * Billions of rupees worth Black Money will flow into these Start Ups - money which is currently lying unutilized or locked up in unproductive ets * Within 3 months , thousands of Venture Capital Funds will be born , exclusively for funding of Start Ups ( You know who will set up these VCs ! ) * With NO Income Tax to be paid , Start Ups will conduct all transactions through cheques ( receipts / payments ) * GST collections will go up * Domestic Savings Rate will go up * Since millions of ( Black Money holding ) individuals / businesses will come forward to fund these Start Ups , lending pressure on banks will go down * Who knows , Start Ups may get into the business of ets Reconstruction and relieve banks of NPAs ! * With locally / domestically stashed Black Money flowing into the economy , our dependence on FDI will go down * Corruption will decline drastically Dear Shri Narendrabhai : It is still not late to incorporate my suggestion in forthcoming Union Budget on 29 Feb 2016 This is your opportunity to * Dream BIG * Enable millions to dream big * Unleash the Entrepreneurial Genome of India's Youth * Make 21st Century , an Indian Century * notwithstanding the opposition in Rajya Sabha ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- hemen parekh 17 Jan 2016
      1. K
        Jan 16, 2016 at 11:01 am
        It is heartening to note that the Concept of Start Up is initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The majority of the success so far achieved is in the I T sector, which is different in nature than that of other industry/business. Therefore the over all success achievement of Start Ups has to be evaluated based on the success in other industries/business only.
        1. K
          Jan 16, 2016 at 11:37 am
          What has a startup incubator in Cochin gotta do with Damodaradas initiative of start up India?nothing.These two things are unrelated.For the record, Indian startups have always been failures and before Damodaradas launched this all talk program, many startups have sprouted and died out in Delhi alonedians are not original and therefore they can copy, but cant start anything.Most of India's major drivers were foreigners and not Hindi speakers, anyone from TATA to the British Empire.Other small drivers like the concept of a cohesive Empire was formulated in Dravidians speaking areas, the Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas, The Vijayanagaras and the likes.The Indian Empire(Of Bharat) however is a mythical, intanngible empire of faith and myth, unproven and non existent and similarly because of a Hindi tendency towards hoopla(Gibberish) and no stuff of the ground, the general Indian culture is designed to be followers and not leaders .So, I doubt these start ups are but pipe dreams just like Clean Poo river Ganges or Swacha Baccha Bharat.
          1. M
            Jan 16, 2016 at 1:24 pm
            This scamgressi looterra and herald scamster raul baba, who is now making loudest of noises for intolerance conviniently forgot how scores of hindus were burnt alive by goggoi men in bodoland and similarly when 12 aklahs were burnt alive by gahhlots men in mive riots in gopalgad,rajjasthan in broad day light!
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