By April 2012, India’s first telecom incubator, Startup Village, will be made operational in Kochi, Kerala. With a targeted investment of INR 1 billion, the project aims to nurture over 1,000 student technology startups in the telecom space during the next 10 years.
“Of the 15,000 sq ft, 5,000 sq ft will be opened. The administrative block and training facility with a 50-seater mini conference hall, where ‘hackathorn’, blogging and other events have been chalked out, will be opened on April 1. The Blackberry Innovation Zone partnered by RIM India and space for companies will be opened on April 4,” said Sijo George, CEO, Startup Village.
The project is being set up by: The National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) under the Department of Science and Technology (DST); Technopark, an incubator run by the Kerala government; and MobMe Wireless, a private firm.
The incubator will select the best 100 ideas from the country for setting up of start-ups. The business ideas will be shortlisted and finalized by the panel, comprising of eminent personalities from the telecom industry. The government of Kerala has provided 15,000 sq ft of space in Kochi at a subsidized price of INR 2 per sq ft for the incubator, of which 5,000 sq ft is being launched in April this year.
Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala, says “The selected students (or can we say future entrepreneurs) under the incubator will be further supported by the Government of Kerala by extending attendance and grace marks in colleges with what is currently being given to sports and NCC.”
The chipmaker Qualcomm will be providing 4G connectivity to the incubator, according to the Startup Village authorities. Angel investors are expected to be part of the Startup village. There are a lot of Kerala entrepreneurs who work elsewhere; the idea is to bring them back home. The Nasscom Top 10 Emerging Companies of 2011 has three companies whose founders are from Kerala (MobME, Innoz and Wifinity Technologies).