Thiruvananthapuram: College teachers in Kerala can now dabble in entrepreneurship with the state government giving its nod to a proposal of the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) to grant sabbatical leave to the faculty members of all colleges who intend to establish startups.
According to the proposal, which came up for deliberations at the 18th meeting of the Executive Committee of the KSUM, college teachers can start their own startups, form their groups or join as founders/co-founders along with students.
An expert panel, comprising KSUM CEO Dr. Saji Gopinath and with four other members, will select 10 faculty members on a pilot basis for the implementation of the project. Representatives of KTU, CUSAT, AICTE and Dinesh Thampi, CTO, TCS, Kochi are other members in the panel.
IT Secretary M. Sivasankar said the Kerala government’s project is the first-of-its-kind in India. “The participation of teachers, with active support from college authorities and parents, will bring experience and responsibility in the startups,” he hoped.
Dr. Gopinath said the KSUM had submitted the proposal to the government to give an impetus to the functioning of startups and culture of innovation. “The initiative will greatly contribute to the government’s determined efforts to strengthen and accelerate the startup ecosystem through active participation of the teaching community.”
As per the proposal guidelines, college teachers members can avail sabbatical leave with or without pay from their institutions. The scheme is open only to regular teachers of the institutions.
Besides, the institution should give an undertaking to re-induct the faculty member on completion of the sabbatical leave, if he/she desires to rejoin. Sabbatical leave will be given as per the rules applicable to the institution where they are working.
In case of non-payment or payment of reduced salary, the faculty member will be paid a fellowship of Rs. 50,000 or last drawn salary whichever is lower during the period of sabbatical leave. The maximum duration of the fellowship is 24 months.
Faculty members, with innovative project in Proof of Concept (POC) or prototype stage or above only, will be considered for fellowship. All the benefits, including R&D grant, scale up grant, seed fund, international exchange programme, business visits, training and mentoring available for startups, will also be extended to startups by faculty members.