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Kerala Top Performer in States’ Startup Ranking

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has got rewarded for its efforts in nurturing the startup ecosystem of innovators and entrepreneurs, with the Government of India lauding its initiatives in a nationwide ranking of states’ performance in the field.

The Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), the nodal agency for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state, received the honour of ‘Top Performer’ in the annual States’ Startup Ranking 2018 exercise held in New Delhi.

A total of 27 states and 3 Union Territories participated in the 2018 ranking exercise, which was launched by Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry, on February 6.The other states who received the ‘Top Performer’ ranking included Karnataka, Odisha and Rajasthan. The state of Gujarat bagged the ‘Best Performer’ ranking. Other categories on which the states were ranked included Beginners, Emerging States, Aspiring Leaders, and Leaders.

“As a state with very limited industrial activity, Kerala has put a serious bent on development of startups. And we’ve had India’s first state startup policy way back in 2014. This recognition is testimony of the work we have done,” said Dr. Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM, after accepting the honour by Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

The ‘Top Performers’ category recognises states which have displayed visionary leadership and took strategic initiatives to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, the States’ Startup Ranking 2018 report said.

In this regard, some of Kerala’s major achievements highlighted by the States Startup Ranking include: the state’s policy support for startups through a Startup policy since 2014; the setting up of entrepreneurship cells in all districts of the state; and an institutional mechanism for financing Startups-Kerala Startup Corpus Fund.

According to the ranking, Kerala is also recognised as a leader for startup policy implementation, incubation hubs, seeding and scaling innovation, as well as awareness and outreach in the field of startups.

Elaborating on the state’s key milestones in setting up startups, Dr. Gopinath added: “Today, Kerala has close to half a million square feet of incubation space dedicated exclusively for startups. We have a policy of developing a pipeline of startups by incubating at colleges and creating innovation cells even in schools. We have more than 30 incubators in the state. Kerala created a fund of fund to ensure that the venture capitalists also come to the state. All these activities have resulted in around 2,000 startups coming up in the last few years, with many of them receiving national and international recognition.”

The Top Performer ranking also recognised efforts of ‘Champions of State’, who have been instrumental in strengthening the startup ecosystem. From Kerala, Dr. Gopinath and M Sivasankar, Secretary, IT, Government of Kerala, were felicitated with the title.

In Kerala, a series of reforms are being planned under the startup policy in order to boost its pan-India rankings with respect to other states. Easing state or public procurement of startups as well as focusing on women entrepreneurship are two areas that have witnessed fresh reforms, the KSUM CEO said.

The ranking framework for the participating states was based on seven pillars: startup policy and implementation, incubation support, seed funding support, angel and venture funding support, simplified regulations, easing public procurement, and awareness and outreach.

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