Assuring total support to investors , Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Friday that Kerala is the most ideal destination for startups and technology giants to choose as the hub of their India, Middle East and South Asia business operations.
Inaugurating the second edition of “Huddle Kerala,” Asia’s largest startup convergence, at Kovalam beach resort here, Vijayan said considering the state’s inherent strength like high socio -economic parameters and digitally aware and empowered population, Kerala is a great piloting opportunity for startups seeking to expand in India and other emerging markets.
“I welcome startups from abroad and other parts of India to consider making Kerala as a base for your India, Middle East and South East Asia business efforts”, the Chief Minister said inaugurating the two-day event that brought together the best business and technological minds from across the globe.
“We have the talent, support system as well as the market potential to emerge as the innovation hub of India”, he said, recalling that “ it is in this pristine state that Travis Kalanick found inspiration to code the initial version of Uber.”
Referring to Kerala’s famed global exposure since ancient times, Vijayan said Kerala now boasts of a thriving startup and innovation ecosystem, which offers a lot of incubation facilities, corporate tie-ups and financial systems facilitated by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM).
In a landmark move, the Government had a couple of years back invested in Funds-of-Funds scheme through SEBI accredited funds, which had helped startups to take off and scaleup, he said.
Many success stories like the manhole-cleaning robot ‘Bandicoot’ of Gen-robotics, have received equity support from international investors like Tiger Global. On its part, the Government has come out with a unique procurement policy by which various departments have been given permission to purchase technology products upto Rs one crore from startups. Also, startups have been facilitated to work closely with the government.
The state-led interventions such as establishing Innovation Entrepreneurship Development Cells, distributing Raspberry Pi kits among school children and setting up telepresence network have helped in developing a culture of innovation at school and college levels, he said.
Noting that many initiatives of Huddle 2018 have yielded result, the Chief Minister said he was excited to note that Mr Christopher Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, is joining the meet through video-conferencing. He said the Government is also looking forward to more meaningful associations with OPPO and Orbit and Wadhwani Foundation.
The Chief Minister also launched ‘WING-Women Rise Together’ an initiative supported by Startup India ,to identify and support women entrepreneurs and Adobe Creative Jam, the design hackathon to be organized in association with KSUM. On the occasion, KSUM exchanged three MOUs signed with OPPO, Wadhwani Foundation and Orbital Microsystems Ltd.
M Sivasankar, Secretary, IT and Electronics, Kerala , said Huddle Kerala will be the most exciting startup conclave in the coming years. Anil Agrawal , Joint Secretary DPIIT, and Jitender S Minhas, CEO IAMI Startup Foundation, were also present.
The focal point for tech startups and relevant stake-holders of entrepreneurial ecosystem, the two-day Huddle 2019 is also packed with Leadership Talks, Tech talks, Fireside chat, Beachside Huddle, Speed Dating with investors and startup demos.
The speaker line-up included successful founders, serial entrepreneurs, investors, academics, government officials and industry bigwigs , whose focus was on emerging and future tech sectors like Blockchain, IoT, AI, Big Data, Digital Entertainment, AR/VR, Drone Tech, and e-Gov/m-Gov.