Academic Intervention Included In The Kerala Startup Policy To Foster A Culture Of Entrepreneurship – Part II

The Kerala Startup Policy has focussed on fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and listed several academic interventions. Of the same, the mostly institutional approaches were discussed in Part I. This segment focuses on the proposed skill building and related approaches.


The Policy takes a rather futuristic approach by discussing the Distribution of Raspberry Pi/Arduino/Little Bits Kits and Startup boxes to the studentsas an academic intervention. It envisages that with the schools in the state distributing these and other micro controller or microprocessor based Startup boxes to students, it would promote the learning of basic computer science and electronics in schools through DIY projects. Taking this a step forward, is a leadership academy at Technology Innovation Zone at Kalamassery to impart leadership skills, boot camps or College and School Level Entrepreneurship Development Clubs, one day incubator led Entrepreneurship Learning training programs in schools for exposure and weekend workshops with the Leadership Academy for collegeswould further the process.


While partnerships with the private sector, industries, universities, schools and colleges are clearly the backbone of the proposed academic interventions, there is also a focus on attracting international mentors. In this context, the Government would be providing financial support to Incubators in order to bring in international consultants, mentors as well as for hiring and training local fresh talent. This particular academic intervention would surely be strengthened by the next listed one; that of an International Startup Culture and Exchange Programmeto be designed to give opportunities to the most brilliant startups, college and school students to travel to leading startup destinations around the world. This extends togiving opportunities to select college principles and teachers as well; to travel to key universities abroad like Stanford, Harvard and MIT. Going further, this intervention proposes to build a partnership between global and local start ups for accelerated learning and growth.


Other academic interventions include setting up Innovation Zoneswhereinthere will be closer institutional interaction for creating innovative products within the government departments and organisations itself. This intervention refers to the model followed by Kerala State Electricity Board. When it comes to market support and state database, startups would get a priority from the Government and this would extend to business networking and promotional events as well. This would include promoting and encouraging their participation in events on both national and international platforms and startup delegations to identified Exhibitions and Conferences; promotional events and roadshows and providing economically viable options such as reimbursement of certain costs at 50% for all and 100% for SC/ST and women entrepreneurs. Support will also be provided in terms of finances for digital marketing with most of the Social, Mobility Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) enterprises being in the B2C space.


One of the most interesting aspects of the academic interventions proposed in this Policy is the stress on leveraging existing resources. One such approach is evident in what is listed as Building Startups with Technology Depth through Research Institutions. This refers to creating a state wide network of Research Institutions with Incubators to support institutes and their scientists to convert their intellectual properties into commercially viable products.


Besides this, two day Scientific Conferences for Industry-Institute collaborationannually along with State Entrepreneurship Day would see scientists and researchers from around the world in participation with all Research Institutions (both central and state) operating in Kerala being invited. The Department of Science & Technology and Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation shall jointly organize this annual conference thus making it a major and rather promising initiative.


Not only is the Kerala Start up Policy focussed on fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, it is also highly futuristic. This is evident through its academic interventions discussed above. It is doubly evident by another key academic intervention; that of Brain Inspired Computing. This would be a state of the art, high end lab  which like the Leadership Academy would also be setup in Technology Innovation Zone, Kalamassery and  open to students, professors and startups. With the support of the private sector, this would be for research and product development into the latestadvances of brain-computer interface.


All in all, the Kerala Start Up Policy skilfully weaves together all stakeholders including the existing and upcoming start ups, industries, institutions, its own state government and relevant departments, universities, colleges, schools and other educational institutions to create a strong State wide culture of entrepreneurship. The proposed academic interventions are not only interwoven with each other, but also have much merit and are sure to take the plans a long way ahead.