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Belgium for Ties with Kerala startups: Diplomat at Maker Village Meet

In Business
April 06, 2019

Belgium is looking forward to fostering relations with India in the hardware sector by going for more collaborations with startups particularly in Kerala, an international conference in this city was told today.

The move for strong tie-ups with startups around Kochi comes amid the West European nation’s efforts to come up with more number of private high-growth tech companies called unicorns, according to Mark Van De Vreken, Belgium Consul General to South India. Addressing the Hardtech ’19 organised here by Maker Village, the Chennai-based diplomat recalled that Belgium had earlier this year got its first unicorn when 2008-founded software firm Collibra joined the prestigious league of data governance technology startups by raising 100 million US dollars.

“Startups are key to the advancement of a digital economy. Belgium, with 11 million (110 lakh) people, is aiming to generate jobs for 50,000 people in this sector by 2020. It is a big number for a (less populous) country like ours,” he told delegates at the post-inaugural session of the National Deeptech Startup Conclave being held at Kinfra Hi-Tech Park in Kalamassery.

Vreken, addressing the session on ‘India-EU Co-creation of Value for Startup’, pointed out that Belgium, standing 25th in GDP world rankings, had top universities that accord priority to scientific innovation and advancement. It is not just more skilled jobs that is the country’s focus; “we are focusing on digital confidence in our bid to check misuse of technology,” he added.

Maker Village is India’s largest electronic hardware incubator, with 68 startups being incubated and 28 patents having been filed.

Diplomat Vreken’s presentation was followed by two tech talks in the forenoon session of Friday. Jacob Peter, Vice President, Robert Bosch Engineering, gave a keynote address on ‘Digitization and Automation’ while, ‘5G: Opportunities & Challenges – Startup Perspectives’ was the subject of a powerpoint presentation by Radhe Shyam Sarda, CTO, Huawei, India.

The April 5-6 event features addresses by 50 speakers who included senior government officials, leaders from global technology firms, entrepreneurs from across the country and the world, besides academicians from top universities around the world. Hardtech ’19 showcases live products by matured startups with cutting-edge technologies. They include ones from Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad. The event also features a technology expo displaying products of technology firms, service providers, vendors and products from SMEs and MSMEs from the technology space apart from those by startups.

The conclave coincides with the setting up of advanced/scaled-up prototyping and productisation facilities, commencement of Center of Excellence (CoE) on Engineering Design and Simulation and the initiation of the operation of International Hardware Accelerator.