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CM Opens Kerala’s First Campus Industrial Park Set up with Zoho at Kottarakkara

In Business, Career
February 20, 2024

KOLLAM:
Noting that by 2050 most job opportunities will be in technology sector, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today said the government is fast-tracking the project to set up campus industrial parks in colleges across the state to sharpen Kerala’s competitive edge.

The Chief Minister was speaking while inaugurating the state’s first Campus Industrial Park and R&D Centre, at College of Engineering, Kottarakkara.

Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) and Institute of Human Resources Development (IHRD) have collaborated with world’s leading SaaS provider Zoho Corporation to set up the park that aims at harnessing local talents by training them in cutting-edge technologies.

Minister for Finance K N Balagopal presided over the function. Minister for Higher Education and Social Justice Dr R Bindu delivered the keynote address on the occasion.

Dr Rathan U Kelkar, Secretary, Electronics & IT, Government of Kerala, welcomed the gathering. Municipal Corporation Chairman S R Ramesh; IHRD Director Dr V A Arun Kumar; Co-Founder of Zoho Tony G Thomas and KSUM CEO Anoop Ambika also attended.

Vijayan thanked Zoho Corporation for setting up the R&D facility at the Park for training youngsters in innovative technology and said similar facilities can be established in all districts.

The Park has 3,500 sqft of space and around 5,000 youngsters will be trained in industry entrepreneurship sector in five years.

Stressing that the technology sector in the state needs to catch up with the changes happening world over, Vijayan urged engineering colleges to create a strong foundation to equip the youths to take up the challenges.

The Chief Minister said incubation centres at engineering colleges and initiatives like ‘Connect Career to Campus’ are meant to develop students’ skills and help them get placed in innovative sectors.

On the initiatives of the government in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector that promises plenty of opportunities for startups, Shri Vijayan said around 16 private industrial parks have been set up in the state and eight others are awaiting approval. Another 25 private parks are expected to be allotted next year.

“The ‘Mission 1000’ initiative aims at scaling up 1000 MSMEs into businesses with an average annual turnover of Rs. 100 crore in a span of four years. As many as 552 applications have been received under the initiative,” he added.

In his address, Balagopal termed the campus industrial park and R&D Centre as the milestones in Kerala’s industrial history.

Balagopal, recalling his visit to Zoho’s office at Tenkasi spending a whole day to learn about the facility there, said the path-breaking initiative will transform the state into an R&D hub for the entire nation.

The Minister informed that the R&D facility will start functioning at the Park first and a recruitment drive will begin on February 21 for applicants from streams like BSc, MSc, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

In her keynote address, Dr Bindu lauded the commitment of a global company like Zoho in skill development and promoting entrepreneurship in its countryside office at Tenkasi, just a two-hour drive from Kottarakkara.

Noting that Kerala has brilliant talent and R&D pool, Founder of Zoho, Sridhar Vembu said the state needs to leverage it to improve the quality of life and contribute to the nation’s development.

Vembu said Kerala’s peaceful atmosphere and potential of youth attracted Zoho Corporation to set up the R&D facility at the Park.

Anoop Ambika said the collaboration with Zoho will give greater momentum to the government’s ambitious plan of transforming Kerala into the world’s design and prototyping hub, besides imparting an added thrust to the state’s transformation into a Knowledge Economy.

“The Park envisions the mission of empowering the local business ecosystem by generating intellectual property (IP) right and product research and development from rural areas,” Anoop noted.

To begin with, around 30 students will be hand-picked from the applicants for on-job training with stipend. Based on their performance and potential, they will be inducted for future openings. Zoho Corporation has invited applications for internship at the R&D centre. To apply, visit: https://zurl.to/5Yl

Talented rural youths will be trained in cutting-edge technologies and provided opportunities for R&D activities at the campus industrial park, known as Zoho R&D Labs. The Campus Industrial Park Project aims to create new entrepreneurs in manufacturing of tools and other power tools for MSME sector.

Its other key features include setting up R&D support in fabrication workshops, conducting internship programmes and workshops for building career, inculcating entrepreneurial attitude and providing guidance, besides facilitating local and global networking opportunities for selected indigenous startups.

The industrial park will also collaborate and invest in potential local startups.

KSUM, established in 2006 under the Kerala government, works for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.