Kerala should become the world’s most fertile place for startups, considering the limited prospects of big companies in the state owing to its special socio-geographical features, Youth Affairs and Culture Minister Saji Cheriyan said today.
“Our state serves all the reasons and open startups and develop them on a priority basis. It is with this mind the chief minister has set a target of one lakh business initiatives in the next five years,” Cheriyan said after inaugurating an IEDC (innovation and entrepreneurship development centre) summit at Palai in this south-central Kerala district. “Kerala’s high-density population and peculiar geographical conditions do not entertain unlimited nourishment of big industrial houses.”
More than 4,000 students and young entrepreneurs from over 340 colleges are participating in the conference at the St Joseph’s Engineering College, 25 km northeast of this city.
The Minister regretted that the educated youth in Kerala continued to chase ‘safe’ government jobs. “The government is incapable of giving govt jobs to each one of you. It will be welcome if youngsters having completed professional courses do not aspire for employment in government offices or PSUs,” he noted.
Even as there is a boom in the number of startups in Kerala, young entrepreneurs should ensure that the businesses are for social good, Shri Cheriyan pointed out. The new industrial climate ensures involvement in the trades of one’s choice unlike in olden times when caste decided profession, he added.
KSUM Chief Executive Officer John M. Thomas said the role of startups was going to be critical for the country when India was set to become the world’s third biggest economic power in the next eight years. “India saw the emergence of 70-odd unicorn startups in the past two years. This should be inspiring for our young entrepreneurs,” he noted in his online address.
Palai Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt revealed that the summit would discuss at length the scope of future technologies and the complexities of entrepreneurship. APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University Vice Chancellor Dr Rajasree M.S., in her keynote address, expressed the hope that the IEDC summit will see generation of cutting-edge thoughts that can help disrupt current technologies.
Other speakers included KSUM Director P.M. Riyas, St Joseph’s College’s Administrative Chairman Dr Joseph Maleparambil, Principal Dr J. Davis and the college IEDC CEO Arun Alex.
No less than 20 experts gave classes at IEDC summit, leading sessions and panel discussions on The Future of Women in the World of Technology, From Campus to the Market, Social Entrepreneurships, Design Thinking (workshop), Fundamentals of Industrial Robotics Arm and Virtual Reality Zone.
The summit announced grant worth Rs 50 lakh to 64 selected startups. Besides prizes were given away to winning startups of the Innovator’s Premier League (IPL).
KSUM is a nodal agency of the Kerala government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.