Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) will set up ‘LEAP Coworks’ in all the incubation centres of the state, authorities revealed today at the inauguration of the first such facility that aims to catalyse innovation and collaboration in the industry ecosystem.
Kasaragod MLA N.A. Nellikunnu declared open the pioneering centre of KSUM’s LEAP, which stands for ‘Launch Empower Accelerate Prosper’, in the city. “We, as people of the northern-most district, are happy to have been selected for the debut installation of such a centre,” the legislator noted at the ceremony.
Kasaragod MP Rajmohan Unnithan dedicated the LEAP facility to the public, by cutting the ribbon.
KSUM Chief Executive Officer Anoop Ambika, while presiding over the function, said welcomed aspiring entrepreneurs of startups to register at the LEAPS Coworks, which seeks to encourage networking for their benefit. “We are setting up, earliest possible, LEAP centres across the state. They will provide comprehensive support and resources to startups and entrepreneurs in Kerala,” he noted, revealing KSUM’s plans to transform industry incubators into a vibrant co-working space.
Dr Usha Titus, Chairperson and Managing Director of Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) under the state government, said in her keynote address that domestic preoccupations continued to check women from going for jobs outside of home. “Once LEAP centres come up, women in even small towns can look forward to IT-related employment,” she said. “Making best use of opportunities is integral to female empowerment.”
Other speakers included Kasaragod District Panchayat President Baby Balakrishnan and Vice-President Shanavas Padhoor.
The function saw distribution of kits to startups that figured among the first ten registrants at the LEAP’s inaugural centre in Kasaragod. Also, certificates were distributed to the pilots who completed training as ASAP’s drone pilot category. The 16 of them qualified for licence under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
The ceremony was followed by sessions, where the speakers included Live Law founder Shri P.V. Dinesh, Advocate Harish Vasudevan, Shri Joy Sebastian (Techgentia) and Firoz Kannipoyil (FZ Rover). The event was attended by 250 delegates comprising students and youngsters as well as aspiring and news entrepreneurs. Besides the talks, there was a drone expo and workshops, including one on ChatGPT.
The KSUM CEO said LEAP offers state-of-the-art infrastructure, well-designed workspaces, meeting rooms, high-speed internet connectivity and other essential amenities required for a productive work environment.
“Even while LEAP will enable transition into a coworking model, KSUM will continue to provide incubation support services to startups,” Ambika said. “These will include mentorship programs, business development assistance, access to funding opportunities and expert guidance.”
Overall, LEAP aims to foster a community of like-minded individuals and startups, organising regular events, workshops and networking sessions to facilitate connections. Further, KSUM will introduce flexible membership plans to accommodate various needs of the startup, including hot desks, dedicated desks, and private office spaces. These plans will provide startups with the flexibility to scale their operations as they grow.
LEAP aims to become the single access point for entrepreneurs to enter the startup ecosystem. Also, one will get access to the KSUM schemes like grants, seed loans, market access, mentors’ connect and investors’ connect. Angel investors and venture capitalists benefit from LEAP Coworks as they gain exposure to a vibrant community of startups and entrepreneurs, creating opportunities for investment and strategic partnerships.
KSUM is the nodal agency of the Kerala government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.