In a novel initiative to foster entrepreneurship, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) will launch one-stop destinations across the world in a bid to strengthen the ecosystem for nascent companies in the state.
Called ‘Startup Infinity’, these centres will also serve as launch pads for Kerala startups that are keen to explore foreign markets. Also enabling non-resident Indians (NRIs) to help become entrepreneurs in association with KSUM, the endeavour will be initially launched in the USA, Europe, UAE and Australia.The Startup Infinity programme, which aims to unite the NRI population and encourage them to launch their own businesses both abroad and in Kerala, will gain more locations based on the experience from these pilot engagements.
Authorities plan to set up the Startup Infinity centres in association with global partners who will be selected through official procedures. KSUM will soon publish on its website an open call for Expression of Interest. A KSUM expert committee will evaluate the applications, based on the scoring criteria that will take into account the expertise, knowledge and networks available with the applicants besides the quality and cost of the proposed facility.
The selected partner will have to then provide a commercial proposal along with an engagement plan that will also show the key performance indicators for a mutually-agreed contract period. KSUM will sign agreements with the selected entities to establish the Startup Infinity centres. While these agreements will not be for more than one year, KSUM will do a quarterly review of the centre and assess its performance. Renewals, if any, will be based on an annual evaluation by the expert committee.
Initiated with the objective of helping Kerala-based startups explore the overseas market, the Infinity Centres seek to make Kerala a key point of access for overseas startups to explore the Indian market. The idea is to establish an engagement and co-creation space where founders from Kerala and the NRI community come together, network, ideate and establish new ventures. The endeavour also aims to create NRI angel networks to support Kerala’s startup ecosystem and increase the quantum of funding and investment into IT projects in the state.
Under the Startup Infinity programme, KSUM will help register a company in Kerala, while also providing plug-and-play facilities in the host countries. It will extend incubation support during product development and scale-up stages. Further, it will invite participations in its investment initiatives and lend opportunity to network with Kerala-based angel syndicates and co-invest with venture capitalists that are part of its ‘Fund of Funds’ programme. It will also give access to KSUM’s meet-ups with investors, businesses and corporates; Demo days; Hackathons and innovation challenges.KSUM is the nodal agency of the Kerala government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.