How the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) provides an opportunity for innovation, investment and entrepreneurship in the startup environment
Kerala is one of the states striving to create a vibrant ecosystem of sustainable startups working on exponential technologies, developing solutions that address the problems of society as a whole. The Kerala government has been an early adopter of startup products and services and is proactively creating various programs to further this trend. For this purpose, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) was established in 2006, with a vision of promoting technology based entrepreneurial activities, by offering the appropriate ecosystem and infrastructure.
This nodal government agency was established with the aim of promoting technology-driven entrepreneurial activities and creating the infrastructure and ecosystem required to support high-tech startups. Looking at today, the organization has been able to build a vibrant ecosystem for startups that allows tech entrepreneurs to pursue their goals and dreams by providing them with full support in the startup lifecycle.
It is encouraging to note that with multiple interventions under the Kerala Startup Mission and sector specific partner organizations, there are 3,900 registered startups, 6 lakh + sq ft of incubation space, 67 incubators, 370 micro incubators, a future technologies lab and laboratories IOT, and MIT Super Fab Lab to promote digital manufacturing and 22 Fab Labs including small Fabul factories are distributed across different regions.
Enabling grants of INR 25 crore in five years
Over the years, KSUM has worked tirelessly to help startups beat the competition and make their businesses viable. It has awarded grants over Rs 25 crore to new and old startups since 2017, strengthening the startup ecosystem in the state. The Innovation Grants are offered as first and large seed capital to product startups in Kerala, which aim to encourage ideas and turn them into full-fledged enterprises. In the past five years, KSM has received more than 8000 innovative ideas from tech startups, including 23 Vidyarthi startups. Of these, 2,000 startups were selected and 550 ideas were awarded grants for innovation. In an effort to break records, KSU supported 170 startups by distributing grants worth Rs 689.15 in 2021-22, across various sectors, despite the turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The most important achievements of King Saud University over the years
- Recognized by UBI Global as the world’s #1 public business accelerator in 2019
- State was named the best performer in the 2019 Government Startup Rankings by DPIIT
- The State was ranked as the best performer in the State Startup Ranking 2018 by the Ministry of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade
- Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation in Public Policy 2016
- T-TBI won an award; 2nd best science-based incubator in the world, established by CSES, UK and Techno-Policy Network, Netherlands
- T-TBI won the AABI Incubator Award
- T-TBI won the 2014 Golden Peacock National Coaching Award
- T-TBI won the 2013 National People’s Rights Appreciation Forum Award
- Country Ranking for Startups – 2021 – Top Performing Country by Startup India
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Startup ecosystem in Kerala
A large number of socio-economic and demographic factors have led to a paradigm shift in the entrepreneurial landscape of Kerala. The Kerala government is proactively working on this by establishing various programs to inculcate an entrepreneurial culture in the impending younger generations of the state. The startup ecosystem is well prepared to celebrate the next quantum leap, and the Kerala Startup Mission has initiated various steps to create a startup ecosystem in the state.
To provide an excellent opportunity for the growth of innovation, investment and entrepreneurship, King Saud University has developed various programs to assist companies in every step of their entrepreneurial journey.
- Student level programs: SALT, IEDC, Local Entrepreneurship Development Program and Future Labs
- Initial stage support: Quick Fail or Success, Idea Grant, Rental Subsidy, Custody
- accelerator program
- Financing: Foundation Fund and Fund Programs Fund
- Business support: Cross Cell Platforms – Days of big presentations, government as a market, merchandising platforms, marketing support, international business delegations.
- Kerala Research Innovation Network
- Fab and Future Labs
- Grant: Scaleup Grant, Productisation Grant
- Women support: Soft Loan Program for Women Entrepreneurs, Seed Fund for Women Entrepreneurs, Technology Marketing Support for Women, Production Grant for Women/Transgender Women
Empowering and accelerating the success of startups in various sectors
To provide startups with great opportunities for growth and sustainability, University City is expanding their horizons in more ways than one. He is currently focusing on priority sectors such as agritech, fintech, health technology, hardware, Internet of Things, and SAAS so that emerging startups within a plethora of categories get the attention and support they need to make it big.
Let’s take a look at how KSUM is working across sectors to boost the entrepreneurship landscape.
Agritech: Fresh Farmers Zone (FFZ)
Farmers Fresh Zone (FFZ) is a farming technology launched in 2016 to focus on the farm-to-fork model, delivering fresh, safe-to-eat fruits and vegetables to urban consumers backed by powerful technology, while also meeting the needs of local farmers. The company leverages technology at all stages of the supply chain from demand forecasting, production planning, farm unit, supply chain, and e-commerce with traceability. The free zone zone ensures better income for farmers and healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables for consumers in less than 20 hours from harvest.
TraiCE is a B2B SaaS platform that leverages AI/ML and NLP to help funders objectively analyze the future risks of the companies they associate with. Daily Digital Risk Index – Business Sentiment Index (BSI), calculated from the digital footprint of companies such as news and social media, the Daily Early Warning Risk Index (EWR) is assessed by combining financial metrics with this digital indicator. For financial measurements, TraiCE consumes data from credit bureaus and the financier’s internal and published data.
Healthtech- Genrobotic Innovations Pvt. Ltd.
Genrobotics is a national award winning startup headquartered in Technopark, Kerala, primarily focused on designing and developing robotic solutions that help people recover faster from disabilities, and ensure safety for those facing extremes through human-friendly robotic solutions. Founded on June 21, 2017, Genrobotics developed the world’s first robotic scavenger solution, Bandicoot, and a robotic-assisted gait training solution, Gaiter for faster rehabilitation of paraplegics. Genrobotics is backed by prominent investors such as Anand Mahindra, Zoho Corp, Rajan Anandan, Unicorn India Ventures and SEA funds.
HR Technology – Zappyhire
Founded in 2018, Zappyhire is a global recruitment automation startup that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate end-to-end recruitment processes for companies. This promising startup has a powerful and highly scalable product that both recruiters and job seekers will benefit from with its simple and easy to use interface. It has shown consistent growth in terms of revenue and global expansion since its inception and is employed by more than 1,600 recruiters across the globe including the Middle East, the United States and the European Union.
Drone fuselage innovations
Fuselage Innovations Private Limited specializes in the manufacture of custom UAVs/UAVs. The organization undertakes agricultural plant surveying and aerial spraying, to ensure agricultural, monitoring, fire protection and other customized drone solutions as per requirements. This technology helps identify and treat pests, treat nutrient deficiencies in crops, and more. Predictive analysis has helped reduce agricultural inputs by up to 70% and make the process ten times faster.
Powered by 360 degrees from KSUM, Kerala has emerged as the pinnacle of India’s startup revolution in the past few years. The agency has created the kind of opportunity for growth of innovation, investment and entrepreneurship that the country urgently requires. Currently, the state is one of the best places to start a business in the country with KSUM’s technology-based entrepreneurship ecosystem and infrastructure.
To learn more about SKMC and its various undertakings, click here or visit its Facebook page.