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National Innovation Council to Showcase Startup Village

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The National Innovation Council (NInC) has decided to include the Startup Village, country's first telecom incubator, as its officially backed showcase project -- a move that would prompt other state governments to replicate this model.

The endorsement came at a full sitting of NInC in Kochi earlier this week, after the Startup Village team and Shaffi Mather, Economic Advisor to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, made an elaborate presentation on the project, official release said.

The project seeks to create 1,000 student start-ups in 10 years in the telecom sector, it added.

Headed by Sam Pitroda, adviser to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations (PIII), NInC is the official think-tank to discuss, analyse and help implement strategies for innovation in India and suggest measures for innovation during 2010-2020.

At the meeting, Pitroda suggested bringing out a white paper on the Startup Village to scale the model by other state governments.

The meeting was held as a follow up to the visit by the NInC Chairman to Startup Village in Kochi earlier this month.

Touted as the largest national attempt to scale up innovation in the country, Startup Village aims to search for billion-dollar companies to rise out of an Indian campus through incubators in collaboration with the private sector.

It is India's first PPP model incubator backed by Department of Science and Technology, Goverment of India, Technopark and MobME Wireless. Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder of Infosys is the chief mentor for the Startup Village.

The NInC meeting also appreciated Kerala government's support to the Startup Village through its landmark student entrepreneurship policy, which provides 20 per cent attendance and 4 per cent grace marks to students who pursue innovation on the campus.

"The policy, announced by the Kerala Chief Minister, has to be viewed as a step to support youth to be job creators rather than job seekers," the NInC said.

"The momentum that Startup Village has had over the last eight months will now get a huge impetus with the endorsement from National Innovation Council. It will greatly help in our efforts to build the world's largest telecom incubator by early 2014," Sanjay Vijayakumar, Chairman of Board of Governors of Startup Village, said.

"We are elated over the NInC's decision to include telecom incubation as its officially recognised project. This is a huge affirmation and recognition of our efforts to turn Kerala into India's Silicon Coast by creating entrepreneurs out of campus students," he added.

The endorsement for Startup Village's telecom incubation project has also come from a clutch of management experts and top corporate bodies, the release said.

IIM Ahmedabad Professor Anil Gupta and Kiran Karnik, former president of NASSCOM, have agreed to visit Startup Village in a month's time.

Similarly, Arun Maira, member of Planning Commission, has promised to visit after the presentation of the Union Budget 2013-14.

"Kerala has the potential to tilt the scale of innovation and attract non-resident Kerala innovators as well," IIM-A's Gupta said.

Vijayakumar said that Gupta and Karnik have agreed to become co-chairmen of the selection committee that would select five students for a stint at the Silicon Valley in the US in March 2013.


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