Startup Village gets makeover, becomes World's first digital incubator for students


A digital student incubator at Thiruvanthapuram is said to be the world's first, has gone online with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan unveiling the digital makeover of Startup Village, designed to help college-goers take their first step in entrepreneurship.

The government's allocation for startups at Rs 300 crore is the highest to date in Kerala and higher than that of the Centre's Department of Science and Technology, said Vijayan at a function here on Wednesday.

Vijayan also announced a five-step strategy for students, world class infrastructure on par with Silicon Valley, world class communication infrastructure, world class talent pipeline, world class funding infrastructure and world class incubators in PPP model like Startup Village.

The state will fund 1,000 startups every year with Rs two lakh for converting ideas to prototypes. The best prototypes will be given Rs one crore interest free loan to convert the prototype into a successful startup," he said.

This is the world's first digital business incubation platform that constitutes the second phase of Startup Village, is India's first PPP model technology incubator set up in Kochi in 2012. During its first phase 2012-15, it supported more than 500 startups and helped create 3,000 jobs.

With, the Startup Village will scale up its activities massively by reaching out to five million students in 3,500 engineering colleges across the country by providing them a completely digital incubation framework, ranging from application for admission to teaching, mentoring and graduation. It will thus provide opportunities to brilliant students in far-flung cities and towns who may not have access to physical infrastructure or the mentoring they need in the early stages of entrepreneurship, it said.

In tune with the Prime Minister's Startup India initiative and with a go ahead from the Department of Science and Technology, provides one month free training to students in entrepreneurship on its online platform, it said.

Students can form teams and apply at and once selected, they would be guided, right from picking an idea to building a prototype and its launch to early customers in six months.

Also readKochi’s Startup Village chairman shows optimism over Startup India plan

Based on whether customers like the product, teams can then graduate to incubators, accelerators, raise angel funding and even get acqui-hired as a team or hired to other startups or go for higher studies, the release added.

This website is venturing into unchartered territory and creating a new model of how to go beyond physical space to reach out to potential entrepreneurs across the country and offer them mentorship, networks and infrastructure, said Kris Gopalakrishnan, Infosys co-founder and chief mentor of Startup Village.

Twenty teams which completed incubation in the beta phase of saw huge success in getting admitted to Zone Accelerator in Mumbai, getting acqui-hired by Tally or landing handsome jobs in leading startups like Ola and FreeCharge.

We are trying to create an ecosystem of providing students with global exposure, so that mindsets can change, said Startup Village Chairman Sanjay Vijayakumar.