Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said the state capital will be developed into a major digital hub and a premier destination for startups.
This would be a step in the direction of creating a future with innovation and entrepreneurship as the key drivers, the CM said after inaugurating the beachside startup conclave Huddle Global 2023 at Adimalathura near Vizhinjam here.
Huddle Global 2023 is a three-day event organised by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) for bringing together a wide range of stakeholders, a government release said.
Addressing the gathering at the event, Vijayan said that Kerala already stands as a pioneer in India’s vibrant startup ecosystem that has been consistently ranked at the top for the last three years due to the state government’s proactive initiatives.
Some of the initiatives that he referred to were -- Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centres (IEDC) for colleges, Young Entrepreneurship Programme (YIP) and incubation and acceleration programmes.
Vijayan also highlighted KSUM's achievement of securing the top position as a public business incubator in the UBI Global World Benchmark study in 2021-22 and said it cements its pivotal role in transforming the state into a thriving startup hub.
The CM further said that work has already begun for establishing an 'Emerging Technology Startup Hub' in the capital city.
It is one of the steps in converting the state capital into a digital hub, he said.
Vijayan also said that through initiatives like Startup Infinity, the state has created collaborative projects that bring together local entrepreneurs, business leaders and Pravasi Malayalis as an inclusive approach.
This approach not only fosters innovation but also welcomes participation of the global Malayali community in nurturing startups and entrepreneurship and innovation to thrive limitlessly, he said at the event where Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor was also present.
The inaugural of the flagship event saw the exchange of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between KSUM and Belgium, Australia and the State Bank of India (SBI), the release said.
Tinku Biswal, Principal Secretary of Revenue and Housing in the government of Kerala, presented a report at the event stating that the state has close to 5,000 startups, it said.
KSUM CEO Anoop Ambika welcomed the gathering and said that this edition of Huddle Global assumes added significance due to its choice of venue away from the city, demonstrating the inclusivity of Kerala’s startup ecosystem centred on the idea of 'equitable distribution'.
Belgium’s Ambassador to India, Didier Vanderhasselt, who exchanged the MoU with the KSUM CEO, noted that the agreement will lead to KSUM setting up its Startup Infinity Centre in Brussels which would open up vast opportunities for startups from Kerala, the release said.
The pact will facilitate Kerala startups to collaborate with the European tech hub in areas like digital technology and life sciences to scale up their product range and expand the market, Vanderhasselt said.
Catherine Gallagher, Minister Commercial and Head of Austrade South Asia, said, according to the release, the MoU with KSUM was a significant step as it comes at a time when the ties between India and Australia are marked by a strong and comprehensive strategic partnership.
The agreement will also facilitate Kerala Startups to leverage the top class technological and research and development ecosystem of Australia in a wide range of areas, she is quoted as having said in the release.
"Now into its fifth edition, Huddle Global 2023 has a convergence of around 15,000 delegates from within the country and abroad, besides showcasing cutting-edge products from emerging sectors such as robotics, artificial intelligence...," the release said.
An expo on the sidelines of the event displayed products from 100-plus nascent companies and provided an opportunity for them to interact with experts from technology and industry for advice on investment opportunities, it said.