Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has launched the world's first online incubator - SV.CO, for start-ups by college students. Its hashtag is a clear indicator of its aim - #StartInCollege
SV.CO will function as an online university, that aims to cut through boundaries. Training, mentorship will be in digital form, with a promise of a silicon valley launch for the top 100 start-up founders, among those selected.
Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-Founder Infosys and Chief Advisor, Start-up Village in Kerala, told NDTV, "With this digital incubator, one will be able to go beyond Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi to tier II, tier III cities, to villages, to colleges across the country. Entrepreneurship cannot be restricted to the main cities in India."
The digital incubator will function on PPP - Public Private Partnership with Central Government, State Government and a Private Company - MobME as partners.
"Kerala was not known for its entrepreneur skills few years back, rather was known for its skilled workforce but now things are changing and Kerala is leading the back by taking the start-up culture to the next level by going digital," Dr HK Mittal, Head of National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board told NDTV.
A threefold selection process is being applied to screen candidates, who once selected will gain from the best industry mentors on board. The aim is to propel start-up growth culture in Kerala, in line with the Prime Minister's vision of 'Start-Up India'.
Students like Akshayanand, an engineering student with a food technology start-up are excited. "We really need a lot of training and mentorship and now the access has only become easier because it's online. It's a huge cost cutting for us and all we need is good Wi-Fi, irrespective of our location," he says.
Kirti C Shekharan, a student activist with the college start-up groups says, "There won't be any problem of overcrowding because the selection will be tough and only those who have the skills, and are promising will be selected."
As the group of young entrepreneurs in their 20s comes together with the well-respected brains in the industry, all in one frame for a group photograph, it's also a symbolic turning of a new leaf in the start-up movement in Kerala.