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Kerala Startup Mission: A Detailed Overview

Tanya Verma

| Updated: Aug 23, 2019 | Category: Startup

Kerala Startup Mission

Kerala Startup Mission is one of the initiatives of the Kerala government to promote startup growth in the state. Kerala government[1] has taken vibrant steps to encourage the startup ecosystem over the years. It is abbreviated as KSUM and was formerly known as Technopark TBI.

About Kerala Startup Mission

KSUM or Kerala Startup Mission is the central agency of the Government of Kerala for entrepreneurship development and various incubation activities in the state of Kerala, India. Primarily, KSUM was founded to help plan, establish, and manage the Technology Business Incubator {TBI}. The TBI is a startup accelerator in Kerala that works to promote tech-based entrepreneurship activities. Also, it creates the necessary infrastructure and environment which is required to support hi-tech-based businesses.

Goals of Kerala Startup Mission

Primarily, the objectives of the Kerala Startup Mission are as follows;

  • It coordinates the functions of other incubators within the state
  • It strengthens the entrepreneurship development programs initiated by the Kerala state government
  • Additionally, KSUM promotes knowledge-driven and technology-based startups by faculties, students and local entrepreneurs
  • Furthermore, it plans and implements various linkages with industry and networking activities
  • Also, it sets up Research and Development facilities
  • It encourages the formation of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Cells {IEDCs} and various technoparks in academic institutions, and capacity building programs for HRs

Eligibility criteria: Kerala Startup Mission

Not every startup in any state can register itself under the Kerala Startup Mission. The Kerala government has set up various measures for startups to be eligible to register under the Kerala Startup Mission. The eligibility criteria for the same as follows;

  • A student studying in Kerala who is interested in starting a startup
  • A Kerala-based innovator can register
  • Any startup registered in Kerala can enroll itself

Eligibility criteria for startups to register under KSUM are given below:

  • Startups not aging for more than seven years. However, this limit is extended to ten years for Biotechnology Startups
  • Any of the startups who want to register itself should not have its annual turnover exceeding Rs. 25 crores in any preceding financial years
  • Businesses that innovate, develop or work towards the improvement of existing products, processes, or services. Also, scalable businesses having high employment generation potential 
  • Furthermore, it is provided by the KSUM that such startups should not be an entity that had formed by splitting up or reconstruction. Also, startups that have completed seven years or Biotechnology Startups ended ten years will qualify for tax benefits only if after such companies have obtained the Inter-Ministerial Board set up for such purposes

Also, Read: Startup India Registration Process – The Complete Guide.

Startup Schemes by Kerala Startup Mission

Kerala Startup Mission {KSUM} has initiated numerous programs to develop student entrepreneurship. KSUM implements the “Startup policy” declared by the Government of Kerala. Moreover, it comes up with various schemes covering broad areas from schools, colleges, and young entrepreneurs, for effective implementation of these policies. This policy defines the “Incubators” and the Technology Business Incubator recognized either by the State or the Central Government. Furthermore, it also defines “Startup” as an innovation-based technology entity which is registered under the Companies Act, 2013 and which is within its three years of incorporation.

Incubation/Acceleration Scheme

Kerala government offers incubation facilities to startups in Kerala state registered under KSUM.  KSUM offices are situated in Trivandrum, Ernakulam, Calicut, and Kasargod. The incubation period comprises of the following stages;

  • The pre-incubation stage for a period of the first three to six months
  • incubation stage for a period of the next six to twelve months
  • lastly, the accelerator stage for a period of the next three to six months

Entrepreneur Support Services

It provides various support services for startups in legal and statutory compliances such as;

  • Annual Accounts Preparation
  • Secretarial Services {Company Incorporation and Filing}
  • Taxation Services {Registration, Filing, and Updating}
  • Preparation of Audit Statements
  • EXIM/TAN/PAN/SEZ Services
  • Financial Plan and Projections
  • Trademark, Patent and Copy Rights
  • Notary Services
  • Business Valuation and Investment Pattern
  • Legal, IP and Client Agreement

Support Services for Marketing

Under this, the startups are supported in the following activities;

  • Product Launch Coverage
  • Digital/Print Media Branding and Promotions
  • Corporate/ Promo Video Production
  • Digital Marketing Consultation, Agency Charges, DM Tools and Analytics Platform Subscription
  • PR Activities Including Advertising Products/ Startup Stories
  • Digital Marketing: VR/AR Experiencing Platforms
  • Providing Access/Subscription to Various Digital Platforms Like Email, Social Media Content Marketing, Insights, and Analytics, SEO, Etc.

Connect/Mentorship Program

Startup leadership academy and training programme extended its services and added the Mentorship/connect scheme. Under this plan, startups are nurtured by numerous renowned mentors recognized nationally and internationally.  The programme also provides various changes for startups to get exposed to global markets and institutions.

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Knowledge/Skill Enhancement Schemes

KSUM has initiated various schemes to develop knowledge and numerous other skill enhancement progammes such as;

  • Future Technology Labs: It is an initiative by the Kerala government under KSUM that provides necessary tools, equipment, and infrastructures for research and development of various emerging technologies. Moreover, it serves as a platform to introduce those technologies to startups and student entrepreneurs. The current focus areas of Future Technology Labs are virtual reality {VR}/ Augmented Reality {AR}, Artificial Technology {AI}, Robotics, Brain-Computer Interface {BCI}
  • FAB LAB Programme: The FABLAB Scheme sets up state-of-art fabrication labs within the state to encourage startups in printed electronics and other related fields. 
  • Startup Leadership Academy and Training Progammes: The vision and focus of the Startup Leadership Academy are to create a dynamic learning system in the state. It focuses on learning through experience and helps startups do so.

Exchanges and Global Immersion Progammes

Various Exchanges and Global Immersion Progammes under KSUM are as follows;

  • International Entrepreneurial Exchange Programme: This programme is a combination of various schemes. The aim of this programme is to provide maximum exposure to student entrepreneurs to the international startup ecosystem and to create opportunities to learn from them. The program activities include taking students and young entrepreneurs to advanced startup destinations such as the silicon valley, USA, Menlopark, London, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, etc.

Funding Progammes

Various funding schemes under KSUM are as follows;

  • Innovation Grant: The Kerala government has initiated the Innovation Grant Scheme to promote driving force like Innovation and R&D.
  • Early Stage KSUM Seed Fund: This Seed Support Scheme provides financial assistance to startups to encourage the economy of the state of Kerala through venture creation and increased employment and leveraging private investments.
  • Early Stage Equity Fund: KSUM in partnership with SEBI accredited Venture Capital Funds for the creation of corpus fund to help startups in the state of Kerala. Generally, the funds invest in early-stage startups with ticket size worth Rs. 25 lakhs to Rs. 200 lakhs.
  • Patent Support System: The Kerala government proposed a new scheme called the Patent Support System during the FY 2015-16 Budget Speech. This scheme supports student entrepreneurs to get a patent

To Conclude

In the end, we can say that the Kerala Startup Mission is a very positive initiative towards the promotion of student entrepreneurship. Moreover, KSUM helps startups and student entrepreneurs to incorporate, develop, fund and support their companies in various ways. The Kerala government has taken numerous initiatives in the form of various schemes to help emerging entrepreneurship within the state of Kerala. The only drawback of this programme is that it provides support to startups registered only in the Kerala state. Therefore, this scheme should either be applicable in other states also, or such schemes should be developed in other state governments.

Also, Read: What are the Income Tax Laws for Startups in India.

Tanya Verma

Tanya is working as writer & editor from past 2 years with experience in covering startup and technology related topics.

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