The first of its kind initiative, Startup Village, situated at the heart of Kerala, Kochi, has completed two years of service. Startup Village is a not-for-profit business incubator based in Kochi, Kerala. Started in April 2012, the organisation’s aim is to launch 1,000 technology startups over the next 10 years and start the search for the next billion-dollar Indian company.

It focusses primarily on student startups and telecom innovation. It is India’s first incubator funded jointly by the public and private sector. The promoters of Startup Village are Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, Technopark, Trivandrum and MobME Wireless. Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder of Infosys and an IT entrepreneur from Kerala, is the chief mentor at Startup Village.

More than 2350 applications has been received till date and startup village supports around 600 startups in and around Kerala as well as India. Out of which 227 are student startups and accommodate 57 incubatees regularly.

The goal of startup village is to become Asia’s number one startup destination.

Startup Village

The startup village provides members with work spaces, infrastructure, mentorship and access to investors. Companies can also apply for the Startup Village Angel Fund that has been approved by SEBI. (Securities Exchange Board of India)

Startup village with its vibrant and talented pool of young entrepreneurs conducts monthly workshops for entrepreneurs, developer meets, networking events and various community gatherings.

The Startup village to Silicon Valley (SV Square) program in association with Kerala Government is an exciting initiative that would help selected entrepreneurs to visit silicon valley on an all expense paid trip. This will provide the young entrepreneurs a chance to interact with some of the best talents in this world and may open access to the best startup environment. This might open up the chances to partner with some of the best companies in the world.

Even the Kerala government has been fair to the startup initiatives taken up in Kerala. As a result of this, we have seen many young and talented entrepreneurs from Kerala especially in the tech space. To support entrepreneurship in Kerala, the government has decided to set aside Rs.500 crores and at the same time allotted 15 acres of land for the development of startup village.

The startup enthusiasm and the entrepreneurial spirit has been growing in India and it’s clear from the increase in the number of startups that started in India last year. The startup village provides the much-needed guidance and support to these entrepreneurial spirits and the right direction to create more jobs and more revenues.

The culture of Innovation

For a country to be developed, we need to create more jobs. Jobs can be created only when there are more and more number of companies to work on. Can India produce the next Mark Zuckerberg is not the big question to be answered, rather we should ask when are we going to produce the next billion dollar company. The culture of innovation is developed from within and not being forced upon. We have been after the same story for the last so many decades, get a good degree, get a high-profile job, marry a beautiful girl, save for your retirement and live the rest of your life without any challenges. We are trained to follow the same rule over and again. But the seeds of cultural change has been planted by us and I am sure that we reap the benefits in the next coming years.

Advantage Startup Village

The focus of SV has been on students and young entrepreneurs who would love to start-up early in their life. The SV team is focusing on the grass root levels of entrepreneurial skills. It has been widely said that young minds are ready to take risks and accept new challenges. Start early and the steep learning curve will help those young minds to be better over age. Some years back, only a few colleges in India supported entrepreneurship. But the landscape has changed much now and most of the best colleges in India has their own incubation centres supported by the state governments. This will actually help the young minds to innovate and adapt to the challenging journey of entrepreneurship.

The startup village has concentrated on a tier 2 city like Kochi, where the seeds of entrepreneurial vibes has been sowed and reaped to success(at least to some extent). Bangalore has been the startup hub always for India. We need to concentrate our focus on tier 2 cities as well where the thirst for success is more compared to the urban India. We are not short of talent. We have produced some of the greats like Tatas, Ambanis and best startups like Flipkart, Redbus to name a few.

The culture of entrepreneurship has to be identified and nourished to success. I hope in the next 10 years we will have some of the best billion dollar companies in the world and companies bigger than Facebook, Google !!

Who knows as Varun Agarwal told in his story “How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company“, there are high chances that we might face few more anu aunties on the way to success and ultimately find the Next Billion Dollar Company.