Trivandrum: The Kerala Government has announced a new Startup Policy with a view to boost entrepreneurship in the State. The Kerala Technology Startup Policy unfolds the broad framework for creation of a startup ecosystem in technology based start-ups across sectors in the State. The Technopark Technology Business Incubator (T-TBI) now renamed as Kerala Startup Mission will be the nodal agency for start-ups.
Some of the other highlights of the New Technology Startup Policy are:
The policy defines ‘Incubator’ as Technology Business Incubator recognized either by the Central or State Government while ‘Start Up’ as innovation based technology firm registered under the Companies Act and within 3 years of incorporation.
The Policy is split into nine sections that are the strategic building blocks towards a world-class startup ecosystem viz., Infrastructure, Incubators and Accelerators, Human Capital Development, Funding, State Support, Governance, Public Private Partnership, Scaling Existing and Establishing New Incubators and Startup – Bootup – Scaleup model for moving fast from ideas to IPO.
Infrastructure: Government owned IT Parks, Industrial Parks and SME Clusters to have incubation facility for the sectors concerned. Innovation based incubators to be set up in all Institutions of Higher education in the State, Research Institutes and other Centres of Excellence and they shall be networked through an e-platform hosted by T-TBI. The Government will facilitate development of physical incubation infrastructure through Public Private Partnerships and shall create support infrastructure for such as Common Testing labs, Design Studio& Tool Rooms, etc.
Accelerators: The Government shall establish at least one world class Accelerator by inviting global Accelerators to set up their programmes in the State.
Human Capital Development: The Government would work with universities, educational institutions and the industry to provide pre-trained manpower in emerging technologies and to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in all sectors.
Startup Funding: The Government shall encourage the Banks and financial institutions to enhance and extend their existing schemes of lending to the Startups on convenient terms (Eg., collateral-free lending, soft loans, interest free loans,etc).
State Support: Monetary Support to Incubators and Startups, Reimbursement of VAT / CST Financial Assistance as Matching Grants, Additional Incentives available for Private / PPP Model Incubators. General permission shall be available for 3-shift operations with women working in the night for start-ups, subject to such units taking the prescribed precautions in respect of safety and security of employees.
Challenge Grants for Innovation: The government will encourage innovation amongst the entrepreneurs and students through Challenge Grants. Incubators and Host Institutes shall be eligible for 100% reimbursement of the Stamp Duty and Registration Fee paid on sale / lease deeds on the first transaction and 50% thereof on the second transaction
In case of Government-owned buildings leased to technology incubators, no lease rent or O&M charges will be levied for a period of five years or until the incubator is self- sustainable, whichever is earlier. In case where private premises are taken on lease / rent basis, a rental reimbursement @ Rs. 5 per sq. ft. per month or 25% of the actual rent paid, whichever is less, shall be reimbursed for a period of 3 years. This shall be limited to the incubation space only.
For every employee recruited by a startup within a period of three years of incubation, an amount of Rs 25,000 per employee per year shall be provided for training.
Patent Filing Cost: The cost of filing and prosecution of patent application will be reimbursed to the incubated startup companies. The reimbursement will be done in 3 stages, i.e., during filing, prosecution and award.
Performance-linked grant for Startups: Startups that record a year-on-year growth rate of 15%, as per audited accounts, shall be eligible to get a grant of 5% on Turnover, subject to a limit of Rs.10 lakhs within three years
Governance of Programmes: All monetary support for startups and incubators to be administered by T-TBI. The supports shall be provided in a time bound and transparent manner. For administering the various schemes and programmes, T-TBI would be assisted by a committee of external experts including representatives from industry, academia, incubators and industry associations.