The Kerala government on Friday approved support for private entities and tie-ups with reputed national and international agencies for setting up incubators and accelerators in the state, said a top IT official.
As per the new order, the state government will support private entities with proven experience in startup mentoring to set up incubators or accelerators in the state, with capital, operational and promotional assistance, as per norms, besides the tie-ups.
Kerala IT Secretary M. Sivasankar issued the orders and said this was a major step towards achieving the target outlined in the IT Policy 2017 of creating 10 million sq ft of office space to provide direct and indirect employment to 2.5 lakh people.
"We have set ambitious goals for our IT sector and this is an important step in realising them.
"Private sector participation will strengthen both our startup infrastructure and ecosystem and the government is willing to help such partnerships," said Sivasankar.
The agencies are classified into three groups for specific incentives.
The first group consists of Government departments, agencies, international agencies, commodity boards and industry associations, reputed international incubators or accelerators, which are operational in international locations for at least three years.
The second includes Department of Science and Technology (DST) or any other Indian agency-approved incubators, which are operational for two years or more and having experience in managing incubators or accelerators in other parts of India.
The two groups will be eligible for support only if they operate out of a government-owned space or space within a government-approved IT Park.
The third category includes Techno lodges, private co-working spaces and rural incubation spaces promoted by non-profit organisations or NGOs.
"The incubators will receive operational and internet support for a period of five years, and all incubatees will be eligible for our promotional schemes such as startup boxes, grants, seed funds, cloud credits and so on," said KSUM CEO Saji Gopinath.
In a related development, the state government has adopted Startup India's definition of startups for its IT policy, revising an earlier stipulation that the companies be within three years of registration.
Now startup ventures within seven years of registration (10 years for biotechnology startups) and turnover of up to Rs 25 crore will be eligible for incentives under the IT policy.
The benefits have also been extended to startups that have been merged, acquired or amalgamated.