In a move to bolster the local startup ecosystem, the Kerala government unveiled significant measures in its Budget for 2024-25. A notable highlight is the allocation of INR 90.52 Cr to the 'Kerala Startup Mission.' Out of this, INR 20 Cr is earmarked for establishing a 'Technology Innovation Zone' in Kochi, while the rest is dedicated to youth entrepreneurship development programs.
Accelerating Startup Investments
Another crucial initiative involves an additional allocation of INR 30 Cr to expedite startup investments through the Fund of Funds scheme. According to Finance Minister KN Balagopal, the scheme has received INR 46.10 Cr so far, experiencing a remarkable 3.9X growth in investment value.
The budget also sets aside INR 6 Cr for the 'Innovation Acceleration Scheme,' a testament to the government's commitment to supporting startup initiatives. Furthermore, INR 10 Cr is allocated to expand the state's coworking centres, LEAP.
National Outreach and Job Creation
Emphasizing the state's commitment to entrepreneurship, Balagopal announced the establishment of work pods by the Kerala Startup Mission to cater to entrepreneurs from other states. The minister proudly stated that the Startup Mission has generated 50,000 job opportunities and attracted INR 5,500 Cr in investments through venture capital funding.
Growth Numbers and Industry Giants
Balagopal expressed optimism about the state's startup ecosystem, citing the registration of over 5,000 startups. He highlighted the potential impact of SaaS giant Zoho's new campus at Kottarakkara in fostering startup growth and job creation.
Addressing Retail Challenges
The budget speech also acknowledged the challenges faced by brick-and-mortar retailers in the wake of the dominance of e-commerce platforms. Balagopal addressed this issue by proposing the formation of groups comprising local retailers. These groups aim to help traditional players cope with the challenges posed by large retail chains and online marketplaces.
Harnessing Technology for Traditional Retailers
Balagopal recognized the role of technology and proposed leveraging digital solutions, modern management techniques, and artificial intelligence to support traditional retailers. He suggested collective efforts in purchasing commodities on a large scale from manufacturers and implementing supply chain management systems.
Policy for AVGC-XR Industry
The budget initiatives follow closely on the heels of the government's proposal for a comprehensive policy for the AVGC-XR (animation, visual effects, gaming, comics, and extended reality) industry. The draft policy is expected to be made public soon, seeking feedback from industry stakeholders.
In summary, Kerala's Budget for 2024-25 reflects a strategic focus on nurturing the startup ecosystem, addressing retail challenges, and embracing emerging technologies to propel the state's economic growth.