An Indian state led by a communist party has built the country’s biggest home for technology startups

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  • The Integrated Startup Complex is India’s biggest startup hub covering an area of 1.82 lakh sq ft.
  • Bengaluru currently holds the top position in the country, with the most number of deals.
  • The state plans to further expand the ecosystem to 5 lakh sq ft to make it Asia’s largest hub.
Bengaluru has established itself as India’s silicon valley. Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Hyderabad too have offered a good breeding ground for India’s aspiring entrepreneurs. Now, there is a new contender - Kochi, a 900-year old trading centre both for seafarers and inland merchants.

The communist party of India that leads the ruling Left Democratic Front government has just unveiled one of the country’s biggest startup hub covering an area of 1.82 lakh sq ft in Kalamassery, an industrial area in Kochi, with plans to expand it to 5 lakh sq ft to make it Asia’s largest hub for technology.

During the inauguration, the state’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the government wants to make Kerala one of the world’s top IT destinations.

This isn’t Kerala’s first attempt at building a startup ecosystem. Back in 2006, the state had established Technopark Technology Business Incubator in state capital Thiruvananthapuram. Then in 2012, Startup Village was set up in Kochi to boost student startups and innovation.

Just three years later in 2015, Hyderabad, with a massive push from the Telangana Government, set up India’s largest incubator, until now, T-Hub.

Now, The Integrated Startup Complex in Kochi, which will have firms from hardware to medical technology working on cancer diagnostics, promises to create 2.5 lakh IT jobs in the state.

Currently, Kerala Startup Mission has over 232 IT startups and 52 hardware startups out of a total of 578 companies. The state has over 1,402 startups that received $38 million funding in 2017-18.

In 2018, India saw a total of $12.68 billion raised in equity funding, $1.14 billion in debt funding through 864 deals.

The Commie DNA

Kerala famously had the world’s first elected communist government in 1957 under EMS Namboodiripad.

It is the eighth-largest economy in the country among 29 states, yet industrial growth in Kerala has, for long, stunted by the state’s affinity for left-wing politics.

It is one of the states that aggressively implements the minimum wage laws that has attracted workers from around the country to take up jobs across the value chain.

State-wide shutdowns by trade unions and political outfits have been a regular feature in the southern state famous for its backwaters among tourists both local and international.

Last year alone, the state witnessed 97 strikes. In 2017, Kerala ranked second in having lost the most number of days due to hartals and thus, affecting the state’s GDP. According to the Cochin Chamber of Commerce, the hartals cost the state’s GDP over $1 billion.

However, the latest push towards startups may be a big sentiment booster for an economy that has seen more brain drain to other parts of the world than many other Indian states.

See Also:
The Indian government has reportedly invested just 19% of its fund dedicated to boosting startups

Startup founders ready plans for growth, job creation ahead of their meeting with PM Modi

More Indians have left the country as its economy has grown: Report
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