Billed as the first of its kind – a digital student incubator went online on Wednesday when Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan unveiled SV.CO, the digital makeover of Startup Village designed to help thousands of college-goers make an early start in entrepreneurship.
“The government’s allocation for startups at Rs 300 crore is the highest to date in the state and higher than of the Central Government’s Department of Science and Technology,” said Vijayan.
“The state will fund 1,000 startups every year with Rs two lakh for converting ideas to prototypes. The best prototypes will be given Rs 1 crore interest free loan to convert the prototype into a successful startup,” added Vijayan.
SV.CO, the digital business incubation platform that constitutes the second phase of the successful Kochi Startup Village, set up in Kochi in 2012.
The Kochi Startup Village between 2012-15, supported more than 500 startups and helped create 3,000 jobs.
With SV.CO, Startup Village will scale up its activities by reaching out to five million students in 3,500 engineering colleges across the country by providing them a completely digital incubation framework, ranging from application for admission to teaching, mentoring and graduation.
It will provide opportunities to students in far-flung cities and towns who may not have access to physical infrastructure or the mentoring that they need in the early stages of entrepreneurship.
In tune with the Prime Minister’s Startup India initiative and with a go ahead from the Central Government’s Department of Science and Technology, SV.CO provides a month of free training to students in entrepreneurship on its online platform.
Students can form teams and apply at www.sv.co. Once selected, they will be guided right from picking an idea to building a prototype and its launch to early customers within six months.
“SV.CO is venturing into unchartered territory and creating a new model of how to go beyond physical space to reach out to potential entrepreneurs across the country and offer them mentorship, networks and infrastructure,” said Kris Gopalakrishnan, Infosys co-founder and chief mentor of Startup Village.