Government Promises Steps to Improve Business Atmosphere

Kochi: If the declarations made by top officials of Kerala’s Industries Department at TiECon Kerala 2016 are anything to go by, the State will soon become an entrepreneur’s paradise. Paul Antony IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Industries Department, who inaugurated the largest conclave of entrepreneurs, held in Kochi, said the ease of doing business in Kerala can improve significantly with the Government, set to introduce a slew of measures by January 2017.

Hinting at a comprehensive revamp, Antony said, “A common application form and an online portal would be introduced. At the State level, the portal would be looked after by Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and at the district level by designated officers of District Industries Centres. We are considering the possibility of making the licences issued by local bodies valid for five years at a time as against the present duration of one year. However, there will be provisions to suspend that licence if violations are detected. The possibility of constituting a standing committee with Chief Secretary as chairman is being considered to address issues faced by existing business and industrial units,” he said, adding that the Government’s industrial policy would be rolled out within a couple of months. He also spoke about constituting an expert body of architects and engineers to vet business plans for compliance with norms and to recommend sanctions.

M Sivasankar IAS, Principal Secretary, IT said strong domain advisory groups should be in place for the entrepreneurial ecosystem to be robust. “Startup entrepreneurs should be able to interact with the advisory group, find out what exactly are the issues, refine their idea and take it forward,” he said.

Dr. M Beena IAS, MD, KSIDC and KINFRA, who inaugurated the valedictory session of the fifth edition of TiECon Kerala, said agencies which are fostering entrepreneurship in Kerala should act in unison for building the most ideal climate for startups to flourish.

Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman, Bank of Baroda, in his keynote address stressed the need to plan and build a futuristic ecosystem considering the fact that industrial ecosystems all over the world are changing rapidly. “Kerala should constitute an advisory council of world-class researchers to build significant skilled businesses,” he said.

More than 100 speakers addressed over 40 sessions in five parallel tracks concurrently in two days. Some of the key speakers at the conference  were Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice Chairman & ex-CEO, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp; Dr. A Velumani, MD & CEO, Thyrocare; Nanda Kumar K, President & CEO, SunTec; Kavitha Iyer Rodrigues, Co-Founder and Director, Zumutor Biologics/Theramyt Novobiologics; Byju Raveendran, Founder & CEO, BYJU’s; Musthafa P C, CEO, iD Fresh Food (India); Jofin Joseph, Head of Operations, FullContact Inc., India; Hari Nair, Chief Design Officer, Whirlpool; C Balagopal, Angel Investor, Mentor & Author and Ashok Soota, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Happiest Minds Technologies. Themed ‘Building a Great Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’, the event saw the presence of hundreds of delegates from India and abroad. Rajesh Nair, President TiE Kerala; M S A Kumar, Senior Vice President; Ajit Moopen, Vice President and WgCdr. K Chandrasekhar, Executive Director, TiE Kerala also spoke.

Kerala Angel Network Inaugurated

In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the State, TiE Kerala launched Kerala Angel Network (KAN) aimed at providing real and solid assistance to startup entrepreneurs. KAN would function as a separate organisation and will have a governing council and secretariat. It will begin with a corpus fund of Rs.30 crore. Each eligible startup will get funding between Rs.50 lakh and Rs.3 crore.

“For every investment, we will have one TiE charter member as a ‘deal champion’ who will coordinate and ensure not just funds but adequate mentorship as well. Startups in Kerala will get the first opportunity,” said Rajesh Nair.