Tharoor Lists Ideas to Boost Industry at TiEcon  


Kochi: Shashi Tharoor MP has called for setting up more incubation centres in Kerala to encourage entrepreneurship while inaugurating TiEcon, the State’s biggest entrepreneurship meet, at Le Meridien Convention Centre in Kochi. “The delay in giving clearances to new ventures should be avoided,” he added.

Kerala, which is heavily dependent on remittances from the Gulf countries, may have to face serious consequences in the future if it continues with the trend, he said. At present, construction and service sectors contribute to 81 per cent of the State’s production. The role of industries and agriculture in the State’s economy is limited. Unskilled jobs, which Malayalees are reluctant to take up, are being done by over 52 lakh migrant workers from other states. Tharoor said only tourism industry could ensure sustainable growth for Kerala.

The MP also referred to the hartal culture in the State, which was hampering entrepreneurship. “The tendency to disrupt work of professionals is highly condemnable,” he said. However, entrepreneurs in Kerala need to be appreciated for launching ventures even in such adverse conditions, said Tharoor.

Shyam Srinivasan, Managing Director and CEO, Federal Bank; Dr. Azad Moopen, Chairman and MD, Aster DM Healthcare; Subroto Bagchi, Co-founder, Mind Tree; G Vijayaraghavan, former member of Kerala State Planning Board and TiE Kerala office bearers – Rajesh Nair (President), M S A Kumar (Senior Vice President) and Ajith Moopen (Vice President) – also spoke.

The theme of the conference was ‘Kerala – An entrepreneurial destination’.  The event was organised with the support of State Department of Industries and Commerce, Kerala Startup Mission and KSIDC. TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) is the largest not-for-profit global organisation fostering entrepreneurship.

In his address, Dr. Azad Moopen referred to Kerala as an entrepreneurial destination.  “Through Aster, we have invested Rs. 2,500 crore in Kerala, adding 3,680 hospital beds and creating over 9,800 jobs,” he said. Moopen also said that budding entrepreneurs in the State can focus on three areas – Neera and its value-added products; Water, which will soon have more value than oil; and Education, which has immense and infinite potential.

Speaking on the session on the ‘Role of Medical Cluster Industries’, Thomas John, MD, Agappe Diagnostics Ltd., said: “All major cities in Kerala have the necessary attributes which could be integrated to make them specialty healthcare hubs.”

The session on ‘Experiential Tourism’ saw Vishnu Menon of Wandertrails; Himmat Anand of Tree of Life; Neha Arora of Planet Abled; and Gopinath Parayil of Blue Yonder speak about their vision and future plans on building sustainable destinations. The ‘Opportunities in Rural India’ session took stock of the issues faced by ‘Grampreneurs’.  Shivadas B Menon, MD, Sterling Group of Companies spoke.

“Kerala Management Association (KMA) is planning an MoU with TiE to launch a ‘Management Development Academy’ in December 2017,” said Vivek Krishna Govind, President, KMA.

V J Kurian IAS (Retd.), MD, Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) spoke about entering into MoUs with African countries to install solar panels. Balram Menon, President, World Trade Centre – Bengaluru and Kochi and Rajesh Nair, President, TiE Kerala signed an agreement to foster entrepreneurship.

“One of India’s key challenges is managing urbanisation,” said Elias George IAS (Retd.), former Managing Director of Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL). “The focus should be on the invisible and the important, instead of pursuing what is merely urgent. Change your thinking habits and attitudes to cope with the rapidity of environmental challenges,” he said.

Improved infrastructure, optimum utilisation of technology, industry-oriented research and internationalisation of higher education hold the key for creating the ideal climate for growth of entrepreneurship in the State, said T P Sreenivasan, diplomat and former vice-chairman, Kerala State Higher Education Council.


Offline Crowdfunding is unheard of in Kerala. The first real offline crowdfunding event held at  TiEcon 2017 provided both fun and excitement as 28 startups pitched their idea and products before a large audience. The top three companies were given funds to the tune of Rs. 30,000 each. Of the 28 startups, 15 were  also given an opportunity to pitch before a select group of angel investors and venture capitalists.

 ‘Failure Lab’

Another highlight of TiEcon 2017 was ‘Failure Lab’, which provided a venue for established entrepreneurs to speak about their early failures and subsequent recovery. A first-of-its-kind event in Kerala, ‘Failure Lab’ saw fifteen entrepreneurs/professionals participate and share their stories. TiE Awards 2017 were also given away during the event. Entrepreneur of the Year went to Aster DM Healthcare’s Dr. Azad Moopen, Startup Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Sandith Thandassery, CEO, NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats; Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year was John Kuriakose, Founder and MD, DentCare Dental Lab; and Woman Entrepreneur Award was won by Lekha Balachandran, Founder and CEO, ResiTech Electricals.

Destination Kerala was the magazine partner of the event.