KEONICS (Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd) is planning to monetise its land assets in emerging centres such as Mangaluru and Hubballi-Dharwad, according to Sharath Bachegowda, Chairman, KEONICS.

In an informal chat with media persons on the side lines of ‘Mangaluru Technovanza 3.0’ organised by the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM) on Tuesday, he said land assets in some emerging centres are lying vacant.

“In Mangaluru, we have around 4 acres of land. We want to build an IT (information technology) park of around 4 lakh sq ft in that location,” he said, adding, the proposed project will also have a skill development and a centre for excellence.

To a query on the time frame for this project, he said the intention is to take up the ground-breaking process within six months, if KEONICS gets all the technicalities related to the project cleared in six months.

Indicating that the project will be taken up under PPP (public-private partnership) model, Bachegowda said: “We want to monetise the assets under us. We want to make sure that this low hanging fruit is encashed as early as possible.”

Earlier speaking at ‘Mangaluru Technovanza 3.0’, he said Mangaluru is a city with an enterprising spirit. The region has been a birthplace for entrepreneurs across various sectors, including fintech, food and beverage, hospitality, and health tech, among others.

He said achieving a $300 billion economy in Karnataka is contingent upon spreading growth to other emerging tech clusters across the state. “We must make sure there is inclusive growth,” he said.

Ekroop Caur, Secretary of Karnataka government’s Department of IT, BT and ST, said the Karnataka government will simplify the process for start-ups participating in government tenders to encourage and to procure innovative products and services from start-ups.

To stimulate growth in Mangaluru, the government has been proactive in implementing sector-specific policies, including the niche AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics) policy, alongside startup-supportive policies. Initiatives such as ELEVATE have been designed to foster innovation and support start-ups, she said.

Caur said the Government is planning to set up a Centre of Excellence for Marine Biotechnology sector in Mangaluru.

BV Naidu, Chairman of KDEM, said with over 15 companies already investing in Mangaluru and several more in the pipeline, he is confident in Mangaluru’s potential to emerge as India’s ‘Silicon Beach’. He projected the region’s transformation into a significant economic hub within the next two decades.

Sanjeev Gupta, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KDEM, said there are 25-30 companies in the pipeline poised to establish their operations in Mangaluru, indicating a significant influx of business and technological expertise to the city.

Rohith Bhat, Founder and CEO of 99Games and Lead Industry Anchor of KDME’s Mangaluru Cluster, said the Mangaluru cluster has been adding one sizeable company with more than 100 employees every month since ‘Mangaluru Technovanza 2.0’.

Terming the cluster as ‘Silicon Beach of India’, Bhat said he expects around 2,00,000 people to work in the technology sector in this region by 2023.