Technopark draws up plans to bring in MNCs, to name Chief Marketing Officer  

Vinson Kurian | Updated on: Jul 06, 2022
John M Thomas, CEO, Kerala State IT Parks

John M Thomas, CEO, Kerala State IT Parks

Diaspora engagement is a must, says John M Thomas, CEO, Kerala State IT Parks

Technopark-Thiruvananthapuram, one of India’s largest IT parks, is making a conscious effort to bring big multinational firms and will soon appoint a Chief Marketing Officer with a mandate to build relationships with Silicon Valley and other IT ecosystems elsewhere. This is just in time as well, says John M Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Kerala State IT Parks, since the biggies are scouting for sites for expansion within India. “If you look at companies here, they’re mostly Indian IT services companies. We need to have more multinationals here,” Thomas told BusinessLine here.

Sold on India already

“And that includes pretty much all large companies, including product companies. The likes of Microsoft and Google are not out of the picture,” he explained. Asked if the help of Indian CEOs at the helm of some of them would be tapped, he said these companies are already sold in India. “We don’t have a problem that way. Look at Pune two years ago and see where it is now. Now we got to convince MNCs why not Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram or even Kozhikode.”

This is the big challenge for Kerala, and that’s precisely where ‘set-pieces’ such as the country’s first Digital University can help, Thomas said, alluding to the Kerala University of Digital Sciences, Innovation and Technology in Technopark’s vicinity. “If we’ve large enough batches and significant talent being produced here, that is definitely a crowd puller for companies. Wherever you’ve quality in-demand skills available, the industry will go there. That’s why Kerala has come up with so many skilling agencies. From a IT park’s standpoint, we’re connected closely to the industry. I think this is a key differentiator for Kerala.”

Diaspora engagement plan

One missing link, though, is the participation of the Keralite diaspora abroad. Many prominent IT leaders from the state, including the likes of the current CEO of FedEx, who belongs to Thiruvananthapuram. “It’s a true win-win proposal since a company can easily find hundreds of talented people for any sector, which is just enough to set up an operation,” Thomas said.

The state needs to systematically devise and execute plans for diaspora engagement regularly. “So we’ve given a proposal for reconstitution of the CM’s Digital High-Power Advisory Committee to essentially make sure that the diaspora leaders are engaged and also to name IT ambassadors who will host destination marketing events. We can go from cities to cities in US/Europe with a leadership team and hold destination promotion events. It then becomes much more easy to take plans forward from our end. That’s the overall idea, and things have already been set into motion. The State government is absolutely open to the idea of diaspora engagement.”

Published on July 06, 2022
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