Desh Deshpande plans residential skills centres

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on February 08, 2017

Foundation coming up with two incubators in Hubli and Nizamabad

Gururaj ‘Desh’ Deshpande, who made it big in the IT industry in the West, always believed in the bottoms up approach. After making billions in building companies like sycamore networks and Cascade Communications in his 30-year-old career, he argues that the best way to create solutions for the problems in India is to work with those enduring them and let them build solutions.

To support this approach, the Deshpande Foundation is building the country’s biggest residential skilling centre at Hubli, country’s biggest start-up incubator and another rural incubator at Nizamabad. Deshpande is spending ₹65 crore on building the 3 lakh sq ft skilling centre.

The centre, which is likely to be operational by April, can house 2,500 people at a time. The foundation is planning to offer 5-month courses in a variety of skills that range from plumbing, electrician skills to electronic hardware and VLSI design.

Sandbox model

“There is no bar on the skills that we offer. What we believe is to train people that can deliver skilled work with reliability and punctuality,” ‘Desh’ Deshpande, as he is known in the IT circles, told BusinessLine.

He was in Nizamabad to attend the Development Dialogue organised by Kakatiya Sandbox. The foundation floated the idea of sandboxes to take local entrepreneurs on board and mentor them to equip them with the skills that start-ups in the cities have access to.

“The country needs 10 million entrepreneurs in the next 10 years. “We can expect about one million entrepreneurs will come from the cities. We need to have the remaining 9 million from local areas. I believe that the best method to solve a problem is to help the locals solving it for themselves rather than imposing it on them. The sandboxes allow such ideas to thrive into business entities,” he said.

Start-up incubator

Deshpande has put in ₹200 crore so far in the last 10 years building the foundation in Karnataka. After testing the sandbox model to incubate rural start-ups, the foundation is now venturing to build the country’s biggest start-up incubator at Hubli with 84,000 sq ft space that can seat about 1,200. “We have appointed CM Patil as CEO of the Sandbox Startups,” he said.

In Telangana, the foundation is launching the Kakatiya Hub For Social Innovation at Nizamabad in association with the State government. While the facility is provided by the government, the Kakatiya Sandbox would take care of it. Rural Shores is reportedly building a 150-seater facility in the campus.

Published on February 08, 2017

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