India may be the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world with respect to the number of start-ups, but it lags behind in churning out impactful ones. The time has come for it to identify and commodify high-potential technologies that would drive growth of non-linear enterprises, according to experts at a Startup Conclave here.

This will help Kerala bolster its own start-up ecosystem, said Saji Gopinath, Vice-Chancellor, Digital University Kerala, while inaugurating a conclave organised by the CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST) in association with the Kerala Startup Mission as part of the ‘One Week One Lab’ programme.

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Prone to failure

Start-ups may procure technology from laboratories similar to those of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Gopinath said. “At least 80 per cent of these technologies fail on conversion, so Kerala should look to promote high-quality start-ups capable of commodifying technology and producing quality products,” he added.

Anoop Ambika, CEO, Kerala Start-up Mission, made a case for developing exponentially growing businesses. “Adaptability and innovation play a key role in conversion. In a larger ecosystem, innovation has a high value proposition,” he said. He also signalled financial and infrastructural support to CSIR-NIIST for implementing new projects.

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Startup Mission, NIIST sign MoU

Devendra Reddy Kalva, Executive Vice-President, TATA Coffee, said having a ‘startup mindset’ is even essential for established companies to grow. Venkataramanan, Executive Director (Finance), TATA Coffee, said start-ups in Kerala should look to use NIIST’s research products effectively. He stressed the importance of having an ecosystem where start-ups can be leveraged to bring out innovation. Meanwhile, CSIR-NIIST and the Startup Mission exchanged a memorandum of understanding to facilitate scientific entrepreneurship and conversion of impactful technologies. The MoU seeks to establish and maintain mutual relationship through collaborative initiatives.

Panel discussion

Anoop Ambika chaired the session on ‘Opportunities and financial support for startups’ that witnessed a line-up of panelists including Ajith Prabhu V of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment; Sarath V Raj of the Kerala Institute for Entrepreneurship Development; CN Bhojaraj, Secretary, Lagu Udyog Bharti, Karnataka; and Nisha Bharati, Head, Department of Agri-Business Management, Symbiosis Institute of International Business, Pune.

As many as 130 representatives from across the country attended the conclave, which provided an opportunity for start-ups to deliberate on R&D support from research institutes, as well as financial support from funding agencies. An exhibition of CSIR-NIIST technologies and products was held on the sidelines. S Savithri, Chief Scientist, CSIR-NIIST, presided over the meeting, while RS Praveen Raj, Principal Scientist, proposed a vote of thanks.