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Tamil Nadu to set up incubator for startups

The Times of India:  January, 2015

Chennai: To attract start-ups and project a business-friendly face, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to set aside dedicated areas or warehouses for start-ups to grow with guidance from Nasscom, the industry body for software companies, the first of which will become operational at Tidel Park in Chennai.

"As a major step to support young entrepreneurs, from 2014-15 onwards, this government will make available 10% of space exclusively for Information Technology Incubation Centres as 'Warehouses for Startups' in all information technology parks developed by the government. These centres will promote new ventures and assist upcoming entrepreneurs by creating an appropriate ecosystem," reads an order from the government.

To begin with, a 'Startup Warehouse' will be set up in Tidel Park in the heart of Chennai with Nasscom as its knowledge partner. The centre will have 10,000sqft of carpet area, fully functional plug-and-play office space with 60 to 80 workstations and at least four conference rooms. It will have 100% power back-up, central air-conditioning, leased internet lines, cafeteria and basement car park.

Once the Chennai centre becomes operational, IT parks promoted by the state government in Madurai, Trichy, Salem, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Hosur will have dedicated hubs for start-ups in those regions.

The warehouse programme will help create awareness amongst entrepreneurs, build entrepreneurial capability through events and link investors and mentors with start-ups. The warehouse will incubate and accelerate quality start-ups in partnership with the best incubators in the country. Nasscom has announced a 10,000 start-up programme across India. "The startup warehouses in Tamil Nadu will be integrated into 'the 10,000 start-up' programme," sources said.

Nasscom will be responsible for end-to-end programme management of the warehouse. "This will be achieved by hiring a dedicated professional team to staff the warehouse to ensure smooth day-to-day operations of the Startup Warehouse," the order said.

"It is a great opportunity for Nasscom to be associated with the government to create an ecosystem for tech start-ups in Tamil Nadu. We will build all our warehouse activities through this and bring Tamil Nadu under the start-up radar," K Purushothaman, senior director, Nasscom, said.

A dedicated board will be set up which will comprise two Nasscom representatives, one leader from the Tamil Nadu start-up community and one or more representatives from the Tamil Nadu government. The representatives of the state government will include state IT secretary and managing director of ELCOT.

Tamil Nadu is the third state after Karnataka and West Bengal to plan dedicated start-up warehouses.