State-of-the-art innovation centres, modern incubation set-up, tinkering labs and co- working space for startups are coming up on the west coast in Karnataka. This is the first project of its kind which is being part funded by Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). Using her MPLADS fund, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, has initiated the project, which would provide a complete ecosystem for startups. "With the rich talent pool that exists in the area, I am sure that given the right conditions, a robust innovation/ start-up ecosystem can thrive in coastal Karnataka. "As an MP from Karnataka, I will invest my efforts to make sure that I can support the development of physical and human infrastructure necessary for innovation to thrive in the area. This shall be the first step towards shaping the 'startup coast' of India," Sitharaman told PTI. The project, which was started to make Mangalore as India's first startup district, is now being expanded to north Karnataka, including the districts of Udupi and Karwar. It would now be known as "startup coast" and the complete ecosystem will be in place in the next two years. The ecosystem will comprise a 100-seater co-working space for budding entrepreneurs in Mangalore, two innovation centres, about five incubation centres in colleges and about 20-30 tinkering labs in schools. Under the Atal Innovation Mission, Atal Tinkering Laboratories will be set up in different schools in this 'startup coast'.
Different schools have applied for this with the Niti Aayog. The innovation centres would be located at the National Institute of Technology in Surathkal and NMAM Institute of Technology under Nitte University. For these centres, the team of the commerce ministry is seeking help of IIT-Madras Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala. With Bengaluru gradually saturating for startups, Mangalore is emerging as a centre for budding entrepreneurs in terms of infrastructure, funding facilities and talent pool. Besides DIPP, local authorities and Niti Aayog is involved in this project. The co-working space, which would be leased to professionals, will be in place by December this year. Detailed project report is under preparation to set up the two innovation centres. Niti Aayog will help in setting up these centres. The ministry is taking several steps such as creating business friendly environment for startups in India. 'Startup India' initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16 January, 2016 to nurture innovation and drive economic growth and employment opportunities.
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