Kerala Accelerator Program : Applications are invited

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Kerala Accelerator Program is a 3 month virtual accelerator program designed to give national level exposure to startups who are in the early revenue stage. Last date to apply is 18 January 2018.

Program benefits

  • Product-Market Validation | Corporate Connect
  • Residential Program in Bangalore/Mumbai
  • Opportunity to Pitch to Investor

For more details visit: https://startupmission.kerala.gov.in/k-accelerator

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The Way Forward — KSUM’s Technology Innovation Fellowship

In April this year, I got selected to become part of Kerala Startup Mission’s Technology Innovation Fellowship program (TIFP). Out of many who applied, twenty were selected from across Kerala.

We were the Third bath of fellows to join startup mission, since its inception. I applied for the program as I wanted to learn more about the startup ecosystem and to be around like-minded people. The opportunity that was before me was enormous.

When I tell people what my job at KSUM is, most of them have difficulty understanding it. In some ways, our jobs may be under defined, it’s not like a regular 9-5 job. But if I were to boil it down, my job would be to connect people. We are the liaison to the Government.

What follows is an account of the things I have learned from my interactions with people I met through my journey and the challenges we face in creating a Startup Ecosystem.

1. We can ease up on Evangelisation of Entrepreneurship.

Thanks to a lot of media coverage and sites like YourStory, most students have some idea what Entrepreneurship is. Now our main focus is not to spread the idea of startups but to try and bring as many people from the startup world together so that they can interact among themselves and share their knowledge and experience.

What the students need is a role model, someone they can look up to, someone they can relate to. They want to see that an ordinary guy like them can get into the startup world and be successful. Examples like  Facebook and Apple have become cliched, and students can’t relate to them. We need stories of ordinary people like you and me, who are running their companies. We want to know what drives them, and what keeps them up at night.

Stories inspire people, and interactions help them relate to that person. Our aim as fellows would be to use our reach and bring together as many people as we can find in the startup ecosystem. We will accomplish this through, conferences, talk sessions, webinars and all means necessary.

Entrepreneurship has become a common word in our society these days, but few people really know what it means.  Entrepreneurship is not about starting some unicorn company and moving to America. It’s about solving real-world problems and making people’s lives better.

The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.”
― Peter Thiel, Zero to One:

2. How to follow up on Programs/Workshops

We talked with a lot of IEDC nodal officers in many colleges across the state—and in some form or the other—I heard this common concern. There is no follow up on programs/workshops conducted for students. This seems to be a core problem. We can conduct as many workshops as we like, but if the students don’t follow up them, then is would all be for nothing.

Usually what happens is that the students participate in some Workshop/ Hackathons and over the course of the programme, they learn something about a new technology. But once it’s over, very few people follow-up on what they learn. Most of the programmes conducted for students have no follow-up mechanism.

In some cases, students come for certificates which they can put on their resumes, It’s really sad. This, I fear is the institutionalised mindset, that has been ingrained into students. That, whatever you do as a student, is to get a job in some good company.

Our challenge would be to break this tradition, put some more effort into creating programmes for students, which has some kind of follow-up mechanism. One or two-day workshops are good for spreading awareness, but they are not what we need in the long run.

We need a systematic programme, that addresses an individual’s needs and follows up on their work. Sounds a lot like a school doesn’t it? Which brings me to my next point.

3. How to bring the spirit of Entrepreneurship into the curriculumChildren’s lives.

I read in a book that,  our educational system — in its entirety — was designed over a century ago to turn out educated and compliant factory workers. The more I look around, the more it seems to be true. There are certain things that our school system is good for, like teaching discipline, encouraging competition etc.

But our educational system has struggled to keep up with the changes in time. As any Darwinian would agree, It is not the fittest that survive, but the one most adaptable to change. Our educational system has a lot of inertia. It has been rolling for quite some time that, we cannot easily stop it or change its direction.

Taking that into consideration, what we want to do it is augment it. Slowly build a new system on top of the existing one until it completely replaces it. Easy to say, but very hard to do.

This point came across when we were talking with the previous batch of fellows. Our aim is not to make everyone start their own company. It might sound like a noble quest, but not an ideal one. Our aim is to make students ready to enter the startup ecosystem. What does this mean?

To enter into the corporate world, you need qualifications, but to enter the startup world, you need Skills. This is where it all boils down to. Students need skills. I doubt that many colleges provide students with skills they need to survive in the current economy. This should be our primary focus for now.

Students can learn their college curriculum, but they should also be given time to explore, to try different things and pick up new skills. So the question is how do we do that? How do we give enough time for students to pursue such skills, while still going through the rigours of formal education?

One answer would be to create an environment of competition. From my experience, I can tell that the students who take part in Workshops/Hackathons work really hard to win. They learn new things and learn to apply them to solve a problem. This is something we can tap into.

Kids are naturally curious, I love it when I talk with them, you can see the curiosity in their eyes and feel their potential for growth. All it takes is the right environment. I’m suggesting a method where we give real-world problems as challenges to students and ask them to solve it. We will extend to them the resources they need.

The point is to make the kids become problem solvers. Once a person goes through such a task, he/she will be well equipped to handle more problems in the future.

I’m working on a method to implement this idea, where we give the governments problems as challenges to students. We will post these challenges for people to solve, and the best ideas to come forward will be given the support they need to implement it. I know there will be a lot of bureaucratic processes to get through before it gets implemented. I feel our government should be more open about its problems, lest they fear that it might be used against them.

4. How to Spread the knowledge of Digital Fabrication

Kerala startup mission has signed an MOU with MIT’s  Center for Bits and Atoms, USA. With their help, KSUM has set up two Fablabs in the state. One in Technopark, Trivandrum and other in KTIZ, Kochi.

Fablabs are a technical prototyping platform that shares core capabilities so that people and projects can be shared across them. They started as an outreach programme by MIT and have grown to over 1600 labs around the world. They serve as places where people can go and prototype their ideas and create their own technology.

“Fablabs enable you to do now, that which the personal fabricators of tomorrow can do in the future” — Neil Greshenfeld, Drirector of Center for Bits and Atoms.

I have written a previous article explaining what are fablabs and what you can do with them HERE.

I have undergone the fabacademy course in Jan 2017 and have learned a lot from the experience, plus I also got to make some pretty cool stuff along the way. The main thing that I have felt while going through fabacademy is a change in my perspective. No longer am I bound to the — one size fits all — commercial products. I can design and build almost anything. It is truly a great feeling, and you get a certain sense of accomplishment when you create something from scratch. But not many people know of this awesome opportunity they have, and I want to change that.

Our current focus is to bring the art of digital fabrication into Engineering colleges. We are in the process of setting up 20 Mini Fablabs in colleges across the state. They will have the same functionality as ordinary fablabs but in a smaller format. There is also a plan to conduct the fabacademy course as a two-year programme for colleges students. This I believe is a good initiative. Now students get to learn how to apply what they have learned in their curriculum. but still, a challenge remains. How to get students from Arts and Science background interested in Digital Fabrication?

This challenge requires a bit more research to find a suitable method in which we can approach the problem. Fablabs are not just for engineers, it also a place where Artists can come and work as well. Few people know what fablabs are capable of and I intend to change that.

5. How to bring it all together? The Startup Ecosystem

KSUM already has a lot of great initiatives like Learning to code, Startup Bootcamp etc. But what we are aiming for is the formation of a startup ecosystem in Kerala. This is our mission. We need to bring together these independent events and make them part of an ecosystem.

Why do we need an ecosystem? It’s because of a simple index that India lags in, The Ease of Doing Business. We rank 130 on that list. India is a tough economy for starting your business and our aim through the formation of an ecosystem is to reduce the barrier for entry of people into the startup world.

I’m sure a lot of smaller communities are present now, so the challenge would be how to bring them all together? This will be something we will be working on quite a lot.

Epilogue

It is no longer enough that people know about Entrepreneurship, they must be shown a way to it. We need to bring about more interaction between the people inside the startup community and the ones outside. These interactions will help People find role models they can relate with.

Workshops/Hackathons are good for bringing awareness but the focus must be given to creating a follow-up mechanism for these kinds of programs for students.

Our aim is not to make everyone start their own company, it is to make them ready to enter the startup ecosystem. To enter into the corporate world, you need qualifications, but to enter the startup world, you need Skills. Hence we need to bring more skill-based programs for students in colleges. We can do that by providing a challenging environment for students so that they can work on improving their skills.

I suggest a way by which, we should let students bring solutions to the government’s problems. Give them challenges to work on and provide them with support, stand back and be surprised.

Digital Fabrication is an art, that can be learned by anyone. I want people to embrace this opportunity and learn to be creators. Be the makers of your own technology. If what you build is good, build them for others as well.

The creation of a startup ecosystem will be the culmination of our efforts. We will work to bring together men and machines to make that happen.

This, I believe is the way forward.


I’m open to suggestions on all that I have shared. I want as many minds to work on this as possible.

I’m grateful to be a part of KSUM’s activities and I hope to accomplish many things. You can reach out to me anytime.

mail me at rahul@fellow.startupmmission.in

Written by Rahul S Rajan, TIF, KSUM

SpotBay flies into Trivandrum with two contest winners on Day 1

Mr Anbin and Mr Ashok are the two lucky winners to get the prizes on day of the launch of SpotBay.

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SpotBay’s First Lucky Winner Mr.Anbin is receiving gift from Dr. Saji Gopinath( CEO, Kerala Start Up Mission).

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SpotBay’s second lucky winner Mr Ashok Kurian Panjikaran receiving gift from Mr Arun R S Chandran, Co-Founder, SpotBay

SpotBay is a new app launched by one of the startup incubated in Kerala Startup Mission that connects people based on their location utilizing Geofencing and Location aware message technologies. The platform also has a unique feature for conducting contests among the users.

SpotBay analysis Day 1

  • No of Contests – 4
  • Unique Contest Participation – 40
  • Contest Participation – 100
  • Winners – 4
  • Winners announced – 2
  • Congratulations to all the winners !!!

So what are you waiting for , Go to Playstore and download the SpotBay app and start playing contests. You could be the next Winner !!!!

Download the app here

SpotBay is coming to Trivandrum on January 3, 2018

Winners never Quit and Quitters never Win …. join Spotbay and win exciting gifts..!!!

SpotBay_Poster

Kerala Startup Mission is happy to announce the launch of SpotBay, a mobile app developed by M/s Neonicz Technologies Pvt Ltd, that connects people based on their location utilizing Geofencing and Location aware message technologies. The platform also has a unique feature for conducting contests among the users.

The mobile application will be officially launched by Dr Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Startup Mission on January 3, 2017.

Download the app, start playing contests and win exiting prizes.

Download the app here

 

 

Future of Jobs in India : A 2022 Perspective

Are Cashier , Teller, Sales Representative the jobs that are going to get extinct in another five years??

Yes says the recent report titled Future Jobs in India: A 2022 Perspective by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) and EY (Ernst & Young).

The report talks about the Changing Job Landscape, the trends impacting future of Jobs in India, detailed sector wise analysis and recommendations to Government and Industry. The sector wise analysis covers the following:

  1. IT-BPM
  2. Automotive
  3. Retail
  4. Textiles and Apparel
  5. BFSI

Each sector analysis comprises of the present scenario, the Key megatrends impacting each sector and also the impact on jobs and skills.

Some of the key finding and recommendations are shown below:

 

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Read the complete report : http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-future-of-jobs-in-india/$FILE/ey-future-of-jobs-in-india.pdf

Fab Academy 2018: Application Deadline extended until January 7, 2018

LEARN HOW TO MAKE (ALMOST) ANYTHING

The Fab Academy teaches principles and applications of digital fabrication. It was developed to teach hands-on skills in fab labs, which began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, and has grown into a global network of more than 500 labs.
Fab Academy instruction is based on MIT’s popular rapid-prototyping course How To Make (almost) Anything, both taught by Prof. Neil Gershenfeld.

DISTRIBUTED EDUCATION

Fab Academy offers a distributed rather than distance educational model: students learn in local workgroups, with peers, mentors, and machines, which are then connected globally by content sharing and video for interactive classes. The individual labs are supported and supervised regionally by supernode sites with more advanced capabilities, expertise, and inventories.

ACCREDITATION

There is no global accreditation for these skills. Instead, each student builds a portfolio that documents their mastery of them individually, and their integration. These are reviewed by their local instructors, regional gurus, and then centrally to ensure that each student meets global standards and follows evolving best practices. The Fab Diploma is earned by progress rather than the calendar, for successful completion of a series of certificate requirements. The instructional sequence requires six months to cover, and the time to finish has ranged from that up to a few years.The Fab Diploma is awarded by the Fab Academy. It has no institutional connection with MIT (and none should be claimed), but a number of the participating sites offer it overlaid with their local accreditation. It recognizes readiness to work in, and establish, a fab lab. The Fab Diploma has led to students obtaining employment, investment, admission, and recognition.

ACADEMANY

The Fab Academy platform has subsequently been used to add classes (collectively called Academany) that share the model of hands-on instruction to students in workgroups, with local mentors, linked by shared content and interactive lectures by global leaders. The first of these is How To Grow (almost) Anything, an introduction to biotechnology with a faculty team led by Harvard’s Prof. George Church, with more classes under development, as well as programs for more advanced study planned.

CONTENT​

1. digital fabrication principles and practices – 1 week
2. computer-aided design, manufacturing, and modeling – 1 week
3. computer-controlled cutting – 1 week
4. electronics design and production – 2 weeks
5. computer-controlled machining – 1 week
6. embedded programming – 1 week
7. 3D molding and casting – 1 week
8. collaborative technical development and project management – 1 week
9. 3D scanning and printing – 1 week
10. sensors, actuators, and displays – 2 weeks
11. interface and application programming – 1 week
12. embedded networking and communications – 1 week
13. machine design – 2 weeks
14. digital fabrication applications and implications – 1 week
15. invention, intellectual property, and business models – 1 week
16. digital fabrication project development – 2 weeks

Fab Academy Kerala

During the last two year’s Fab lab Kerala had successfully hosted the Fab Academy program in the fab labs in Kochi and Trivandrum. Both the labs witnessed a participation of 18 participants in the year 2016 and 14 participants in the year 2017. Out of which 16 graduated in the year 2016 and 12 participants graduated in the year 2017.

Similarly Fab Lab Kerala is all set to host the Fab Academy 2018 in Kochi and Trivandrum. The classes will begin from January third week onwards. Each fab lab can accommodate 10 participants in each lab. Fab Academy 2018 Course Application is now open and those who are interested shall apply in the link below.Read more about the fab graduates here: http://archive.fabacademy.org/

For more details and queries please contact :

Vinod Kumar B G (Fab lab Kerala – Trivandrum) – 9809494669
Daniel Jeevan (Fab lab Kerala – Kochi) – 9747572989

Applications for the fab academy is open till January 7 , 2017. Those who are interested are requested to apply in the link given below: http://fabacademy.org/application-form/