CII to set up startup Centre of Excellence in Amaravati

The Amaravati startup CoE will be nurtured by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, who wants to focus on rural and non-technology entrepreneurship


A file photo of Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of CII, who said Vijayawada is one potential location to initially locate the startup CoE. Photo: Mint
A file photo of Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of CII, who said Vijayawada is one potential location to initially locate the startup CoE. Photo: Mint

Hyderabad: Industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will set up startup centres in different states in yet another initiative by an industry body to promote entrepreneurship in the country.

Software industry lobby Nasscom is trying to create micro-ecosystems for technology startups across the country by operating startup warehouses in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Kochi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.

CII will set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for startups in Andhra Pradesh’s upcoming capital Amaravati. In a hub-and-spoke model, Amaravati will act as the national hub for all of CII’s entrepreneurial activities; incubation centres will come up in different parts of the country and as spokes. The CoE will “foster” entrepreneurship, incubate startups, mentor entrepreneurs, and provide assistance, support and training to entrepreneurs.

“The main centre of learning will be based out of Amaravati,” Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of CII said.

The Amaravati startup CoE will be nurtured by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan who wants to focus on rural and non-technology entrepreneurship, Naushad Forbes, president of CII, said.

The Andhra Pradesh government has allocated 10 acres in Amaravati for CII’s tenth centre of excellence. CII will invest Rs.10-15 crore in the facility. The CoE will be functional in the next few months. It need not be necessarily based out of Amaravati to begin with.

Vijayawada is one potential location to initially locate the startup CoE, Banerjee added.

CII has nine centres of excellence in different areas such as sustainable development (Delhi), green business (Hyderabad), leadership (Kolkata), manufacturing (Mumbai), logistics (Chennai), food and agriculture (Delhi), quality (Bengaluru) and competitiveness for small and medium enterprises (Chandigarh).

“Each of these centres can become, we believe, an all-encompassing university. And that is the type of university we are looking at in Amaravati also,” Banerjee said.

“We feel that the country is very good in technical skills and very good in management skills. Where we really can make a contribution is in creating a full-service university which includes social sciences and humanities,” Forbes said. CII’s full-service university will initially focus on humanities and social sciences and make way for professional courses eventually.

The industry body is also in initial talks with the state government to create a “world-class” exhibition complex in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode with the AP government. The acreage and location for the university and convention centre has not been finalized although Banerjee said the exhibition centre complex might require around 100 acres of land.

Andhra Pradesh is building a capital from the scratch on vast farmlands on the banks of river Krishna. It has secured around 33,000 acres of farmland from farmers through a land pooling process whereby it will allot developed plots to farmers who participated in the exercise. The capital city of Amaravati is coming up in 217 sq.km of land between Vijayawada and Guntur towns.

The CII is bullish on the Indian economy growing at 8% in 2016-17 in view of projected normal monsoon that will help the agriculture sector bounce back. The revival of the agriculture sector will lead to overall GDP growth, Forbes said.

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