College teachers in Kerala will soon be able to whet their entrepreneurial appetite in the emerging start-up segment, without risking their career and steady revenue. The Pinarayi Vijayan government has cleared a proposal to let teachers take a sabbatical, if they are game to launch their own start-ups along with students. “This would be a two-way street. While the college teachers can benefit by joining as founders or co-founders, their direct participation will fetch responsibility and experience to the student start-ups, boosting their credibility and efficiency.,” says M Sivasankar, principal secretary (IT) in the Kerala government. This incentive, apart from the $80-million fund that the state government, had recently announced, can be enjoyed over the next three years. On a pilot basis, a few faculty members will be cherry-picked to kick-start “the sabbatical for start-up” project.
An expert panel, chaired by Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Startup Mission, will identify the first set of 10 teachers in the fray. The maximum term of the sabbatical would be 24 months. However, the sabbatical would be allowed with or without pay from their institutions. If the foray for start-up means sabbatical without pay, the Kerala government has offered to pay a fellowship to the tune of Rs 50,000 or the equivalent of last drawn salary, whichever is lower.
Recently, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been vying one another to perk the start-up ecosystems. While Kerala has been offering $80-million start-up kitty and incentivising academics to join hands with student start-ups, Karnataka had picked up about 112 start-ups to mentor through its Elevate 100 scheme.
Andhra Pradesh has been hosting a string of national conferences on business finance and technology to forge its start-up scene. The Kerala government envisages that teaming with academicians with steady income, knowhow and responsibility will add credence and confidence to the student entrepreneurs.