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The Kerala government has approved the state startup apex body Kerala Startup Mission’s (KSUM) proposal to allow teachers to take a sabbatical leave and start their own startups along with students.

Founded in 2006, Kerala Startup Mission is a state nodal agency which aims to build, develop and strengthen state startup ecosystem for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in Kerala. Addressing the ecosystem development challenges, Kerala Startup Mission promotes technology-based entrepreneurship activities from the school level to creating an entrepreneurial culture in the state.

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The current initiative has been taken in regards to bolster state’s startup ecosystem and help and mentor entrepreneurs who intend to start their own startups. According to a statement made by government officials on October 21, 2017,  an expert panel, headed by KSUM CEO Saji Gopinath, will select 10 faculty members on a pilot basis for the implementation of the project.

The initiative will accord sabbatical leave to teachers who aspire to become entrepreneurs. Teachers can now either start their own startup or can also join students. Marking this as a unique initiative, M Sivasankar, State IT Secretary said, “this participation of teachers, with active support from college authorities and parents, will bring experience and responsibility in the startups.”

Malayalam Webdaily Blive reports that in case of non-payment or payment of reduced salary, the faculty member will be paid a fellowship of $769 (INR 50K) or last drawn salary whichever is lower during the period of sabbatical leave. The maximum duration of the fellowship is 24 months.

In the last two-three years, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have announced a number of initiatives to encourage startuppers and the startup ecosystems in the respective states. While Karnataka has selected around 112 startups under Elevate 100 to provide fund-support and mentorship, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have recently hosted various conferences regarding fintech to attract tech-startups and investments from all across the country.

Kerala, too, recently announced a $78 Mn fund of funds for startups to support the state startups for next three years. The Kerala Startup Mission had earlier announced 12 startup projects, as part of  Startup Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP).

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