The tie-up, formalised at Espoo bordering Helsinki, marks a milestone in the Indo-Finnish efforts to strengthen bilateral relations in the field of technology, initiated by both the governments with the formation of a joint working group and visit of ministerial delegations.
Apart from opening a floodgate of opportunities for Indian startups at the Kochi-based Startup Village and beyond, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) is expected to give a massive fillip to the joint drive for future innovations by harnessing Finland's prowess in product technology and India's frugal innovations.
Mr. Sanjay Vijayakumar, Chairperson of Governing Board of Startup Village, inked the MoU with Mr. Tapio Siik, head of ACE, in the presence of a host of dignitaries who are part of a high-level delegation led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) currently visiting Finland.
The Indian delegation is co-led by Dr Arabinda Mitra, Head (IC-B), Dept of Science and Technology, Government of India, and by Mr. H K Mittal, Advisor and Head of the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board functioning under the DST.
The 2010-founded ACE, under the Aalto University, is known for incubating game-changing startups, while Kochi-based Startup Village, the first incubator in the public-private partnership mode in the country, harbours ambitions of grooming billion-dollar ventures from Indian campuses.
"Finland is the powerhouse of product technology," commented Mr. Vijayakumar. "It is home to world leaders, especially in telecom, while India is emerging as the most fertile place for innovative ideas and a happening hub of start-ups. The collaboration is going to be a major initiative to harness the synergies on both the sides.''
The momentous collaboration will facilitate joint innovations in the field of new technology, science-based business creation and technology transfer, besides giving the Indian startups an exposure to cutting-edge product technologies. The two sides will also explore exchange programs by hosting ACE mentors in the field of technology.
Significantly, the two parties will find ways for Startup Village to host Aalto's AppCampus and other events - an initiative which can be highly beneficial for the startup companies across India. AppCampus is a 24-million-dollar mobile application program set up jointly by world leaders Nokia & Microsoft and managed by ACE.
"We are also looking at expansion of the program by bringing Aalto's AppCampus to Startup Village during this year itself. Indian start-ups often run short of able mentoring to incubate ideas. One of our key missions at Startup Village is to plug this gap by involving big names in the industry," Mr. Vijayakumar said. "This collaboration will herald another big step in this direction, as Indian start-ups will have a chance to learn from the world leaders."
Mr. Siik said Aalto University was looking forward to exploring the various ways of cooperation with Startup Village. "There are clearly multiple opportunities for both parties to benefit from each other's unique knowhow," he added.
About Startup Village (http://www.startupvillage.in/)
Startup Village is India's first Public Private Partnership model Technology Business Incubator. The promoters of Startup Village are Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, Technopark Trivandrum and MobME Wireless.
Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Infosys and the most successful IT Entrepreneur from Kerala, is the Chief Mentor for Startup Village. Dr. Ravi Pillai, the biggest employer of Indians in the Middle East, and major local IT entrepreneurs like Mr. K. Nanda Kumar of SunTec are also associated with Startup Village.
Equipped with full 4G network, telecom labs, innovation zones, legal and intellectual property services, fully furnished offices and video conference rooms, Startup Village will give a slew of incentives, such as a three-year service tax holiday and funding opportunities for tech startups.
Startup Village aims to incubate 1,000 product startups over 10 years and start the search for a billion-dollar company from a college campus by the turn of this decade. The Village will create an ecosystem and provide a platform for start-ups to create breakthrough technologies for the global telecommunications industry. It focuses primarily on student startups from college campuses.
About Aalto University Center for Entrepreneurship
The Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE) at Aalto University in Finland offers innovation, commercialisation and start-up services for Aalto University researchers, students and other stakeholders. In addition, they facilitate innovation and growth entrepreneurship by co-creating research and education of these areas across all the Aalto schools. ACE also supports the award-winning Aalto Venture Garage and Startup Sauna open-source seed accelerator.