Andhra varsity opens 'Next Gen Tech' incubation centre with 25 startups

ETV Ravi
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ETV Ravi

Highlights

Andhra University Incubation Council to be fully operational with 1.75 lakh sft in next 2 yrs

Visakhapatnam: Andhra University's state-of-the-art incubation centre called 'Next Gen Tech' is operational on two floors out of the five-floor building in AU College of Engineering North Campus from Monday with 25 startups. This is a part of AU Incubation Council, registered as a not-for-profit (Section 8) company with AU Vice-Chancellor PVGD Prasad Reddy, Dean Basavaiah Keloth, Registrar V Krishnamohan and its CEO ETV Ravi as the Board of Directors.

"AU Incubation Council will be fully operational with around 1.75 lakh-sft co-working space for startups in Visakhapatnam over the next couple of years. As a part of this, the first phase of Next Gen Tech Incubation Centre started functioning in 10,000 sft out of total 25,000 sft," Ravi told Bizz Buzz in an exclusive interview. He is the first President of Information Technology Association of Andhra Pradesh (ITAAP) and currently it's Chairman of Advisory Council.

The rest of the 15,000 sft space will be thrown open for startups after completion of the construction in the coming 3-4 months. Next Gen Tech Incubation Centre is being built by the university at a cost of Rs10 crore, mostly received from the funding of RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the State government universities and colleges to achieve the aims of equity, access and excellence.

"Out of the overall demand for 240 co-working seats, we could accommodate only 144 seats to the startups in phase-I of Next Gen Tech Incubation Centre. The remaining seats will be provided to the startups in the second phase by the month of June or July," he said. "The phase-II of the building has a seating capacity of 225. All the co-working seats available for startups in AU Incubation Council will cost the same. We are trying to put some level of standardisation."

The CEO informed that Next Gen Tech is a paid incubation facility, which is open for any growth stage startup. In the same campus, an annex incubation centre is coming up to accommodate student and faculty start-ups free of cost. As of now, six startups are virtually being incubated from here. The DigiFac Services OPC Pvt ltd, a Visakhapatnam-based startup, was given space of 3,000 sft to set up their lab in the North Campus. It is training about 90 students of AU in no-code/low-code development platforms.

STPI Incubation Centre:

The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) has recently signed an MoU with the university to establish an incubation centre with over 70,000 sft in the North Campus. It is still in the site identification stage. It is likely to come up close to the Next Gen Tech Incubation Centre. Out of the overall budget of Rs 58 crore, an amount of Rs 19.75 crore has been approved and given for construction to the Central Public Works Department.

Nasscom CoE:

IT industry's apex body Nasscom, along with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and AP government set up a centre of excellence (CoE) focussed on Internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) at AU North Campus. Last November, the CoE was inaugurated by former Minister for Information Technology and Industries late Mekapati Gowtham Reddy. As of now, 17 startups are being incubated here. The 5,000-sft centre is built up with an outlay of Rs 30 crore over five years.

Pharma Incubation Centre:

An exclusive Pharma Incubation Centre is coming up in the South Campus of the university with 60,000 sft space. The building will host a range of startups from pharma, biotech, drug testing, food testing and genomics. It will have facilities like drug testing labs and food testing labs. Though it is built by the university with its own funds, the management is looking to make it a joint venture by collaborating with a large multinational pharma giant such as Aurobindo or Ramky. It may take another 3-4 months to sign the MoU and set up the infrastructure.

Marine Incubation Centre:

Marine Incubation and Skill Development Centre is also about to launch in the South Campus of the university with 12,000 sft space to nurture startups from the marine sector. Aqua firm Avanti Feeds Ltd has sponsored Rs 20 crore under corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds to set up this centre. It is ready for incubating marine start-ups.

TCABS-E Lab:

The Center for Advanced-Applied Biological Sciences & Entrepreneurship (TCABS-E) has a lab in the zoology department of the university. It is helping students with new ideas and innovative technologies. It has come up with two patents with AU in the last three months. Another patent is already filed and it is still pending.

Annexe Incubation Centres:

In the North Campus, a 25-seater Annexe Incubation Centre is coming up at AU College of Engineering to accommodate student and faculty startups free of cost for a period of six months to one year. Similarly in the South Campus, a 50-seater Annexe Incubation Centre at Department of Commerce and Management will also support the student and faculty startups with no charges.

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