Hubballi to house India’s biggest startup incubation centre by September’17

CIOL Writers
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In a bid to promote entrepreneurship in India’s tier-II and tier-III cities, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, philanthropist and venture capitalist Gururaj Deshpande is setting up India's biggest startup incubator in Hubballi, about 400km from Bangalore, an 82,000-sqft facility centre which is expected to open in September.


The Deshpande Foundation - incubation centre named Sandbox Startups is investing Rs 30 crore in the centre. The Hubballi incubation centre is an expansion to its current incubation centre, that was founded by Deshpande and his wife Jaishree in 2008. Currently, over 50 startups are part of the Sandbox. All of them will move to the new facility after September.

India's current biggest incubator is T-Hub in Telangana, lined in a 70,000-sqft building.

Spread over six acres, the incubation centre will provide the capacity to seat over 1,200 people, which means it can accommodate at least 200 startups with office space and basic infrastructure. The startups will be mainly from Dharwad district.


"The new facility will have a makers' lab, 3D printing lab, IoT (internet-of-things) lab. It will focus on all sectors — from manufacturing and agriculture to IoT," said Deshpande Foundation CEO Naveen Jha.

"We are just facilitators. We want to act as the catalyst to help entrepreneurs create sustainable, scalable and replicable business models,” he further added.

Since launch Sandbox Startups has been providing support to entrepreneurs to pilot their business ideas and to engage with investment firms and government agencies. Among several initiatives through this programme, startups have created a software-enabled machine that helps automate the process of sorting cashew nuts according to their quality, and a technique to improve the productivity of cotton farmers.

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