Hyderabad: The inauguration of T-Hub in 2015 was no less than a festival for the State, innovators, corporates, investors and startups. Unveiled by IT Minister KT Rama Rao, the facility was all about innovation and new ideas. In the last six years, T-Hub has evolved from being just a startup incubator to an innovation hub. “T-Hub is more than just a world-class facility. Our goal is to partner with startups along the path of their growth,” says Ravi Narayan, who took over as CEO in 2019, pointing out that the startup ecosystem builder operates independently without any government intervention.
The facility looks to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship by providing strong support throughout a startup’s life cycle – from the moment of product-market fit to the moment of exit. “We help Indian startups access the global market and help international startups discover India as a market. Through this, we have created a network of mentors, venture capitalists, incubators and accelerators,” says Narayan.
Not just Hyderabad startups, but those from other cities and countries are vying for a place in T-Hub. As a testament to its work, Telangana was ranked among the top 30 Global Talent Ecosystems with Hyderabad ranked among the top 100 Emerging Ecosystems in a recent report.
Through its capacity building programme, T-Tribe, T-Hub is also spreading the culture of entrepreneurship to students. It also provides thought leadership for State and Central government organisations to build innovation ecosystems.
T-Hub Phase 2 by year- end
To provide a bigger and better facility, the government decided to launch the second phase of T-Hub. While it was planned for early 2020, the Covid pandemic played spoilsport. It will now be ready by the end of 2021. Built with Rs 276 crore at Raidurgam, it is spread across 3.5 lakh square feet and can house 1,000 startups.
“T-Hub phase 2 will be a microcosm of the innovation ecosystem which will include multiple stakeholders. It will house not just startups but also corporations, investors and other ecosystem enablers,” Narayan said, adding that T-Hub was connecting with enablers who would want to be part of Phase 2.
T-Hub-like facilities in tier-2 cities
While entrepreneurship and innovation have always been looked at as an urban or metro concept, the Telangana government is looking to tap into the potential of rural innovators and entrepreneurs from the hinterland. In order to encourage the concept in tier-2 and tier-3 cities of the State, the government is planning to establish T-Hub-like facilities in tier-2 cities.
Under the new IT policy, the government first set up IT centres and towers in cities like Warangal and Karimnagar.
Now, to encourage innovations from rural areas and towns, the government is looking at establishing T-Hub-like facilities in cities like Warangal, Karimnagar and Khammam, said T-Hub CEO Ravi Narayan.
“These facilities will work in close proximity to the IT hubs and centres being planned in these cities. Works are in progress and updates will be shared by the government,” he said, adding that the State government plans to expand the IT industry to tier-II cities by decentralising it.
In its Socio-Economic Outlook 2020, the State government stated its intent to develop IT hubs in Warangal, Khammam and Karimnagar. An IT Incubation Centre has been built on a two-acre plot of land by the Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC) in Warangal. Meanwhile, Karimnagar is developing an IT centre spanning 51,600 square feet.
This was being done after IT Minister KT Rama Rao urged organisations like Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC), T-Hub and WE Hub to lay special focus on rural innovation through their programmes.