Kris Gopalakrishnan

CII will set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for startups in Amaravati. In a hub-and-spoke model, Amaravati will act as the national hub for all of CII’s entrepreneurial activities; incubation centres will come up in different parts of the country and as spokes. The CoE will “foster” entrepreneurship, incubate startups, mentor entrepreneurs, and provide assistance, support and training to entrepreneurs.

“The main centre of learning will be based out of Amaravati,” Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of CII said. The Amaravati startup CoE will be nurtured by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan who wants to focus on rural and non-technology entrepreneurship, Naushad Forbes, president of CII, said.

The Andhra Pradesh government has allocated 10 acres in Amaravati for CII’s tenth centre of excellence. CII will investRs.10-15 crore in the facility. The CoE will be functional in the next few months. It need not be necessarily based out of Amaravati to begin with.

CII has nine centres of excellence in different areas such as sustainable development (Delhi), green business (Hyderabad), leadership (Kolkata), manufacturing (Mumbai), logistics (Chennai), food and agriculture (Delhi), quality (Bengaluru) and competitiveness for small and medium enterprises (Chandigarh). “Each of these centres can become, we believe, an all-encompassing university. And that is the type of university we are looking at in Amaravati also,” Banerjee said.

“We feel that the country is very good in technical skills and very good in management skills. Where we really can make a contribution is in creating a full-service university which includes social sciences and humanities,” Forbes said. CII’s full-service university will initially focus on humanities and social sciences and make way for professional courses eventually.

The industry body is also in initial talks with the state government to create a “world-class” exhibition complex in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode with the AP government. The acreage and location for the university and convention centre has not been finalized although Banerjee said the exhibition centre complex might require around 100 acres of land.