Team Details

Dr. Saji Gopinath

Dr. Saji Gopinath

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Saji Gopinath currently heads Kerala Startup Mission, the apex body of Govt. of Kerala for supporting the technical entrepreneurship and Startup ecosystem in the State of Kerala. Before joining Kerala Startup Mission in April 2017, Dr. Gopinath served IIM Kozhikode for over 17 years as Professor, Dean- Academic and Dean-Development. He also set up the Satellite campus of IIM at Kochi, IIM Amritsar campus in Amritsar as well as instrumental in setting up Asia's first Synchronous e-Learning Programme in Executive Management Education. He also served as founding Dean of Bennett University a modern age multi-disciplinary University of Times of India group established in Greater Noida. He was also associated with Manipal Group as Director of  T. A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) Manipal, one of the top 15 Business schools in the country. A Mechanical Engineer with Ph.D in Management from the Indian Institute of Science, Dr. Gopinath started his career with Larsen & Toubro Ltd and later worked with Oil and Natural Gas Commission. He also serves in various national boards, academic syndicates and also associated with several leading Universities in the world


He also consults many corporate, PSUs and Govt. in the area of Operations Excellence, Business Strategy and Sustainable Development. He has also conducted over 800 training programs for leading corporate like Reliance Industries, NEC, GMR Group, JK group, HUL, BEL, NTPC, Indian Army, IOFS etc. in the areas of Operations Excellence, Blue Ocean Strategy, Risk Management, Project Leadership, Supply Chain Management etc.


He is a recipient of several national and international awards for his scholastic and professional achievements. Education Leadership Award (2015), British Council Knowledge Partnership Fellowship (2012), London Business School Best case Study award (2009), B-School Affairs National Award for Best operations management Faculty (2010), ISTE National award  (1997) National award for the best integrated agri processing project(2005) etc. are some of them.


Dr. Gopinath has authored more than 30 research papers in leading academic journals including International Journal of Project Management, Journal of Financial Research, Journal of Indian Business Research, Journal of Social Systems and Simulation etc.  . He has also presented over 200 papers in various conferences and Seminars across the world in the fields of Supply Chain Management, Technology Management, Education and Governance


Dr. Gopinath also serve as the mentor and honorary advisor to Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society Kozhikode (ULCCS Ltd) and helped this 90 year old co-operative society to achieve a turnover of over Rs 10 Billion from a mere a 10 million just 8 years ago.  ULCCS also has been recognised as one of the model co-operative Societies in the world by UNIDO and was awarded as the best labour co-operative society during 2014 and 2015 by Govt. of India. Along with ULCCS, Dr. Gopinath had conducted an international conference in 2013, on the theme of Co-operatives in Transition which was well attended by leading co-operatives from Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.


Dr. Gopinath is also very active in Transformational Social Development Projects in the region. Many of the large projects conceived by him for social upliftment through Bottom-of the pyramid economic growth had won national and international awards and recognition.  The innovative projects carried out by him include PRISM – A project for improving quality in Govt. Schools, SUBICSHA- a large scale employment Project for rural women, Thanima- A novel project for repositioning the handloom industry in the State etc. All these are recognised as model projects by Govt. of Kerala


Experience in the Startup Ecosystem


  • Designed and launched a Diploma Program in Small Business Management at NIT Calicut for creating leaders in entrepreneurship. This program had won the best Small Industries Management Assistance Program of SIDBI

  • One of the Co-Founders of IIMK Live- Laboratory for Innovation, Venturing and Entrepreneurship.

  • Supported setting up of incubator in Bennett University, Greater Noida during  2015-16

  • Supported and mentored more than 50 startups during the period 2013-15

  • Conducted several EDPs, Startup Education programs as Dean of IIM Kozhikode

  • After assuming the charge of The Chief Executive Officer, Kerala Startup Mission

    • Launched the Fund of Fund program for startup

    • Facilitated investments for more than 50 startups in the ecosystem

    • Enhanced the direct procurement from startup: from 5 Lakhs to 20 Lakhs and also department can now procure from startup  through a limited tender upto Rs 100 Lakhs.

    • Received the Top Performer State  Award from DIPP for the State Startup Ranking Framework 2018

    • Supported NRL Ideate Startup program as a  panel member in the FInal Selection of Startups in NE region

    • Signed MoU with Airbus, University of Illinois, ICT Academy Kerala, ISRO, Startup India, TiE Kerala, Inc42, Zone Startups India,  Fab Foundation for implementation of various schemes under Kerala Startup Mission.

    • Supported Kerala Ecosystem to get TOP PERFORMER STATE Award under the State Startup Ranking Framework of Govt. of India.

  • CEO

Get in touch with KSUM

We'd love to hear from you. We are here to provide you with more information, answer any questions you may have.