Technopark-Thiruvananthapuram, arguably the country's first information technology park, has completed 20 years of its existence.

Having a built-up area of 4.5 million sq ft, it today is home to 80 IT and ITeS companies employing an estimated 28,000 professionals.

Conceptualised in July 1990 as a facility to foster the development of high-technology industries in the State, the park was set up under the auspices of Electronics Technology Park, Kerala – an autonomous body under the Department of IT. The aim was to create infrastructure and provide support for development of high-technology companies in the State. The foundation stone for the first building in the complex was laid on March 31, 1991, by the then chief minister, Mr E.K. Nayanar. Noted industrialist Mr K.P.P. Nambiar, was Technopark's first Chairman.

The park was formally dedicated to the nation by the then Prime Minister, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao, in November 1995. Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary-IT, Kerala, said that Technopark has played a major role in shaping IT infrastructure in the State.

Kerala proposes to build on its advantages and transform itself into a ‘silicon coast' through focused initiatives in IT infrastructure development, HR development and citizen e-enablement, he added. Technopark has since witnessed major IT/ITeS companies, among them Infosys Technologies and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), set up shop.

Infosys has set up its own campus in over 50 acres of land and now employs 3,000 professionals. This would be ramped up to 15,000 soon, an official spokesman said. TCS has acquired 26 acres of land for setting up a software development centre. It currently operates the Global Learning Centre, one of the biggest in Asia, from out of the park facility. It trains around 24,000 fresh graduates before being put on regular service.

According to Mr Mervin Alexander, CEO, a number of home-grown companies, viz. Toonz Animation India, IBS Group, UST Global, NesT and SunTec Business Solutions, have achieved global success from their base in Technopark.

The Technology Business Incubation Centre at the park has become a major draw with prospective entrepreneurs. The Smart Business Centre is a plug-and-play facility that has attracted investors to set up software development facilities.

By year 2015, it is estimated that the State would have an estimated two lakh direct job opportunities in IT/ITeS industry, Mr Alexander said.

The park also houses technology and business schools such as the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Kerala (IIITM-K) and The Asian School of Business, and finishing school Afras Academy for Business Communications and Faith Infotech.

Technopark has acquired 92 acres of land for its third phase expansion and 450 acres of land for setting up an integrated township, Technocity, in the fourth phase.

In addition, it is also developing a 44-acre campus at Kundara in neighbouring Kollam district as its ‘spoke' in the hub-and-spoke model.

Technopark will felicitate stakeholders who have contributed towards its growth on the Foundation Day on Wednesday (July 28).