Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav: Meghalaya Edition

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To commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Startup India and PRIME Entrepreneurship Meghalaya celebrated Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and collectively hosted a 2-hour long physical event at the PRIME Startup Hub in Shillong on the 25th of September, 2021. The event was specially dedicated to the entrepreneurs of Meghalaya. K. N. Kumar, Retired IAS and Chairman of Meghalaya Farmer’s Commission, attended the event as the Chief Guest. He enlightened the audience about the various schemes available for the entrepreneurs in Meghalaya and North-East at large. Some of the successful entrepreneurs of the state shared their success stories, focusing on their journey, challenges, and how they overcame it. The need to tap the potential of agriculture in North-East India was also discussed. “This facilitating environment was not there before. But now, the entrepreneurial ecosystem has been created by the government. Just for entrepreneurship alone, the Government of India has launched 16 schemes for the North-East. The North-East youth need to be made aware of these schemes for them to dig deeper and take benefit from the takeaways.”

Shri. Aiban Swer, Director, MBMA, gave an insight on the history of entrepreneurship and how it shaped up in Meghalaya. He stated, “The definition of entrepreneurship has changed over the years. The Government of Meghalaya has launched the PRIME and FOCUS programs among various other schemes to benefit the entrepreneurship ecosystem of the state. The primary purpose of such institutions is to give a comprehensive approach to changing lives and ensuring sustainable use of natural resources. Meghalaya has the potential to become a state of producers”.

Shri. Flo Oberhofer, Program Head, PRIME Startup Hub, outlined the offerings of PRIME and its vision of developing the scope of entrepreneurship in the state. He threw light on the new initiatives that PRIME has introduced. Oberhofer added, “We are building up a pipeline where entrepreneurs who are in their idea stage, as well as those who are in their scale-up growth stage, can get support from us. Every entrepreneur who walks in will receive the support that they seek.”

Shri Gautam Anand, Manager, Invest India – Startup India, explained the Startup India initiative in detail and how entrepreneurs can leverage it. He spoke about the opportunities and benefits that the entrepreneurs can avail by being a recognized startup like access to funding for startups, Startup India Seed Fund Scheme, Government engagement, international market access, and National Startup Awards. Anand shared, “We encourage Indian Startups to access international markets by building up connections with nodal agencies of different countries”.

Smt. Jubanylla Bang, Head HR & Products, Zizira Explorers, shared Zizira’s entrepreneurial journey over the years, gave insights of their primary learnings, and made the entrepreneurs aware of some of the common mistakes that they committed in their initial days. Zizira, one of the successful startups of the state, is a unique platform where you get all-natural and organic food products right from the lap of Meghalaya. Zizira’s mission is to uplift the potential of farmers and farming in Meghalaya and bring a difference by making farmers famous.

Shri. Mark Laitflang Stone, Founder and CEO, AVENUES, which is North East India’s pioneering life coaching and personal excellence training social enterprise, shared his success story and elaborated on how entrepreneurship was a long shot for him. While guiding the entrepreneurs, he said, “Your team has to be able to quickly adapt to changes. Learning mindset is the skill that you need to excel.” Dr. Julian Oscar Dhar, Director, Marketing & Development, MLCU, Shillong, emphasized the importance of considering entrepreneurship as a career option and backed his thought with empirical evidence. He also mentioned how entrepreneurship is a crucial component for developing the economy and society of the state.