Shillong (Meghalaya), July 4 :The results of the 3rd edition of ranking of states on support to the start-up ecosystem were released by Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry today at a felicitation ceremony in New Delhi.
A total of 24 states and 7 UTs participated in the exercise with 7 reform areas and 26 action points. The states were categorized in five groups – Best Performers, Top Performers, Leaders, Aspiring Leaders and Emerging Startup Ecosystem. Meghalaya was placed in the ‘Best Performers’ category along with the states of Gujarat and Karnataka.
This is a huge honour and recognition for the State and its entrepreneurs.
The State government had launched the PRIME (Promotion and Incubation of Market Driven Enterprises) program in January, 2020 to give a concerted push to the creation of an ecosystem for the promotion of entrepreneurship in the State. The program is also an embodiment of the Chief Minister’s vision of providing a platform and opportunities to entrepreneurs and making entrepreneurship the preferred choice of livelihood in the State.
As part of the program, 100 aspiring entrepreneurs are selected via an annual open competition – Chief Minister’s e-Championship Challenge. Once onboarded, they are provided with mentorship, incubation and infrastructural/logistics support through a network of PRIME hubs.
Taking cognizance of the fact that accessing formal financial services still remains a challenge in the State, various funding windows have been incorporated under the program to help the entrepreneurs in accessing seed capital alongside credit/loans.
As part of the funding initiative, grants up to Rs. 5 lakhs are provided to select entrepreneurs for product development and related activities. Further, interest free loans of up to Rs. 25 lakhs are also provided to entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses/operations.
Till date, over 210 entrepreneurs have secured funding from the program and almost 1,300 entrepreneurs have benefitted from various other program components such as accessing the co-working spaces and undergoing training programs. It is also a matter of great pride that almost 60% of the beneficiaries under the program have been female entrepreneurs.
It must also be noted that apart from creating livelihood opportunities in the State, these entrepreneurs are also solving many day-to-day problems by being socially and environmentally conscious. Some of the examples include ‘Eri Weave’ which has been founded by Ms. Iaishah Rymbai to preserve the legacy of Eri silk. Currently, incubated at PRIME hub, Shillong, ‘Eri Weave’ manufactures yarn, fabrics and products made from eri silk using the traditional, eco- friendly and natural process of dyeing. Another startup that has been founded by Ms. Seilydor Sohkhia and Bankitlang Nongbri called ‘Eco-Ri’ has taken up the responsibility to convert plastic waste into durable furniture and other household items. One more startup that deserves special mention is called ‘Managing Impact on Agriculture (M.I.A.)’. It has been founded by Albert Lyngdoh and it develops eco-friendly fencing to prevent floods, protect rivers, and to protect farmlands by preventing soil run-off. It is also engaged in large scale production of special bamboo for commercial uses and agriculture activities. M.I.A. has recently won the 1st Green Innovation Pitch Challenge, 2022 organized by NERAMAC (North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited).
The program has been a success on account of the collaborative efforts of the Commerce & Industries department that has been providing policy support and the Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBMA), Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE) and IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP) as the knowledge partner, which have been instrumental in the implementation of the program.
The program has also tied up with institutions such as Amazon India, Facebook/Meta, Invest India, Pernod Ricard India, NESFB and Sauramandala foundation as other partners.