Prime Enterprenuership Awards 2021
On 19th February 2021, the Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBMA) and the IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP) organized the PRIME (Promotion and Incubation of Market-driven Enterprises) Entrepreneurship Awards 2021 at the State Convention Centre, Shillong to celebrate entrepreneurship and to spotlight the State’s most inspiring entrepreneurs for their stand-out achievements and role in enterprise development in Meghalaya. Shri. Conrad K. Sangma, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Meghalaya, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
Dr. Vijay Kumar D., IAS, Commissioner and Secretary, Planning Department, Government of Meghalaya, and CEO MBMA
Dr. Vijay Kumar D., IAS, Commissioner and Secretary, Planning Department, Government of Meghalaya, and CEO MBMA stated that PRIME is a brand created to promote entrepreneurship and to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the State. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic impeding activities, progress was made in several key areas since the inception of the initiative.
Dr. Kumar explained that PRIME was launched on 2nd January 2020 to make entrepreneurship the preferred career choice for youths of the State. The initiative ensures easier access to credit, technology, skilling, and mentoring support that is centered on a linkage to markets. The mission of PRIME is to provide systematic and targeted support to aspiring entrepreneurs via the creation of a network of PRIME Hubs across the State. The focused program component includes providing incubation support and access to credit, creating support through the PRIME Fund, setting up PRIME Hubs, and reaching out to rural areas to identify entrepreneurs.
He stated that the Government has been facilitating support to up-and-coming entrepreneurs and referenced the Chief Minister’s e-Championship Challenge, a novel way of identifying entrepreneurs through an open challenge. The 2020 edition witnessed over 700 applications of which the top 100 entrepreneurs were chosen for support. Further, he presented the Chief Minister’s Entrepreneur of the Month programme which was initiated in November 2018, wherein an entrepreneur is selected monthly for support, mentoring and skills up-gradation, etc. About 15 entrepreneurs were selected through this intervention.
The Kick Start Fund
Dr. Kumar stated that the Kick Start Fund will provide support funding of up to Rs. 5 lakhs and will be awarded to a promising business idea. If the business shows potential for productive and sustainable growth, a scale-up innovation loan of Rs. 25 lakhs will be further provided.
He informed that the first PRIME Hub created in a rural area was in Songsak, East Garo Hills, and added that presently, identification of entrepreneurs from rural areas is being carried out in 29 blocks, and 13 value chains have been identified. While 2020-21 has been a prototype phase, Dr. Kumar mentioned that 2021-22 would be a scaling-up phase, and would include the second round for the search of entrepreneurs under the Chief Minister’s e- Championship Challenge 2.0. This financial year, at least 15 PRIME Hubs will be created and another 30 will be set up by 2022.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Kumar informed that under the Kick Start Grant and Scale-up Grant support mechanisms, the target of identifying entrepreneurs is ambitious but achievable- 15,000 people and 1000 people respectively. The process of identification will be determined on a merit basis.
Dr. Vijay Kumar D. stated that the Ateliers Meghalaya programme was initiated through the Tourism Department to support craft entrepreneurship and to ensure that the State’s creative enterprises have a place in big niche markets. He stated that the goal is to make the process simple – to sell these products in studios and allow tourists to experience the state’s artistic inventions personally.
Dr. Kumar informed that a Meghalayan Age Store will be set up in Connaught Place, New Delhi to showcase the innovative and diverse art and culture of the State. Further, opportunities will be provided to all the Ateliers to showcase their products at the store. Similar stores may then be set up in Mumbai and Hyderabad. Grassroots ateliers can approach the studio to be trained so that they can in turn train others.
Shri. Conrad K. Sangma, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Meghalaya
Shri. Conrad K. Sangma congratulated the PRIME Entrepreneurship Awardees and thanked MBMA and the team from PRIME for organizing the programme, adding that he is a strong believer in entrepreneurship and remains a big proponent of its importance and value to the State. While explaining the need for nurturing entrepreneurs in the State, Shri Sangma stated that every year, about 50,000 youths are primed to join the workforce in Meghalaya. Therefore, it becomes imperative that the state has a structured system in place to cater to the large demand for jobs. This number will only increase in the coming years. And since there are limitations of jobs in the formal sector, entrepreneurship is the avenue that can fill the gap.
THE CM’S 5Ps OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
- The Purpose, the aim must be purpose-driven;
- The Passion, which should drive the purpose;
- The People, who will provide support in the purpose with passion;
- The Position, which should not hinder the passion or dominate the people; and
- The Paisa, which would only be generated if the purpose is met.
Shri Sangma stated that Meghalaya has an economy of roughly 4 billion dollars and a total population of about 38 lakh people. Comparing it with Iceland, which only has 3 lakh people and an economy of 90 billion dollars, Meghalaya has to improve its level of productivity. And while the government can provide the proper ecosystems, the onus is on the entrepreneurs to multiply the impact and assist with developing the present economic condition. He stressed that entrepreneurship is about adding value to what already exists. This can be done with better packaging, innovative marketing techniques, and quality of presentation.
Shri Sangma stated that the culture of entrepreneurship will reflect in different aspects consisting of artisans, musicians, sportsmen, etc. and will spread into different sectors. He informed that there will be programmes to award one sports person monthly as recognition for hard work. Further, there will also be a monthly Chief Minister’s Music Award.
On banks and credit, Shri Sangma stated that banks need to get better at customer service and be more adaptable. He thanked the North East Small Finance Bank (NESFB) for its role in providing credit and loans to aspiring entrepreneurs. He urged other banks to follow their example and is hopeful that new MoUs will be signed in the near future. In his concluding remarks, Shri Sangma informed that a corpus fund of Rs. 125 Cr will be available as part of the entrepreneurship PRIME fund for the next two years. This fund will enable a complete transformation in the economy of Meghalaya and will augment a potentially robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state.