01 Mar Glimpse of the North East India Roadshows
The North East of India, comprising eight adjoining states, has the presence of abundant natural resources in the form of fertile lands, vast forest cover and rich mineral deposits. However, the region’s vast potential has been underutilized for business, primarily in the agriculture and tourism sectors. Also, the area faces multiple challenges like lack of infrastructure, poor connectivity, unemployment, ethnic conflict and insurgencies.
There is a strategic advantage to these states in North East India. The region shares the border with Bhutan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar which could be a potential trade and business opportunity. The Government’s ‘Look East, Act East’ policy aims to create a gateway to access two key markets: South Asia and South East Asia.
While there is an entrepreneurial presence, many suffer due to lack of mentorship and support to incubate and accelerate their business. To energize the ecosystem, as a first step, awareness and initiatives to nurture the entrepreneurial mindset in the region is needed. This would require both, the Government and the private sector to collaborate and work together to tackle the challenges of the region.
Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has called the North East region as the new “Start-up” destination. Infrastructure development like new airports at Pakyong in Sikkim, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and Shillong in Meghalaya, along with broad gauge rail track will help boost business in the region. Also, the North East Promotion Policy by the Government of India offers special budgetary support to industry in the region.
An example of a recent initiative is the North East Accelerator program, by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India in association with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park. The Program is being implemented in partnership with Ennovent, a catalyst for business innovations focused on sustainability, and Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India. The program aims to develop, nurture and support entrepreneurship in the North East region. Also, it will provide mentoring, training, investment readiness, networking and scale-up support to innovations from the region. Roadshows in each state in the North East region helped to identify the entrepreneurs and understand the entrepreneurial situation in the state.
The initiative received 1068 applications from across the eight states and across different sectors including tourism, agriculture, handicrafts, travel and IT. Through personalized coaching and 1-to-1 training support, the program will help the businesses scale-up to grow in the region and beyond.
The need of the hour is to create initiatives and models relevant to each of the eight North Eastern states. To jointly work to energize the ecosystem in North East India and enable the local entrepreneurs to reach new, emerging markets by creating sustainable, long-term solutions.
More information about the North East Accelerator program could be found at www.iimcip.org/neap
If you would like to support (mentor, coach, invest) the initiative or would like to explore opportunities to work together to develop, nurture or support the ecosystem in the North East please write to Ms Aditi Chawla at email@example.com.