From Matrilineal Traditions to Entrepreneurial Power: The Story of Meghalaya

– Meghalaya’s Surging Startup Scene: Charting the Path to Success

New Delhi, February 2023: The state of Meghalaya is known for its diverse resources such as tourism, agriculture, floriculture, handicrafts, and handlooms. The state has made significant progress in the startup ecosystem due to well-planned initiatives and allocation of resources to support its people’s entrepreneurial potential. The PRIME (Promotion and Incubation of Market-Driven Enterprises) initiative, established by the State Government, has played a crucial role in nurturing startups and creating a favorable environment for businesses to thrive. The objective of PRIME is to establish a dynamic and collaborative ecosystem that provides access to credit, technology, and markets.

As part of the PRIME initiative, the government has extended funding support worth Rs. 6 crores to over 210 startups. This support includes a Kickstarter grant of up to Rs 5 lakh each for 17 entrepreneurs, Scaleup Innovation Loans of up to Rs. 25 lakhs for 12 entrepreneurs, and 0% interest loans of up to Rs. 25 lakhs for 74 entrepreneurs. The government has also provided financial support to 22 workshops to benefit the upcoming generation of entrepreneurs.

Most of the businesses that have benefited from PRIME are focused on handicrafts, conservation, local produce, and education, which in turn supports the local economy and promotes socio-economic development. Entrepreneurs in Meghalaya are using the state’s unique culture and ecology to create new markets. The government’s efforts to facilitate smooth and timely decision-making on statutory compliance, provide seamless access to incentives, and support technology have generated increased interest in entrepreneurship among the youth. In recent years, these entrepreneurs have created employment for over 3000 people and have brought about increased income for local communities.

Meghalaya has a matrilineal culture, which is rare in the world, where women play a leading role. This is evident in the state’s support for female entrepreneurs, with women-led startups having a valuation of over INR 10 crores. 20% of the funds allocated to the PRIME Kickstart Grant and the PRIME Innovation Scaleup Loan are reserved for women-led startups. An example of a successful Meghalayan business that combines culture, resources, and entrepreneurship is Eri Weave, a female-led company that preserves the tradition of Eri silk.

In Meghalaya, there are over 40 startups that have mentors and over 60 registered startups. There are also over 50 state-supported and private incubators, as well as over 20 grassroots startups. 10% of the funds for the PRIME Kickstart Grant and the PRIME Innovation Scaleup Loan are reserved for grassroots innovators. Through skill-based training and industry-specific incubators, businesses have been able to create unique products and strategies. The youth of the state have also gained valuable experience and feedback through training programs during various phases of the startup process. The state government has taken proactive measures to bridge infrastructural gaps, including initiatives like “From Idea to Execution” to enhance higher education institutions.

The state government is looking ahead by incorporating a Garo language option in the State Startup Portal to increase access to more startups and aspiring entrepreneurs as they embark on the journey of economic growth. To cater to the needs of the youth, more virtual entrepreneurship sessions will be held due to the successful response received from previous student-centered knowledge sessions. The state is also working towards forming policies that support the growth of cutting-edge technologies such as IoT, AI, robotics, machine learning, and blockchain. Both the central and state governments aim to make India a self-reliant $5 trillion economy and believe that a thriving startup culture is the key to achieving this goal.

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