Shillong: The North Eastern Council, in collaboration with B-School Incubator IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, has launched a first-of-its-kind North East Entrepreneurship Development Programme (NEEDP) Friday at NEC Secretariat, Nongrim Hills in Shillong. Deemed as a pioneering initiative encompassing beneficiaries from all the 8 states of the region, the initiative envisages to identify and empower 270 promising entrepreneurs from North East India with well-laid incubation and pre-incubation programs.
The program was inaugurated by Smt. R. Lalrodingi, Advisor, BIT, NEC in the presence of Secretary, North Eastern Council, Shri K. Moses Chalai, IAS. The event witnessed the presence of top officials from North Eastern Council. Representatives from IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, Mr. Pranjal Konwar, COO, IIMCIP, Mr. Rajarshi Sarma, Program Head, NEEDP & Flo Oberhofer. Program Head, Prime Hub Meghalaya were also present in the inauguration event.
Addressing the gathering, the Secretary, North Eastern Council, Shri K. Moses Chalai, IAS, mentioned about the importance of infusing innovation & technology in Startups & Small businesses to scale it up to a higher level. Also, he showed high degree of optimism in creating highly successful startups, including unicorns from North East India.
The first phase of the initiative, the NE Entrepreneurship Challenge (Hunt) was also formally launched during the inauguration ceremony. The Hunt is a combination of multiple initiatives aimed at identifying top 270 startup ideas from the region. It would culminate with a Reward and Recognition Summit, wherein the 270 selected startups will be awarded with cash prizes, certificates and enrollment into the Incubation and Pre-Incubation programs. Startups can participate in the Hunt on https://www.iimcip.com/needp/.
The Pre-Incubation program will groom 150 idea/prototype stage startups towards enabling them to structure an initial business plan with all the key components of a viable and sustainable venture. They will also be awarded a prototype grant of Rs. 1 lakh each, with an additional Rs. 4 lakhs for top 25 performers by the end of the preincubation program.
The Incubation program will be run in parallel lines for 120 startups having a Proof of Concept or early revenue. The program is aimed at consolidating the startups’ knowledge of the business nuances towards helping them commercialize/scale up their ventures. These startups will be awarded Rs. 3 lakhs each as commercialization grant, with an additional Rs. 7 lakhs for top 20 performers at the end of the program.
The buzz around startup entrepreneurship has slowly but certainly gripped the region over the last five years. The region has woken up to the enormous prospects of entrepreneurship that could resolve a gamut of problems, including unemployment and lack of national exposure to the local culture and resources. While a number of entrepreneurship development initiatives have been introduced state-wise by the respective state governments, this is for the first time that a big-scale program has been launched for entrepreneurs from the entire Northeastern region.
Given the scale and coverage of the initiative, the North East Entrepreneurship Development Programme is expected to create a far-reaching impact in terms of spurring the rise of a new breed of first generation entrepreneurs and consolidating the overall entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region
IIM Calcutta Innovation Park