Exploring New Avenues: Women Entrepreneurship in Meghalaya

In the bustling streets of Shillong, tucked away from the main thoroughfare, lies the showroom of Candid Shoes, a designer shoe brand founded by Andrina Thabah, one of the beneficiaries of Meghalaya’s Promotion and Incubation of Market Driven Enterprises (PRIME) program. This initiative has empowered women across Meghalaya to venture into various forms of entrepreneurship, ranging from shoe-making, candle crafting, turmeric processing, silk weaving to digital marketing endeavors. In this matrilineal state, where women constitute 60% of the entrepreneurial landscape, initiatives like PRIME have played a pivotal role in fostering entrepreneurship among women, especially in rural areas.

The PRIME Initiative: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

Launched in 2019, the PRIME program provides comprehensive support to entrepreneurs, including incubation, mentorship, training, funding access, and networking opportunities. Meghalaya’s approach to entrepreneurship is multi-faceted, focusing on innovation, value addition, and grassroots entrepreneurship programs. This holistic strategy has led to a surge in women-led enterprises across the state. For instance, in Laskein Block, Jaintia Hills, PRIME has funded 15 women’s self-help groups to establish solar-powered turmeric processing units, contributing to the global recognition of Lakadong turmeric for its high curcumin content.

Entrepreneurial Endeavors Across Meghalaya

The entrepreneurial landscape of Meghalaya is as diverse as its culture. From the digital marketing prowess of Digital Fuel, a leading agency founded by Mansha Sharma and Pinak Deb, to the craftsmanship of Andrina Thabah’s Candid Shoes, women entrepreneurs are leaving their mark across various sectors. Thabah’s journey from coordinating outfits with shoes to founding Candid Shoes showcases the blend of passion and business acumen driving women entrepreneurship in Meghalaya.

Weaving Success: From Textiles to Sustainable Fashion

Ibalarihun Malai’s journey from the corporate sector to founding Kinihoboutique studio reflects the growing trend of sustainable fashion entrepreneurship in Meghalaya. By leveraging Eri silk, also known as Ahimsa silk, Malai has not only revived traditional weaving practices but also expanded the market for Meghalaya’s indigenous fabrics. Her studio offers a range of garments and accessories, including the traditional jainsen, catering to both local and global clientele.

Merisha Toi’s transition from a cabin crew member to a scented candle entrepreneur exemplifies the resilience and adaptability of Meghalaya’s women entrepreneurs. Despite facing challenges during the pandemic, Toi capitalized on her passion for scented candles to establish 24 Degrees Scented Candles. Through Instagram marketing and innovative product designs, she has carved a niche for her brand in the competitive market.

Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Business Growth

For many women entrepreneurs in Meghalaya, social media platforms like Instagram have become indispensable tools for promoting their products and connecting with customers. From showcasing new arrivals to engaging with followers, platforms like Instagram have enabled entrepreneurs like Thabah and Toi to expand their reach and grow their businesses exponentially.

Support and Scaling: Nurturing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

The success of women entrepreneurs in Meghalaya is not just a result of individual efforts but also of supportive ecosystems like PRIME. Through grants, mentorship, and networking opportunities, initiatives like PRIME have catalyzed the growth of women-led enterprises across the state. Aditya Sen, Project Head of PRIME, attributes this success to the talent, ambition, and resilience of Meghalaya’s women entrepreneurs.

While the entrepreneurial landscape in Meghalaya is thriving, challenges such as balancing business and family responsibilities persist. However, women entrepreneurs like Andrina Thabah remain undeterred, constantly innovating and striving for success. As Meghalaya continues to nurture its entrepreneurial ecosystem, the future looks promising for women entrepreneurs seeking to carve their niche in diverse industries.

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Pooja Patel, an accomplished editor with a focus on finance and market trends, contributes to Atom News with a dedication to providing insightful and accurate business news. Pooja's analytical approach adds depth to our coverage, keeping our audience well-informed.