Meghalaya, nestled in the verdant hills of the Northeast, is experiencing a surge in entrepreneurial spirit. Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, himself an entrepreneur, is driving this movement through ambitious initiatives and a focus on empowering youth, women, and local communities. In an exclusive interview with YourStory, Sangma sheds light on Meghalaya’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, its unique strengths, and aspirations for the future.

From Recognition to Ambition: Building on Momentum

Meghalaya has earned national recognition for its thriving startup ecosystem, bagging the “Top Performer State” title at the National Startup Awards for two consecutive years. However, Sangma remains grounded, acknowledging the need to capitalize on the existing momentum and “up the ante” to achieve even greater heights. He emphasizes the critical initial phase of fostering belief and momentum, which has now laid the foundation for further growth.

Women as Entrepreneurial Pillars: Leveraging a Matrilineal Society

Meghalaya boasts a significant number of women entrepreneurs, reflecting its strong matrilineal social structure. The state champions a multi-pronged approach to encourage women’s participation, catering to various levels of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. From grassroots self-help groups to tech-driven ventures, women are actively leading the charge in diverse sectors. Sangma highlights the success story of 15 women’s SHGs in Jaintia Hills who established solar-powered turmeric processing units, showcasing the impact of targeted initiatives.

Homegrown Talent, Local Solutions: Retaining Youthful Potential

Sangma expresses optimism that the rising entrepreneurial wave is inspiring Meghalaya’s youth to seek opportunities within the state instead of migrating for employment. He acknowledges the need to dispel the illusion of greener pastures outside and showcase the abundant possibilities within Meghalaya. The government’s aggressive funding schemes, offering up to 75% subsidy on large projects, aim to incentivize young minds to explore their entrepreneurial dreams locally. He envisions a future where Meghalaya thrives with homegrown companies dominating sectors like tourism, food processing, music, and filmmaking.

Seeking Collaboration: A Call to the National Startup Ecosystem

While the government plays a crucial role in providing infrastructure and policy support, Sangma recognizes the importance of collaboration with the broader national startup ecosystem. He invites investors, technology partners, and established startups to contribute their expertise and resources. He emphasizes focused efforts on specific sectors where collaboration can have a significant impact, fostering knowledge sharing, product purchases, and overall ecosystem growth.

Looking Ahead: A Collective Journey Towards Success

The entrepreneurial journey in Meghalaya is at an exciting turning point. Driven by Chief Minister Sangma’s vision and strategic initiatives, the state is nurturing a vibrant ecosystem that empowers all sections of society. Collaboration with the national startup community holds immense potential to accelerate this progress. As Sangma aptly concludes, “The entire community from all over the country can add value… The entrepreneurs and banks are doing their work, and I’m sure the results will be much bigger.”

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Rishi Malhotra, an adept editor at Atom News, specializes in travel and cultural affairs. With a global perspective and a flair for storytelling, Malhotra brings diverse perspectives to our readers, making Atom News a go-to source for enriching travel narratives.