Chief Minister, Conrad K. Sangma today attended the PRIME Entrepreneurship Awards with officials of MBMA, North East Small Finance Bank, SBI, entrepreneurs and artisans of Meghalaya.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister lauded the efforts of MBMA and stated “It feels great to see the sector that was left neglected for a long time being given the attention it requires to prosper”.
“I am happy to witness our artisans and entrepreneurs getting the opportunities and the much-needed handholding through the Ateliers Programme and the PRIME Meghalaya initiative”, he added.
Chief Minister announced that a corpus fund of ₹125 Cr will be constituted over the next 2 years as PRIME Fund to aid the efforts of the entrepreneurs of Meghalaya.
On the need to create value for products of Meghalaya, CM asserted that, “It is important to package, market the story and present the products of our entrepreneurs and artisans, so we can create value out of their products”.
He also believes that through the initiatives of the Government, the entrepreneurship culture can spread to all different sectors to encourage the talented and enterprising people of Meghalaya. He thanked the banks for their support and urged them to continue their support to the entrepreneurs of the State. Further, the Chief Minister announced that the Government will introduce the ‘Chief Minister’s Music Award’ on a monthly basis to award musicians of the State.
Dr. D. Vijay Kumar, CEO of MBMA stated that it is the venture of the Meghalaya Government through PRIME Meghalaya to make entrepreneurship a preferred career choice for young people through the creation of an ecosystem that enables easy availability of credit, technology, skilling, and mentoring support, and access to markets.
“Our Mission is to provide systematic and targeted approach through a network of Prime Hubs that will be a one-stop-shop for the different segments of entrepreneurship in the State”. He added that the programme is also reaching out to entrepreneurs in rural areas.
Speaking about the Ateliers Meghalaya initiative, he said, “Indigenous crafts of Meghalaya are under-marketed, there is inadequate handholding of artists and artisans”. It is important to preserve the unique crafts and traditions of Meghalaya. He stated that a tourism store will be set up in Delhi to brand the State and a model is being worked on where Ateliers supply their products and crafts to the Delhi store.
He further stated that the way forward will be the launch of the ‘Chief Minister’s e-Championship Challenge 2.0’, upscaling of the PRIME Rural Program and the set up of 15 PRIME Hubs by 2021 and another 30 by 2022.
To give access to credit, the PRIME Fund will provide a kick-start grant of Rs. 5 Lakhs, Scale Up Innovation Loans of up to 25 Lakhs. In the Food Processing Sector, in collaboration with NESFB, 0% interest loans, subsidized by the Government will be available for up to 10 Lakhs to support enterprises and entrepreneurs in the sector. Over 570 registrations were made with 280 profiles reviewed and over 40 loans have been approved to date.
With the support of the IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP), incubation support is being extended to entrepreneurs including capacity building and training programmes, co-working spaces, funding, and market access and visibility. CEO of IIMCIP, Dr. Subhrangshu Sanyal praised the commitment of the Chief Minister by saying “CM has set the vision to create the culture of job takers and not job seekers”. Dr. Sanyal also said that he is happy to witness the passion of the entrepreneurs of the State that even the pandemic could not stop them to continue their work. “They used their skillsets to develop products such as masks, sanitizers, curtains for hospitals needed during the pandemic”. He also mentioned that 12 Entrepreneurs have doubled their incomes and 50 were connected to markets.
In the programme, Awardees for the PRIME ID, Interest-Free Loans, MUDRA Loan Grant/Subsidy Recipients and Ateliers Meghalaya were felicitated. The ‘Chief Minister’s e-Championship Challenge 2.0 and websites for the MBMA and PRIME were also launched in the event.