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“Entrepreneurship in Meghalaya”

BY Samran Sing Syiem

Meghalaya has so much to offer; from natural resources to human resources, the state has it all. However, these resources and potentials are not being utilized and channelized in the right direction. A cursory look at the entrepreneurship sector in the state would find it ‘sluggish.’ Recently, I was going through the news and I came across a very disheartening report about the state of affairs vis-à-vis the entrepreneurship scenario in our state. The news report mentioned that our state ‘ranks last in ease of doing business in India.’

I must say that for an aspiring entrepreneur like myself, this report is de-motivating. It is something which is really sad and shameful to note that our state is featured among the top five least favoured destination for entrepreneurs. I think, we have to wait another decade or so to come up anywhere near the other states like Assam and Sikkim. I am writing this article not to criticize the activities of the government but to shed light and also lend a helping hand if called for by the government to raise the level of entrepreneurship in the state.

It is high time that our Government starts looking for ways to boost the entrepreneurship spirit or the start-up eco system in our state. I truly believe that this goal can be achieved as our very own CM is an entrepreneur himself. From his experience in the field of entrepreneurship he can also guide aspiring entrepreneurs like myself as he has had exposure to business in the country as well as outside the country. There are many ways to boost entrepreneurship in our state. But what I’ve seen and read is that most of the activities that assist in entrepreneurship are just loans and workshops. I will not say that these are not important for entrepreneurship, but they are not of prime importance. I will list down a few factors that can help the state in the area of entrepreneurship:

  1. Mentorship: As we can see, many of the aspiring or budding entrepreneurs in our state do give up on their dreams of building a scalable business after a few years; the main reason for this is because they do not have an industry expert or a mentor to guide and give them directions for the next step in their businesses. I strongly recommend to the State Government to start looking for reputed experts or mentors from the industry to guide and direct the young and budding entrepreneurs of our state. If you look at the history of all the successful businesses in the country or outside the country, you will find out why these businesses are able to thrive in highly competitive environment. It is because they have professionals from the industry or mentors to guide them. Being in the start-up hub of India (Bangalore) for two years I’ve observed and gathered from a few successful entrepreneurs that they have succeeded because of the insights provided to them by their mentors. 

Few examples of big or successful entrepreneurs and mentors: Microsoft founder Bill Gates had Warren Buffett as his mentor. Warren Buffett is one of the greatest investors of our time. The reason behind his success is because he had Benjamin Graham as his mentor. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook had Steve Jobs as his mentor and the list goes on and on.

  1. Investor: I’ve never heard of any company in our state that is being funded or invested by known investors. In other words this is the start- up funding stages. The State Government needs to invite investors to come and invest in the ideas of young and budding entrepreneurs of our state. The reason why entrepreneurs at their nascent or introductory stage should have an investor is because they are willing to invest in their business with some relaxation. And unlike  banks which only give us monetary assistance, investors will help entrepreneurs to find ways to succeed in their business.

  1. Connectivity: One of the reasons why many organisations or companies are not willing to invest in our state is poor connectivity and the time it takes to travel to Meghalaya. Time and again we the citizens of Meghalaya have complained at the modes of connectivity in our state. From roads, railways and airways, we only have roads that do not even have a 100% connectivity. In addition, the internet in the state is comparatively very slow as compared to other states in our country. And that is why we see most of the businesses in our state in the unorganised sector. If the government takes the initiative to increase the internet connectivity, the E-commerce business in our state will boost up at a rapid speed. But right now that prospect is quite dim as people do not have access to high speed internet.

The above 3 factors are just few of those many factors that will boost the entrepreneurship ecosystem in our state. I am positive that with proper approaches to the problems faced by the as a result of the economic condition of the state and under the leadership of our CM as well as help from the Government, there is possibility beyond imagination that will arise from the entrepreneurship scenario.

Now let us understand that meaning of entrepreneurship and who is an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is someone who sees a problem and finds innovative solution(s) to those problems and takes action to monetize the innovation.  As a result they create jobs; they generate  revenue; they boost the economy and ease the burden of all the stakeholders. I believe entrepreneurs are the change agents of society.

Why is entrepreneurship important in our state?  It is a known fact that many of our parents do not want their children to become entrepreneurs as it involves some degree of risk taking. They simply want us to get into the government sector or any high paying jobs outside the state. Let us also understand that with the increasing rate of population, graduates and unemployment there is very less chance of the youths getting into the government sector. Many of us don’t want to leave our home state but the truth is that the government cannot provide jobs to each and everyone in the state. We have to accept the reality and if we continue to force our youths to join the government sector it will eventually force many of them to take unwanted measures or unfair means to get become government employees.

Let’s discuss why entrepreneurship is important. As I’ve mentioned above, entrepreneurs are the change agents in society. They are the ones who can provide jobs and solutions to the pain points in the society. Let me also tell you one hard fact and that is that entrepreneurship is a calling. Not all are called to this profession. Now if one person answers to that call, he will provide approximately 50-100 jobs in the state. And if at least 100 people answer the call they will provide approximately 2500-10000 jobs. And if the business is grows with time I am sure that the above predictions will also increase with time.

This is not a clarion call to budding entrepreneurs. This is a wake- up call for our government to start taking initiatives to boost the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the state. 

(The writer is an aspiring entrepreneur)

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