In a first of its kind initiative in Meghalaya, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma launched the Chief Minister's E-Champion Challenge on August 14, 2019 with an aim to create an ecosystem where people with workable ideas can walk into an enterprise facilitation center or an incubator and get all the handholding support needed to navigate the complex web of markets, technology and credit. It must be mentioned that the youth population of Meghalaya is much higher than other states of India- About 12 lakh individuals in the state are in the age group of 15-29. Entrepreneurship is the only way to engage the talent and energy of this large young population.
In view of this, the Chief Minister's E-Champion Challenge is the first step in systematically choosing the first batch of E-champs, who will be the vanguard for the enterprise ecosystem development. The Chief Minister’s E-Champion Challenge will be a regular event and more E-champs will be selected and nurtured in the years to come. The programme is being headed by Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE) in association with Indian Institute of Management- Calcutta Innovation Park (IIM-CIP) and Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA).
Phase I of the programme kick started with the launch of Meghalaya Chief Minister's E-Champion Challenge on August 14, 2019 after which sensitization programmes were conducted in all districts of the state. The programme was led by Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE) in partnership with Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA) and Indian Institute of Management- Calcutta Innovation Park (IIM-CIP). The sensitization programme was conducted with the staff members of Enterprise Facilitation Centres (EFCs), District Industries Centres (DICs) and Common Service Centres (CSCs) to identify and encourage potential entrepreneurs from all districts of the state to make the most of this opportunity by the state government.
This phase also included field visit to Assam start up situated in Guwahati. Taking cues from this, similar incubation centres will be set up in Tura and Shillong in Meghalaya to provide handholding support to the selected entrepreneurs from among all applicants who have registered for participation in Chief Minister's E-Champion Challenge Programme.
Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE) along with Indian Institute of Management- Calcutta Innovation Park (IIM-CIP) and Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA) began the sensitization process to spread awareness to the masses about Chief Minister’s E-Champion Challenge as well as to provide clarity on steps to apply for the same. The last date of applying for the challenge was set at September 30, 2019.
October 4th, 2019 marked the end of Phase I of Meghalaya Chief Minister's E-Champion Challenge Programme. This phase included sensitization programmes in all districts of Meghalaya including field visits to the Assam start up incubation centre as well as awareness programmes in some universities in Meghalaya in order to identify entrepreneurs from various parts of the state.
Assam Start up - The Nest
The programmes in all districts of the state witnessed active question and answer sessions from the participants and also gave them a platform to put forward their suggestions for the programme. It may be recalled that The Chief Minister’s E-Champion Challenge has been launched with an aim to develop a conducive “Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” in the State. The Challenge is the first critical step in order to kick start large scale and long term enterprise incubation strategy by the Government of Meghalaya.
The last orientation programme for Meghalaya Chief Minister's E-Champion Challenge concluded in Tura on September 19 in the presence of staff members of Enterprise Facilitation Centres (EFCs), District Industries Centres (DICs) and Common Service Centres (CSCs) from all districts of Garo Hills. The programme was chaired by MIE directors Shri. Barnari Mawlong (Shillong), Shri. Dikki D. Shira (Tura), Shri. C. N. Sangma, ADC and PD, DRDA, Tura, Mrs.Jacquelyne Swer from IIM-CIP as well as the MBDA staff members from Shillong and Tura respectively.
ORIENTATION PROGRAMME IN TURA
The 6th orientation programme was conducted by MIE in ssociation with MBDA and IIM-CIP at Mawkyrwat, South West Khasi Hills District in the presence of Deputy Commissioner, Miss Isawanda Laloo. The programme was chaired by Shri. Barnari Mawlong, Director, MIE, Mrs. Jacquelyne Swer from IIM-CIP along with staff members of MBDA from Shillong.
The DC spoke at length about the various untapped talents in the district and how a programme like the Chief Minister’s E-Champion Challenge is a great opportunity for people to become self-employed while also creating employment opportunities for others.
ORIENTATION PROGRAMME IN MAWKYRWAT
Emphasising on the role of EFCs, DICs and CSCs, the DC said, “This is the core team that will be spear heading, motivating and creating the environment for the programme to take off. People should be made to realize that they are not just the beneficiaries but also equal partners in this venture. We have people with tons of ideas ranging from dentistry to setting up of a bakery. But the problem that we witness here is that although there is a market for all these services and products, the element of handholding on a long term basis of these partners is missing. Hence a programme such as the Chief Minister’s E-Champion Challenge is the need of the hour in the state as a whole and especially in the districts as rural as South West Khasi Hills where the idea of entrepreneurship is still at a very nascent stage”.
She also added, “We have a lot of people coming to us asking for assistance to set up enterprises and this is an opportunity for them and they should make the most of this programme. Business should be made a conversation point at this hour and this programme can actually make this happen”.
The DC also suggested that the programme should create a level playing field for the rural districts as it is often seen that urban towns and cities are often at an advantage in a programme of this caliber.
The 5th orientation session of the Chief Minister’s E-Champion Challenge programme took place at Nongstoin in West Khasi Hills District in the presence of Enterprise Facilitation Centre (EFCs), District Industries Centre (DICs) and Common Service Centre (CSCs) staff members.
ORIENTATION PROGRAMME IN NONGSTOIN
The programme was chaired by Shri. Barnari Mawlong, Director, MIE, Mrs. Jacquelyne Swer from IIM-CIP along with staff members of MBDA from Shillong.
The 3rd and 4th sensitization programmes for Chief Minister's E-Champion Challenge were held at Jowai in West Jaintia Hills and Khliehriat in East Jaintia Hills districts respectively. The sessions were presided over by Additional Deputy Commissioner, West Jaintia Hills, Smt. R.S Manners and Deputy Commissioner, East Jaintia Hills, Shri. Federick M. Dopth.
ORIENTATION PROGRAMME IN JOWAI
ADC, West Jaintia Hills District, Smt. R.S Manners urged people of her district to apply for Chief Minister’s E-Champion Challenge while citing the success story of recognition of Lakadong Turmeric which is indigenous to the district and how it has now gained worldwide recognition due to proper marketing and recognition of viable resource.
ORIENTATION PROGRAMME IN KHLIEHRIAT
While addressing the orientation programme in East Jaintia Hills District, DC Shri. Federick M. Dopth appreciated the Chief Minister’s initiative to facilitate up and coming entrepreneurs in the state while hoping that entrepreneurs from the district would be able to make the most of this challenge.
The 2nd orientation session for Chief Minister's E-Champion Challenge took place at Nongpoh in Ri Bhoi District of Meghalaya in the presence of Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ri Bhoi District, Shri D. P Kharsati. The programme was chaired by Shri. Barnari Mawlong, Director, MIE, Mrs. Jacquelyne Swer from IIM-CIP along with staff members of MBDA from Shillong.
ORIENTATION PROGRAMME IN NONGPOH
While addressing the staff members of EFCs, DICs and CSCs, the ADC threw light on the talent pool available in Ri Bhoi district in terms of entrepreneurship and urged them to help in identifying this talent and helping them to make the most of this chance by the state government.
The 1st orientation programme for Chief Minister's E-Champion Challenge Programme was conducted in State Central Library, Shillong on August 23rd in the presence of Additional Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills District, Smt. Iadashisha Majaw. The programme witnessed the participation of more than 50 people.
The ADC, East Khasi Hills District urged the youth to make the most of this opportunity by the state government while citing examples of various people who with their creativity and determination have now been able to not only establish an enterprise but also support their family.
ORIENTATION PROGRAMME IN SHILLONG
She said, “This is a golden opportunity for the people of the state and they should make the most of this programme. You cannot stand on your own feet unless you are financially stable. There is plenty of work to do if one is mindful enough to observe their surroundings. There is no excuse for staying unemployed”.