AIC – SMU Technology Business Incubator hosted the First “North East Entrepreneurs Dialogue (NEED 1.0) : Accelerating the Startup Growth Engine” in collaboration with Startup India, DPIIT and Commerce & Industries Department, Government of Sikkim at the SMIT Campus, Majitar on 18th February, 2023.
The event was graced by the presence of Hon’ble Union Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Textiles, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Aditya Tamang, MLA, Soreng-ChakhungGoS; Shri Karma R. Bangpo (IAS), Secretary, Dept. of Commerce and Industries GoS, and Lt. Gen. (Dr) Rajan S Grewal, Vice Chancellor SMU.
North East Entrepreneurs Dialogue (N.E.E.D) was envisioned to create a dialogue between the Government and Entrepreneurs of all the States of North East India to discuss the issues, challenges and the ways to mitigate them. This will also serve as common platform for all the startup founders of the region to come together and share their journey and experiences in building their venture. The government in turn can make this as a way forward to percolate the policy details and supports that are in the pipeline to the grassroot entrepreneurs in the farthest corners of the country in the eastern region.
The event was attended by startups from all the states ofNorth East India, Odissa, Tamil Nadu and Delhi and many dignitaries and officials and representatives from Startup India, DPIIT and the Government of Sikkim, Government of Manipur.
Some of the key activities of the programs were Founders Husstle where co-founders had dialogues amongst peers and help each other to build synergies and also work together towards their growth trajectories, One-on-One Mentor Sessions, Expert Talks sessions etc.
The key highlight of the program was the personal interaction session with Hon’ble Union Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal, with the startup founders on the challenges especially in areas of applications of A.I. in the industry, EV vehicle parking in public spaces such as railway station and airports, the forthcoming opportunities in the North East in the field of bamboo etc. The session was also moderated by one of the Startup Founder Yougan Tamang of Yonika Infotainment Pvt Ltd.
The Hon’ble Minister in his address also highlighted the importance of preserving the pristine status of Sikkim and North East India and focusing on the USP of Sikkim as a high value tourism destination. Decreasing transportation and logistics cost to benefit local producers to advance beyond the boundaries of the state. Shri Piyush Goyal particularly mentioned that India should strive to make world class products where good quality isn’t restricted only to exports. According to him every single consumer in the country should get access to quality goods. To the masses of Sikkim, he requested not to let the status of Sikkim as 100% organic state go down, and he hopes that 8 crores worth of yearly revenues from the organic products would go up to 800 crores over the years.
The startups incubated at AIC-SMUTBI also got the opportunity to showcase their products which was immensely appreciated by the Ho’ble Minister. Some of the startups that demonstrated their products are Cas Collective, TurukGarden, Akumen AI, Encamp Adventures, Nibiaa Devices, Turbit Virtual Reality among others.
Dr Tej Chingtham, CEO-AIC-SMUTBI in his address, expressed the need for a platform like NEED as the need of the hour in North East India and also make this an Annual or a Semi-Annual dialogue as this platform can act as a two-way conduit for the entrepreneurs and the Government an open a direct communication channel.