Conrad Sangma

Shillong: Meghalaya has won the ‘Best Performer’ award in the National Startup Rankings-2021, officials said.

Besides Meghalaya, Gujarat and Karnataka have also been selected in this category for the award.

The results of the 3rd edition of ranking of states on support to the start-up ecosystem were released on Monday by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in a ceremony in New Delhi.

A total of 24 states and seven Union Territories participated in the exercise with seven reform areas and 26 action points.

The states were categorised in five groups – Best Performers, Top Performers, Leaders, Aspiring Leaders and Emerging Startup Ecosystem.

On the recognition to Meghalaya, a state Planning Department official said that the state government had launched the PRIME (Promotion and Incubation of Market Driven Enterprises) programme in January 2020 to give a concerted push to the creation of an ecosystem for the promotion of entrepreneurship in the state.

He said that the programme is an embodiment of Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma’s vision of providing a platform and opportunities to entrepreneurs and making entrepreneurship the preferred choice of livelihood in the state.

As part of the programme, 100 aspiring entrepreneurs are selected via an annual open Chief Minister’s e-Championship Challenge.

Once onboarded, they are provided with mentorship, incubation and infrastructural/logistics support through a network of PRIME hubs.

Taking cognisance of the fact that accessing formal financial services still remains a challenge in the state, various funding windows have been incorporated under the programme to help the entrepreneurs in accessing seed capital alongside credit/loans.

As part of the funding initiative, grants upto Rs 5 lakh are provided to select entrepreneurs for product development and R&D related activities.

Further, interest-free loans of up to Rs 25 lakh are also provided to entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses/operations.

Till date, over 210 entrepreneurs have secured funding from the programme and almost 1,300 entrepreneurs have benefitted from various other programme components such as accessing the co-working spaces and undergoing training.

Almost 60 per cent of the beneficiaries under the programme are female entrepreneurs, the official said.

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