North East Regional

Nestled in the mountains, the North Eastern Region (NER) of India is a treasure unleashed. Agriculture, handicraft and handloom primarily thrive, yet there’s much that can be done to lessen the day to day rigours in the lives of people of NER and to impart economic stability to them. The region abounds in resources that have the potential to render a progressive outlook. The Institute looked forward to assigning a developmental outlook to the region by undertaking meaningful interventions through its office in Guwahati.  For smooth functioning of various projects which span the entire North Eastern Region, project offices have been established at various locations. The Institute has sought to accelerate entrepreneurial growth through training, support services, linkages, technology and market development. Some of the successful models evolved to address specific issues of youth, potential entrepreneurs, existing entrepreneurs, women and the disadvantaged groups in the region include:

  • Addressing the issues of tough geographical terrain and power constraints.
  • Enhancing the skill level among people.
  • Cultivating spirit of achievement motivation among people
  • Shifting focus of some sectors such as; handloom and bamboo from traditional methods to contemporary processes.
  • Increasing technological awareness and the desire to achieve technological superiority.

EDII's initiatives in Northeastern India

 

Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDPs):  Training and counselling to ensure setting up of MSMEs has safeguarded the future of many a youth, thus ensuring sustainable livelihood options for the local unemployed youths. EDII-EDP model was evolved to relate with the local conditions and resources. The knowledge, skills and attitude thus gained by the trainees help them set up their own small businesses. While several EDPs were conducted to rehabilitate youths of the region; a special orientation, towards entrepreneurship, was given to ‘Science and Technology Background Students’ through EDPs focussing on Science &Technology (S&T) as also to women through specialized programmes to ensure that more and more women take steps as entrepreneurs.

The region also faces a major concern of integrating tribal youths into the mainstream. Lack of proper education and direction makes them vulnerable to not so worthy livelihood options. The North Eastern Regional office conducted entrepreneurship development programmes especially for tribal youths so that they could settle with their viable micro enterprises.

Promoting Enterprises in the Food Processing Sector: NER holds unlimited potential for development in the area of Food Processing. EDII intervened in all eight states of North East and its approach aimed at promoting, supporting, strengthening and revitalizing the food processing sector in the region. The NER office institutionalized an ED strategy for promoting MSMEs/SMEs in the sector which included conducting specialized EDPs and building capacities of development organizations to ensure sustainability of efforts. Special strata of society were also targeted, like; women, SC, ST and OBC sections.

In a landmark move, EDII signed an MoU with State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD), Meghalaya to train 10,000 potential entrepreneurs over a period of three years (2014-2017). The Institute, in association with SIRD, undertook a survey of local opportunities for enterprise creation. Based on this a master plan was readied and training of trainees commenced in pre-identified areas. By the end of 2017, trainees would be exposed to business opportunities, viable in their vicinity. This will give a boost to indigenous entrepreneurship. The outcome of this initiative would be 10,000 well groomed, trained and skilled group of young entrepreneurs who would not just be economically stable but also serve as panacea for the region's growing unemployment problem.

DST Supported Innovation-Science and Technology based Entrepreneurship Development (i-STED): The North Eastern Region was especially chosen to float interventions backed by innovative science and technology interventions. This 5-year intervention (2014-2019) seeks to revive the industrial climate of the region by introducing modern, workable technologies and linking them up with trained entrepreneurs to ensure maximum impact.
Sectors Identified for Interventions:

  • Food Processing: With the North Eastern Region abounding in forest resources and diverse breeds of fruits, vegetables and herbs, the potential to spring up the Food Processing industry lies in abundance. Linking the sector with the right technical sources, facilitating branding and marketing, would help entrepreneurs establish/ diversify food processing enterprises on contemporary S&T standards.
  • Cane & Bamboo: North Eastern region is home to rich bamboo and cane species. Bamboo and cane craft is a part and parcel of people’s lifestyle and livelihood. It is a household industry in the region. However, the vast expanses of cane and bamboo can be judiciously used and given commercial significance with innovation technology and mechanisms.
  • Renewable Energy:  Renewable energy, like solar energy and bio mass gasifier etc. can play a major role in improving the industrial kaleidoscope of North Eastern region. The renewable energy sector can be harnessed to the hilt through scientific measures to promote industrial sector, for example; tea processing.

After suitable research to map the conditions, relevant technologies were identified and match making of technologies and entrepreneurs was undertaken. Presently training and awareness interventions are underway. To ensure success, follow-up will be rigorously done with trained entrepreneurs. Technologies were sourced from innovators, R&D institutions, Networks, Academic institutions and other similar renowned laboratories and institutions.

Expected Outcome

  • Application of S&T based developments
  • Ensure around 50 scalable technology based innovations
  • Human Resource Development
  • Enhance competencies of around 2200-2500 potential/existing entrepreneurs through innovation / skill enhancement / capacity building programmes
  • Entrepreneurship Development
  • Nurture around 600 to 650 new entrepreneurs through entrepreneurship development programmes
  • Socio economic and environmental impact
  • Jobs to be generated: 3000-3200
  • Wealth to be created: 1200-1500Lakhs
  • Impact on environment: Most of the technologies will be eco-friendly
  • Social Change

          With increasing opportunities within the region, the problem of migration would be curbed
          With small scale industries coming up in a big way, ancillary units would also get a boost
          Living conditions and health of people would improve

 

Programmes for Existing Entrepreneurs: EDII experts targeted all-round growth for the region, for which the strategy comprised a three tier intervention plan, including; empowerment of potential entrepreneurs, existing entrepreneurs and creation of a conducive environment. Programmes for local entrepreneurs ensured that they learn about new business trends and practices to expand their wings. Several local entrepreneurs came out of their fixed limits, networked and expanded their areas of operation. This also positively impacted the economy of the region.  

Extending Technical Assistance: In order to address infrastructural limitations that some entrepreneurs encounter, EDII extended help to Khadi & Village Industries Board (KVIB) to identify and install equipment suitable for the entrepreneurs of the area. For instance, KVIB, Mizoram was provided technical assistance in identifying and procuring equipment for processing Tung seeds which are available in abundance in Mizoram. KVIB was also aided in setting Tung seed oil mill project. In another landmark turnkey project, for KVIB Mizoram, EDII executed a 100 TPD Mini Sugar Plant in Mizoram.

SME Growth Model: The North Eastern Office made efforts to float an environment favourable for germination and growth of SMEs. State wise workshops were, therefore, regularly organized to ensure coming together of stakeholders such as; donors, implementing agencies, government organizations, banks, business consulting firms and other apex organizations. Such workshops aimed at debating on ways and means to promote SMEs and entrepreneurship in the North Eastern Region.

Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development: Befitting the need of the time, NSTEDB has introduced the ‘Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Project (STED)’ which seeks to familiarise micro, small and medium entrepreneurs with required technological interventions in their enterprises so that they adopt these, and progress to newer levels. The project also encourages potential entrepreneurs to select technologies that are simple and easily comprehensible, allowing them to set up micro enterprises with benefits far greater than conventionally run enterprises. Nalbari district of Assam, comprising 12 blocks, was addressed under this project to help it shun its economic and social backwardness. The detailed five pronged strategy adopted by EDI included:

  • Develop appropriate process technologies to set up new enterprises that produce value added products
  • Quality upgradation, quality control and technological upgradation of existing micro and small industries
  • Strengthen packaging and delivery of products so that with increased shelf life and access to markets, prospects of artisans and entrepreneurs are enhanced
  • Develop marketing and distribution channels and linkages
  • Create an overall conducive environment for entrepreneurial growth

The areas brought within the fold of the intervention were:

  • Engineering
  • Chemical
  • Furniture
  • Textile
  • Agro
  • Food Processing
  • Electrical and Electronics

On the same lines were the skill training programmes for youth under the State Science & Technology Programme Project. The result was conspicuous in the form of hard core science and technology based skills for setting up micro enterprises.  The results of the projects reflected in the health, standard of living, orientation towards education, and the overall economic condition and frame of mind.

Cluster Development Model (Integrated Handloom Cluster Development Scheme): DC-Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India had appointed EDII as Cluster Resource cum Monitoring Agency for Mini Handloom Clusters across Manipur (33 clusters), Meghalaya(5 clusters) and Tripura(14 clusters). For Sivasagar Mega Handloom Cluster too, EDII was appointed by DC-Handlooms as the Cluster Management and Technical Agency. The tasks included preparation of diagnostic study and Project Report, extending financial advisory services, working capital intermediation with financial institutions, technical and operational support, overall monitoring and evaluation and structuring and establishment of Special Purpose Vehicle.

EDII’s Agartala Office implemented the Cluster Development Programme (CDP) in the Bamboo Handicrafts cluster at Shankhala, West Tripura under Micro and Small Enterprises-Cluster Development Programme (MSE-CDP) of the Office of Development Commissioner MSME, Ministry of MSME, Government of India. Activities like technology and design mapping, workshop on design development, advanced skill development programme, product standardization and quality control, exposure visit, website development etc. were successfully undertaken. Under the aegis of the Office of DC-MSME EDII also conducted diagnostic study in the Incense Sticks (Agarbatti) cluster at Dharmanagar, North Tripura to understand the problems and arrive at an action plan comprising hard and soft interventions.

EDII’s Imphal Office is engaged in implementing cluster development programme in the Tribal Garments Cluster, Khonglong, Senapati, Manipur. The activities include; awareness programmes, skill development training, advanced training on finishing, product standardization and quality control, high end design development and creation of design pool, exposure visit, etc.

Common Facility Centre: This significant initiative under the cluster development intervention assured technology upgradation for all MSME entrepreneurs of a given cluster, irrespective of their financial affordability. Appropriate machinery/technologies were housed in a special Centre on a private public partnership (PPP) mode so that all the cluster entrepreneurs availed easy access to modern machinery/technology. EDI has facilitated establishment of common testing laboratory, dye house etc. in different MSME clusters in the eastern region. A CFC which is underway in Tripura and Imphal will house latest machinery and testing facility to enable the cluster in adopting best practices in technology and testing for improvement in quality and productivity of the microenterprises involved in making Bamboo Handicrafts and Tribal Garments respectively.

With the objective of addressing pollution and environmental issues, modernization of Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in the leather cluster at Bantala, Kolkata was also successfully undertaken.

Revitalizing the Handicrafts Sector: The handicrafts of the North Eastern sector not just mirror the region’s culture and tradition but also play a major role in providing employment to a vast majority of artisans and craftspersons. Considering their importance, a need was felt to enhance productivity, diversity and value addition in handicraft products to ensure their better acceptance in the market. It was realised that this could be satisfactorily achieved by imparting skill training to artisans, introducing them to innovative production processes and promoting market tie-ups. Hence, over a period of two years (2015 to 2017), under the aegis of Development Commissioner-Handicrafts, Govt. of India, the Institute would be organising ‘Handicraft Skill Development Training Programmes’, benefitting more than 300 artisans. Cane and Bamboo Craft sector is the prime target with Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam being the focus regions.

 

Capacity Building Programmes for Development Officers: EDII’s efforts not just ensured assimilation of developmental ideologies and strategies in the economy of the region but also confirmed sustenance of these developmental efforts by putting in place a cadre of development professionals. A pool of resource persons, including government officers, district level development officers of ED activities, officials of District Industries Centre, Small Industries Development Corporation, Directorate of Industries, Banks and Industrial Development Corporation, has been instituted, to undertake developmental activities and ensure sustenance of initiatives and results.

Entrepreneur-Support System Officials’ Interface: To ensure that first generation entrepreneurs and support system officials appreciate and understand each other’s concerns, differences were identifies across a number of dimensions whilst interaction between the two groups. These were then dealt at length from various perspectives to promote better interaction between the two groups.

Faculty Development Programmes: FDPs are specialized interventions offered to enable faculty members of various institutions initiate and set a road for entrepreneurial landmarks by motivating and training students to adopt entrepreneurship as a career.  The Faculty Members are imparted training to adopt diverse teaching and learning methods in imparting entrepreneurship education. EDII office in the region has successfully organized programmes in the past.  

Trainers’ Training Programme: In order to institutionalize the process of entrepreneurship development and ensure its result-orientedness, Trainers’ Training Programmes were conducted to create a cadre of trainers who could take the initiative forward by floated regular interventions, holding counselling sessions and by updating the trainees on the latest developments. Food Processing was one of the significant areas, for the growth of which, a cadre of trainers has been instituted.

 

Feasibility studies have been widely undertaken to probe setting up of ED Centre in the region to strengthen entrepreneurship development efforts. A compendium of project ideas further added pace to the efforts and instilled the confidence of people in pursuing entrepreneurship. In addition, several market surveys and investigative studies have been undertaken to harness as also spur the entrepreneurial potential of the region.   Some of the impact making repots and documentations include:

  • Feasibility Study for setting up an ED Centre in Manipur at the behest of Industry department, Govt. of Manipur
  • Project Report ideas based on banana fibre at the instance of Khadi and Village Industries Commission
  • Feasibility Study for Mini Sugar plant at the  behest of Govt. of Mizoram
  • Manuals on Food Processing Industry (for trainers and entrepreneurs) and a compendium of 50 project profiles in the Food Processing sector, as tasks assigned by the Ministry of Food Processing Industry, Govt. of India
  • The State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD), Govt. of Meghalaya has entered into a MoU with Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI), Ahmedabad for training 10,000 entrepreneurs over a period of three years. To promote local resource based enterprises and to promote entrepreneurship and business development, a Business Opportunities Identification exercise was carried out in Meghalaya. The study focussed on generating viable business ideas based on availability of local resources, local skills, local needs and demand. The objective was also to objective was to amass information on existing natural resources and ways of utilization to promote small enterprises. This document has added pace to the process of entrepreneurship development in the state.

 

EDII’s intervention brought about awareness about entrepreneurship. The sensitization and training resulted in immediate results in terms of setting up of enterprises which ultimately resulted in long term lifestyle changes. People endorsed the benefits of self-employment and optimal use of resources. A vibrant, forward-looking approach marked the environ with new enterprises being floated. This has significantly reduced migration. The existing entrepreneurs learnt about the advantages of looking beyond the age old prevalent methods of doing business. Their inhibitions about integrating science and technology with entrepreneurship were broken and they became open to assimilating entrepreneurship in their business processes. Women too came to the forefront with training in entrepreneurship and their own enterprises, as a result.

Future holds mega promises: The unlimited potential of the North Eastern Region needs to be unleashed to render a mainstream status to the region. Livelihoods and Entrepreneurship will be delved into to carve opportunities for the local populace. While New Enterprise Creation Model will continue to dominate efforts, with focus on science and technology based enterprises and contemporary ideas, programmes for existing entrepreneurs/enterprises will also form a part of the agenda. Enterprise Upgradation programmes through individual counselling or through the cluster mode will receive priority. Cluster development model for promoting sericulture, units in agriculture, handicraft and handicraft will receive priority. Simultaneous pursuit of research on viable opportunities, entry facilitators and barriers and related themes will not just open up new avenues but also facilitate policy advocacy.

Specifically focusing on Tripura, the Institute intends to take up a cluster development cum trade facilitation project to facilitate holistic development of Micro and Small Enterprise Clusters as also to promote bilateral and multilateral trade involving Tripura and neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar etc.  Working as Project Management Consultant, the Institute intends to spearhead cluster development in the State and actively participate in policy advocacy and develop strategy for MSME cluster development in Tripura. Moreover attempts will be made to introduce Entrepreneurship in different courses run by the Tripura University which would motivate students to become job providers rather than job seekers. Several special projects for minority communities and disadvantaged groups  are also on the anvil.


Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India

(Via Ahmedabad Airport & Indira Bridge), P.O. Bhat 382 428, Dist. Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.

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