NEC organises Northeast Startup Summit
DIMAPUR — The North Eastern Council (NEC), in association with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, organised the “Northeast Startup Summit” on January 29 at Hotel Vivanta in Guwahati by bringing much-needed exposure to the startup ecosystem of the region.
An update from NEC stated that the primary goal of the summit was to showcase and celebrate the evolution of the startup ecosystem in Northeast India while providing a platform for innovative minds to connect, collaborate and gain exposure.
Serving as the culmination of the incubation programme for the initial cohort of 270 startups under the North East Entrepreneurship Development Programme (NEEDDP), it stated that the summit, a joint initiative by NEC and IIM Calcutta Innovation Park as the implementation partner, stood out as the largest of its kind in the area.
The event witnessed a footfall of over 500 startup founders from Northeast India, ecosystem enablers, celebrated entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and some of the top-notch investors in the country.
The event was attended by the secretary of NEC, K Moses Chalai, who was accompanied by Som Kamei, NEC planning advisor, and MC Omi Ningshen, NECBDC.
It stated that the chairman and managing director of NEDFi, PVSLN Murty, was also present at the summit, who offered his valuable insights on funding and encouraging the emerging startups of the region.
Addressing the gathering, the NEC secretary conveyed his satisfaction with the results of the NEEDP.
“I am happy to see the 270 startups selected for the programme benefiting from the guidance and mentorship provided by IIM Calcutta Innovation Park,” he remarked.
He further assured the startups of comprehensive support and emphasised their crucial role in driving the economic transformation of the region.
The summit garnered significant exposure for the fast-evolving startup ecosystem of the region as numerous reputed figures from India’s startup ecosystem participated in the event.
Notable dignitaries including Sagar Daryani, founder and CEO of Wow! Momo; Pratap TP, founder of QwikCilver Solutions; Shradha Sharma, founder and CEO of YourStory Media; SP Singh, chief general manager of SIDBI; Vikram Gupta, founder and managing partner of IvyCap Ventures; Hari Balasubramanian, member of Indian Angel Network; Anuj Sharma, founder of ALSiSAR IMPACT; and Anil Chhikara, head of Global Strategy, Marwari Catalysts, also attended the summit.
A key highlight of the mega event was an eclectic exhibition by over 80 startups from across the eight states of Northeast India, serving as a testament to the unique products and innovations emerging from the vibrant region.
While the visiting investors expressed interest in a number of startups from the region, the celebrated entrepreneurs were overwhelmed by the sheer variety and diversity of the products displayed by the startups at the exhibition.
“It feels fantastic to be here. The warmth, passion and the kind of innovation on display are just amazing. We are a consumer-dominated country. Given the kind of consumer products that I have seen here, I think many of them have the potential to scale nationally. I believe Northeast India is the future of our country,” said Sagar Daryani.
Shradha Sharma, founder of YourStory, shared a similar sentiment about the quality of innovation in Northeast India.
“I am truly impressed by the passion of the entrepreneurs here, and the array of products is mindboggling! From a delightful assortment of handloom and handicrafts to cutting-edge innovations in drones, 3D and robotics – the region has it all! The startups from Northeast India have it all to be successful. They just need some support in building a good network and securing market linkages,” she said.
In an insightful reflection on the program’s achievements, Dr. Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO of IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, shed light on its success.
“Over the past nine months, the 270 startups from Northeast India underwent intensive mentoring, resulting in significant strides. A considerable portion of these startups garnered positive responses from the market, with many witnessing a doubling of their revenue and some successfully securing funding. This Summit is a celebration of the success stories of these Northeast Indian startups. These success stories are now going to go pan-India and I think this is the success of this initiative,” said Dr. Sanyal.
In a significant announcement, the IIM Calcutta Innovation Park extended investment letters of intent to 9 startups incubated under NEEDP. The move was anticipated to greatly enhance the investment landscape of the region, potentially attracting subsequent funding from venture capitalists at the national level.
It mentioned that over the past five years, the startup ecosystem in Northeast India has experienced significant advancement as reflected in the impressive performance of the Northeastern states in DPIIT’s states’ startup ranking.
It added that initiatives such as the Northeast Startup Summit are crucial catalysts for garnering visibility and offering entrepreneurs valuable networking opportunities.
The NEC under the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER), Government of India, champions the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region.
It further stated that over the last five decades, it has been instrumental in setting in motion a new economic endeavour aimed at removing the basic handicaps that stood in the way of normal development of the region and has ushered in an era of new hope full of great potentialities.