Panel discusses startup needs at Nagaland International Trade Expo
DIMAPUR — A panel discussion on “The future of startups and entrepreneurship” took place at the 2nd Nagaland International Trade Expo on January 19 at Senden Riju, Dimapur.
The discussion focused on addressing the core needs, challenges, and opportunities encountered by emerging entrepreneurs in the state.
During the discussion, Lezo Putsure, the founder of Educentre School of Business and convenor of Business Association of Nagas’ (BAN) standing committee for skills, entrepreneurship, and education, emphasised the existing knowledge gap and suggested that both banks and financial institutions should contribute by providing support to address this knowledge gap.
Putsure highlighted that regardless of the available funds, Naga entrepreneurs face challenges in accessing them due to a lack of knowledge. According to him, many of them are unfamiliar with filing income tax returns (ITR), struggle to differentiate between GST, IGST, and CGST, and lack understanding of how private companies operate.
Rita Nahata, dean of the Exports Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), stated that one of the challenges traditional artisans face is producing very expensive handicrafts, which makes it difficult to sell their products and prevents them from achieving success as business owners.
The branch manager of North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (NEDFi), Dimapur, Vimeyiel Richa, pointed out that there are numerous talented entrepreneurs eager to access venture capital funds, but for that, entrepreneurs need to first establish a company, and once formed, they are obligated to pay taxes to the government, and this aspect can be disheartening to some entrepreneurs and promoters.
The deputy general manager (DGM) of the State Bank of India, Jorhat Zonal Office, Surabhi Bhattacharyya, mentioned that Nagaland is a state with abundant reserves of natural resources. However, she noted that the state has a long journey ahead in terms of MSME development and improvement.
She nevertheless highlighted the substantial escrow available with the bank and noted that the bank is committed to collaborating with any sustainable business models that entrepreneurs present.
Suresh Kumar Rai, assistant general manager of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SEBI), stated that SEBI began direct financing in Nagaland this year and has set an internal target of INR 15 crore for the year.
The SEBI will provide loans to both new and existing entrepreneurs, but the loan amount must be greater than INR 10 lakh and up to INR 5 crore, with an interest rate of less than 10%, he said, adding that three businesses have already taken advantage of the loan this year.