Shillong: Meghalaya won the best performer award in the 3rd edition of ranking of states on support to the start-up ecosystem which was released by Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry in a felicitation ceremony in New Delhi on Monday.

Marking it as a proud moment for the state, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said his government has focused closely on entrepreneurship and startups for a long time. 

“As an entrepreneur myself, I faced a lot of challenges. Felt there was no support and the system wasn’t there. Felt that even a small support structure would encourage our entrepreneurs. And in the long run, no economy to move forward unless start-ups and entrepreneurship are encouraged,” said Sangma.

While the government has its limitations, Sangma said, it acts as a facilitator and creates policies, infrastructure and ecosystem. But what drives the economy is business and entrepreneurship.

“Today Meghalaya has been awarded the best startup state along with Gujarat and Karnataka, which is a great honour and pride for all of us. I give full credit to entrepreneurs who are the people driving this and I dedicate this to entrepreneurs of the state,” said Sangma.

A total of 24 states and 7 UTs participated in the exercise. This edition had 7 broad Reform Areas consisting of 26 action points essential to providing the regulatory, policy, and economic support to startups and stakeholders of the ecosystem. The reform areas included Institutional Support, Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Access to Market, Incubation support, Funding Support, Mentorship Support, and Capacity Building of Enablers.

The third edition of the exercise evaluated the support provided by states and union territories between October 1, 2019, and July 31, 2021. More than 7,200 beneficiaries in 13 different languages evaluated these submissions over a 6-month period.

The states were categorized in five groups – Best Performers, Top Performers, Leaders, Aspiring Leaders and Emerging Startup Ecosystem. Meghalaya was placed in the ‘Best Performers’ category along with the states of Gujarat and Karnataka.

The PRIME (Promotion and Incubation of Market Driven Enterprises) program was launched in January, 2020 to realize the Chief Minister’s vision of providing opportunities to entrepreneurs in the State. As part of the program, aspiring entrepreneurs are provided mentorship, incubation and funding support through a network of PRIME hubs. The entrepreneurs are also assisted in establishing credit and market linkage and till date almost 1,300 entrepreneurs have benefitted from the program. 

The program has been a success on account of the collaborative effort of the Commerce & Industries department that has been providing policy support and Meghalaya Basin Management Agency that has been instrumental in implementing the PRIME program. The program has also tied up with institutions such as IIMCIP, Amazon India, Facebook/Meta, Invest India, Pernod Ricard India, NESF and Sauramandala Foundation as knowledge partners.

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