The award carries a cheque of Rs. 1 lakh, a citation and a memento. Credit: EastMojo Image

Shillong: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday gave away the ‘Entrepreneur of the Month’ award to James Evantis Dkhar, who runs a weaving and textile production unit at Umroh, Mawkasiang in Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills.

Dkhar is the third recipient of the award, an initiative conceptualised by the CM to promote entrepreneurship in Meghalaya. The award carries a cheque of Rs 1 lakh, a citation and a memento.

Handing over the award at Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in presence of Dkhar’s family members, the chief minister lauded the works carried out by Dkhar to promote local textile and weaving.

He said, “We have embarked on this initiative to create an environment of entrepreneurship and recognise people who have set an example in the society by dint of hard work.”

He said that due to different challenges many educated youth look at government jobs for their livelihood, while there are vast opportunities in different business venture.

“I am of the strong view that our initiative will yield results as we are not only recognising the entrepreneurs but will also handhold them to ensure that their venture is taken to the next level,” said the chief minister, who will soon visit the unit and tell his success story in the social media platform to encourage, promote and create awareness on entrepreneurship in Meghalaya.

Dkhar is a Class 12-pass, first-generation entrepreneur who always dreamt of doing something new and better in life. His first stint with handloom started about 10 years ago when he underwent training at Mendipathar in North Garo Hills.

In 2014, Dkhar came into the ecosystem of the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship, Shillong, which sent him for 10 days’ training on Dobby & Jacquard Machine at the Regional Silk Technology Research Station, Khanapara, another 10 days training to build Flying8 Loom Warping Mill at GIZ CCA NER Shillong, and also for a three-month training on Silk Weaving at Central Silk Board, Bangalore.

Dkhar has also been trained in business development and is a graduate of the 3rd Batch Master Class 2018-19 of the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship.

He started his own production unit with four looms and three weavers. In 2016, he went for training on the Flying8 Loom which was a turning point for him due to the loom’s ease of use, 100% localisation, enhanced productivity and suitability for local weavers.

In 2018, with a loan of Rs. 20.00 lakh from the MIDC, he set up his own training centre on the Flying8 Loom at Umroh, Mawkasiang and named it as Nela Handloom Training Centre-cum-Production Unit which is the first Flying8 Loom Training Centre in India.

Today, the unit has become a primary source of his income and a source of direct employment for 17 unemployed youth in the field of textiles. From the centre, James produces fabric which is bought by buyers locally as well as from Germany. The centre has also successfully trained six batches of weavers on the Flying8 Loom.

Post training, these weavers are provided with a loom each and Dkhar and his team then mentor them post the training and buy back or help them to market their fabric.

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