State startup ecosystem tops national chart

Shillong, Jan 17: Meghalaya received the accolade of Top Performer State at the National Startup Awards, 2022, held as part of the National Startup Day celebrations on 16th January 2024.

Having secured the position of Best Performer the previous year, the state continues on a sustained trajectory of developing its startup ecosystem.


Few years ago, Meghalaya was faced with two contrasting circumstances. On the one hand the state was at the zenith of a demographic dividend with more than 72% of its population below the age of 35. On the other hand, there was a dearth of employment generating industries.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma took a set of innovate steps to convert the state’s sizable youth population into job creators instead of job seekers. He spearheaded efforts which materialized into the Meghalaya Startup Policy 2018. It was introduced with the objective of making the state “India’s leading startup hub by 2023”.

In pursuit of that target, the state government launched the PRIME (Promotion & Incubation of Market-driven Enterprises) program in 202o for building a startup ecosystem. PRIME has been instrumental in catalysing the state’s startup revolution.

A large number of incubation centres called ‘PRIME Hubs’ are currently being set up where new entrepreneurs are offered state-of-the-art workspace and supportive infrastructure for processing, packaging and value addition activities. These PRIME Hubs also facilitate market access for the entrepreneurs to realize premium prices for their products in local and overseas markets.

Recognizing Meghalaya’s matrilineal society, 20% of the funding support offered under the PRIME program is reserved exclusively for women entrepreneurs.

A large number of women have benefited from this support and are currently running thriving businesses in traditional handloom and other innovative trades.

To take the PRIME program to the next level, Meghalaya launched the CM-ELEVATE programme last year.

As a precursor to the Top Performing State Award, Meghalaya was prominently featured as a ‘Focus State’ at the World Food India 2023 event held in New Delhi in November 2023. In January this year, the state was awarded the second runner-up trophy at the One District One Product (ODOP) Awards held during the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Utsav 2024 in New Delhi. The Startup Award is now the latest feather in the state cap.

The awards are made after a stringent process which involves telephonic interviews of candidates and legal review of businesses by independent third-party evaluators.

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