ITANAGAR: The landlocked Northeast relies on essentials brought from rest of the country. Now, the frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh is seeking to import what it considers a big commodity – ideas.
In a bid to harness local potentials and channelise local financial capital, the state is holding the country’s first social entrepreneurship meet. The state’s BJP government is optimistic the results will be path-breaking.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu feels ideas of the country’s best startups will help not just local entrepreneurs but also the society at large.
“We held a competition country-wide looking for ideas on social entrepreneurship. We have social challenges in sectors like education, healthcare, waste management etc. We sought to find a solution through entrepreneurship so that the social problems end and at the same time, there is investment in the state. That is the whole idea behind organising the Arunachal Pradesh Social Entrepreneurship Meet (APSEM),” Khandu told this newspaper.
The two-day meet began in state capital Itanagar on Thursday. Experts from various backgrounds are taking part in it.
The government received online entries from 111 candidates for the competition, which will be held in two segments – enterprise and ideation, and following screening, 32 candidates were shortlisted. They will share their ideas at the event. The top three winners in each category will be awarded cash prize as well as seed money to launch projects in the state.
Khandu said as the state government had already come up with its industrial and investment policy, businessmen and entrepreneurs would now be able to study how and in which sector they could invest.
“Arunachal is a virgin den for investment. Eighty per cent of its fertile land has remained untapped. I hope there is a good investment in the state in the coming days,” he said.
“The local entrepreneurs have money but they don’t know how to use it in business. Through this meet, if some good ideas come up, locals and others will invest. When there is investment, the problem of unemployment can be tackled. I want that Arunachal becomes a resourceful state,” he added.
Official sources said it would be a win-win situation for the young entrepreneurs and the government as both would benefit from the startups.
“APSEM aims to provide an opportunity to young social entrepreneurs from across the country to start up and invest in Arunachal. This will be achieved by building a platform for knowledge-sharing among social innovators within and outside the state, and by identifying and supporting social entrepreneurs,” they said.
The APSEM will have panel discussions by the experts on topics of social innovation and entrepreneurship. The event will also ensure that the innovators and entrepreneurs from around the country get a chance to connect and interact with local innovators and entrepreneurs.