Young Leaders Connect-5: Start Up North East-Stand Up North-East

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The fifth edition of Young Leaders Connect (YLC) was successfully held at Itanagar from October 27 to 29, 2016. YLC is a landmark initiative of YouthNet, a Nagaland based non-profit organization launched in 2011 in Kohima. YLC is an annual conclave where young leaders and achievers from diverse fields like business, politics, academia etc come together, put their heads and hearts together to plan where they would like to see India vis-à-vis northeast in the future, plan a road map and strategize and make interventions at the grassroots and policy level. The 5th edition of YLC had ‘Start-Up North East, Stand-Up North East’ as its theme to inspire and mentor young entrepreneurs of the Northeast. The successful conclave was marked by the presence of some of the most influential names across the country and hordes of budding entrepreneurs from the region.

Football exhibition between CM XI and YLC XI.
Football exhibition between CM XI and YLC XI.

Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who was the chief guest said, “In the past six decades in this country, we have put too much weightage to education. So, we will get a Professor of Botany or Professor of Chemistry in India, but not a Professor of Carpentry or Professor of Plumbing. However, in many countries, skill development is given immense weightage. In Thailand, you will get a Professor of Welding. We have created a huge manpower of unemployable people, thanks to our short sighted education system. Now, we need to change that. If we can provide a 12 week skill development training with 12 years of school education to every student, nobody can stop them from getting jobs ever.” Outlining the significances of skill development and entrepreneurship, the Union Minister of State exhorted that skill development ensures better avenue and guaranteed self-employment to the people. Many skilled people are deprived of employment on the ground of language, he said underscoring the need to tackle the issue.

Rudy stated that the Central Government is already looking at Northeast as a potential hub of skilled manpower and in the coming days, steps will be taken to harness these resources to their optimum potential.

bhaichung-bhutia-chair-ylc-with-speakersfinal-picArunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who amicably played the role of the chief host, admitted that it was a great opportunity for his State to host the conclave. Speaking about the unemployment scenario in his State, “There is a large number of unemployed youths in my State. However, it is not possible for me to accommodate all of them in the government sector. So, herein lies the importance of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs who start businesses also create jobs for other people. My State has potential in tourism, electricity and hydro-power. However, we lack skilled manpower.”

Section of delegates.
Section of delegates.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, who himself hails from Arunachal Pradesh has been associated with YLC since its inception. He said that it is a defining moment in the history of Arunachal Pradesh to host this event. “I believe that entrepreneurs have to take our country forward. Many people complain that the Northeast is very far from mainstream India. However, for me, every place in India is mainstream. Before independence, Northeast India was the most prosperous region in the country. God has been kind to this region. However, sometimes abundance of resources makes people lazy. In States like Arunachal Pradesh, where population density is 14 people per sq km, there should not be any unemployment. The Central Government will definitely help the region but before that, all the Northeastern States have to unite themselves for the sake of the greater good of the region.”
Iconic Indian footballer and chair of YLC, Bhaichung Bhutia in his opening remark urged the government to “create an eco-system for entrepreneurship to succeed.” He said on a lighter note that YLC is the only event which not only brings Congress and BJP leaders on the same platform but also gets them to agree on a topic.

Member of Parliament Meghalaya and co-chair YLC-5 Conrad Sangma stated that YLC wants people of the region to inherit entrepreneurship. Sangma, who is an entrepreneur himself, said, “I believe entrepreneurship is all about risk taking, starting early and building a culture. In Northeast, people tend to start very late. One can afford to take risks at a young age. In developed countries, entrepreneurs start at the age of 18 years. Starting early makes a huge difference.”

Closing remark was given by Nagaland Legislator Mmhonlumo Kikon, co-chair YLC-5 and welcome address was given by YouthNet Founder Hekani Jakhalu. The day was started with a session on ‘Challenges and opportunities of entrepreneurship and skill building in the Northeast’ which was moderated by Karma Paljor, Business Editor of CNN IBN. The speaker in this session were Dr. Sapna Poti, Head, Northeast

Secretary DONER Naveen Verma IAS with Dr Paul Muktieh and YLC members.
Secretary DONER Naveen Verma IAS with Dr Paul Muktieh and YLC members.

NSDC, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Sriparna Baruah, Head, Centre for Industrial Extension & Consultancy, Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship, Arindam Hazarika, Co-founder, Arohan Foods and Bhairavi Jani, Executive Director of SCA Group and Founder IEF Foundation.

Paljor said, “Our main focus is to help the youth achieve better and make them realize their potential. We have the talent, but do not receive the right opportunities and right exposure. What we aim to do is inspire the next generation to achieve more.” While Hazarika spoke about having a common language for business in the entire region, Bhairavi Jani emphasized on creating a conducive eco-system for the region.

YLC members with speakers.
YLC members with speakers.

The second session was on the theme ‘Entrepreneurship-Education and Innovation’ and chaired by Ben Imchen IIT (D) & CEO, Elysium Tech Nagaland. The speakers in this session were Natalia West, Associate Professor, IIM Shillong, Rahul Mirchandani, Executive Director of Aries Agro Pvt Ltd, Dr S K M Prasanna, Dean, Management, IIT-Guwahati and Mark Laitflang Stone, MD, Group Avenues, Meghalaya.  Mirchandani said that it is necessary to make children here financially literate while Stone blamed the education system of the country for failing to prepare the students for job.

Another session was held on the theme ‘Entrepreneurship, funding and credit linkages’ which looked at why funding to entrepreneurs is very minimal in the Northeast. The session was chaired by Member of Parliament Sushmita Dev and the speakers were Naveen Verma IAS, Secretary, Ministry of DoNER, Dr. Paul Muktieh, CMD, NEDFi and Meghanath Singh, CEO & Co-founder, www.giskaa.com.

The day ended with a workshop for entrepreneurs and a round table discussion on the way forward for ‘Entrepreneurship in NE’ led by Union MoS Kiren Rijiju. And included DONER, NEDFI, ICCO, Quest Alliance, UNDP, NSDC, IIT, IIM, and YLC members.

The day started with a presentation by Dr Syed Kazi, Founder, North East Development Foundation on the Upstart NE Competition called ‘North East Startup Challenge & Festival, 2016’. The festival will be held on December 15 and 16 this year.

In the second session, three successful entrepreneurs from the region shared their success stories before the audience and also answered their questions. In this session, which was chaired by Abu Metha, Founding Editor of Eastern Mirror of Nagaland, the speakers were Jarpum Gamlin, CEO of Eastern Sentinel, Arunachal Pradesh, Tanushree Hazarika, Managing Director, Eclectic Group, Assam and Bejorn DeNiese, Director Mayfair Hotel and Resorts, Sikkim.

The winner of the much anticipated competition ‘The Entrepreneur’ was also announced on the second day. Rewaz Chetri, a 22 year old entrepreneur from Sikkim won this award this year for his startup ‘North East Taxi’. The award comprised of a cheque of Rs 5 lakhs sponsored by Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s Juiter Capital.

The highlight of the second day was a friendly fundraising football match between Arunachal Pradesh CM XI and YLC  XI at Naharlagun. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu led the CM XI team while YLC XI was captained by iconic Indian footballer and the Chairperson of YLC, Bhaichung Bhutia. The thrilling encounter ended with a 2-2 draw in the scheduled time. However, CM XI won the match in the penalty shootout.

A 40 strong Nagaland delegation of young entrepreneurs, students and YouthNet team attended the conclave which was made possible due to corporate sponsors.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar says Vibrant, Progressive North-East important for India

ITANAGAR: The new economic model of Prime Minister Narenda Modi is to make entrepreneurship a reality as it has become a fundamental for growth, observed Rajya Sabha MP and Technology Entrepreneur Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
Delivering his keynote address in the conclave of Young Leaders Connect (YLC) with the theme ‘Start-up North East, Stand-Up North East’, the MP said in the changing nature of economy, deficit states have to reinvent their economy model. Chandrasekhar said a vibrant and progressive North East was important for India and therefore, there was significant motivation to develop the region.
Stating that politics of the region should move into politics of economy, he suggested the lawmakers of the region to approach the Centre for a special funding pattern for the entrepreneurs of the North Eastern states.
Emphasizing on good connectivity, the MP said without connectivity there would be no growth in entrepreneurship in the region.

Source: Morung Express

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