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Prime Sauramandala Rural Entrepreneurship Followship
Meghalaya is a state in the Northeastern region of India where about 80% of the population reside in the rural areas. Agriculture and allied activities have been the primary source of livelihood for most of the population in the state but in the present scenario, it can be seen that there has been a shift from these traditional livelihood options. Youth from rural areas are migrating to the cities and other states to search for alternative livelihood opportunities, which constitutes a social problem for the State.
The State has numerous strengths and opportunities that can be leveraged to promote sustainable development. Based on this, the State Government seeks to promote the entrepreneurship ecosystem, to improve the quality of life of its citizens and retain the youth from migrating, as seen by the different programmes started by the State Government in promoting sustainable development and entrepreneurship skills over the years.
The PRIME Sauramandala Rural Entrepreneurship Fellowship (PSREF) offers an opportunity to young and motivated change makers from across the country to join as Fellows and Associates and work closely with rural entrepreneurs in Meghalaya to build and scale their enterprises as well as set up a conducive environment for others to succeed. They will identify the most propitious rural entrepreneurs in the respective blocks and villages and will be mentoring them in the processes of value chain development, machinery and technology deployment, frugal innovation, branding & packaging, pricing & unit economics, market linkages, funding and business plans.
The Fellows and Associates will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become part of a unique community geared towards change that will get the opportunity to influence policy decisions and will also be engaged in exchanging ideas with high level officials like the Deputy Commissioners, Principal Secretaries and community leaders, thus giving the young leaders an exposure to high-level decision makers.
During the Fellowship, the candidates will gain comprehensive knowledge and the exposure will thoroughly prepare the Fellows and Associates for a career in public policy, rural development, startup incubation or entrepreneurship promotion with high level national and international organisations.
The PRIME Fellows will constitute candidates from across India that will bring in the experience and expertise from outside the state, whereas the PRIME Associates will constitute candidates from within Meghalaya who are adept with the local culture, dynamics and insights. During this 18-month paid Fellowship, the teams will be placed at the block-level where they will be working in villages to expand the impact that PRIME has already generated in Meghalaya.
The local Youth & Women aspiring to become entrepreneurs face numerous constraints due to its geography, topography, remoteness, lack of awareness or access to information, and most importantly lack of proper guidance and training. Therefore, the State Government has launched a comprehensive program in 2020 called PRIME (Promotion and Incubation of Market-driven Enterprises) that looks at entrepreneurship promotion and incubation in a holistic manner. They created two common infrastructures for Entrepreneurs (Budding and Established) called PRIME Startup Hubs in Shillong and Tura, where entrepreneurs receive support services such as mentoring, incubation, skill development, office space, funding and more.
So far PRIME has incubated over 180 entrepreneurs over the last two years of its existence. Over 200 entrepreneurs have received funding through PRIME’s innovative funding options. More than 1,000 entrepreneurs have received various training and capacity buildings. Out of all incubated entrepreneurs, around 60% are from rural areas and more than 50% are women-led enterprises. The predominant sectors in the incubated cohorts are aligned with the general economic structure of the state: agri- and agri-allied, food processing, handicrafts and tourism. A majority of entrepreneurs supported by PRIME work on solutions that are having a positive impact on the state. Based on the learning of the last two years of supporting entrepreneurship in Meghalaya, this Fellowship has been conceptualised to bring the much-needed support mechanisms to the grassroot level and propel rural Meghalaya to the next level.
About Sauramandala Foundation
Sauramandala Foundation is an NGO that addresses the challenges faced by remote and inaccessible communities with specific solutions pertaining to the needs of the people. Sauramandala Foundation has been working in the rural areas of Meghalaya since 2019.
Sauramandala Foundation functions as an accelerator of impact, co-creating solutions with the community and leveraging the strengths of the local culture & context. We strive to build productive relationships in the community and among stakeholders to enable sustainable impact in the most remote and inaccessible places. Our work has directly or indirectly benefited more than 300,000 beneficiaries over the last 3 years across 4 states in India.
Some of the initiatives we are working on are the flagship Chief Minister’s Youth Centres project, upgrading the public health infrastructure across Meghalaya with SELCO Foundation, as knowledge partners to the State Apiculture Mission 2.0, Sloping Agriculture Land Technology to address increasing Climate Change, holistic socio-economic development of rural livelihoods using technology interventions amongst others.
Sauramandala Foundation and PRIME Meghalaya decided to collaborate and design a rural entrepreneurship development program called the PRIME-Sauramandala Rural Entrepreneurship Fellowship. This partnership is supported by the Government of Meghalaya through the Planning Department and CSR funds from Rainmatter Foundation.