The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created distress and confusion for the region of the North East and the country in general. The region has witnessed thousands of jobholders, students, and families return to their hometowns. The rise in youth unemployment, job loss, and a major halt for aspiring graduates in academic fields are overwhelming and increasing daily. Even the government with its best of intervention is unable to comfort the fear of the people and nobody is ready enough to undergo this crisis. Now, people everywhere battle with decisions and circumstances just to put food on the table, let alone the comforts or luxury of all things
The Hub Jorhat has launched a series of webinars on the theme ‘Entrepreneurship in Northeast India: Need and Opportunities’, to help the region to understand the enormous potential it holds; the reservoir of courage to start something productive for their livelihood, and the people. These potentials are always available and should be unearthed. With experts from the region on entrepreneurship, such a platform will create sparks of relocating the need of the hour. The speakers invited, closely worked along with the communities all over the region.
Host – The Hub Jorhat, Bosco Institute.
Total number of participants – 457
Platform: The online platform “Zoom”, a video conferencing application and Facebook’s live option was used to channel the webinar series to the participants.
The first session: ‘Social Agripreneurship Based on Local Resources’
Speaker – Samir Bordoloi (Ecological Farming Expert, Secretary – General, SPREAD NE Assam)
Date – 13th July 2020
Participants – 94
The need to revive the region’s economy through the locally available resources is more of a responsibility than opportunity. The first session exchanged dialogues on how the indigenous models of farming can be revived and replicated among the communities through collaborations and partnership of entrepreneurs. This in turn will be the source of employment and sustainability of the region and also overall balanced growth.
Overall, the session gave valuable insights on the need for social agripreneurs and local resources through the intervention of youth. A productive learning, getting in touch with our roots, our rights as consumers and growers, to be able to create our brand, and our identity for the region so that somewhere down the ages, no one would stop and wonder where in history they have lost their rights.
The Second session: ‘Building an Ecosystem for Social Entrepreneurship in the Northeast’
Speaker – Deep Jyoti S. Brahma – Founder and Director (Farm2Food Foundation, Assam)
Date – 20th July 2020
Participants – 94
The Hub Jorhat commenced the second webinar in the series with the objective to discuss how entrepreneurs can create an ecosystem in the Northeast region. The increasing gap and limited connectivity between the educated young people and the resources available is a major concern of unemployment and job creation for the region. This session discussed is to exchange and dialogue with knowledge and experience of individuals and what is actually happening in the field as an entrepreneur.
We believe that collaborations and partnership of entrepreneurs can be the source of employment and sustainability of the region and also overall balanced growth.
There seems to be no short cut to success. Hard work and perseverance seem to be the only key elements to achieve dreams. And each of us has the potential to think entrepreneurially. The field of entrepreneurship is massive and unexplored. The road to success is never straight because even the most successful of entrepreneurs did not achieve instant success over night. The entrepreneurial spirit regards important characteristics, risk taking mechanism, and vision orientation which is built on the support system he/she has created. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Outliers’, successful people like Bill Gates and the Beatles achieved greatness only after spending 10,000 hours working relentlessly on their vision. And our society today again needs entrepreneurs with 10,000 hours of hard work or else if Edison were to give up his thousand failure experiments, we would still be using candles!
The Third Session: ‘Arecanut Leaf Plate Making and Associated Products’
Speaker – Arindam Dasgupta (CEO & Founder Tamul Leaf Plates, Delhi)
Date – 27th July 2020
Participants – 65
Northeast is blessed with resources that the people of the region could actually take up as their livelihood generation, but the people seemed more relaxed with chasing after government services than yielding a fortress of indigenous and innovative local products that actually exist and sells.
The products made out of the Arecanut tree is a huge demand in the market, and every household in the region has a minimum of 10 of these trees in their backyard. The fruit of the tree is sold in the market at a fair price but what the region is missing to research, is the tree itself. The branches of the tree are processed into plates of all design, these plates are eco-friendly, can be reused multiple times, easy to store, and organic.
The major adversity of unemployment and job loss can be flattened if the people find opportunity in their resources and think entrepreneurial.
The session was an eye opener for young people of the region who were introduced to the simplicity of the tree itself, and the identity of the community that is working relentlessly towards building a livelihood with the available resources.
The fourth session: ‘How To Cope With This Pandemic: An Entrepreneurial Perspective’
Speaker – Gopen Moses (Owner, Humangmal Group, Manipur)
Date – 3rd August 2020
Participants – 82
The growing number of returnees back to the region includes students, job holders, families, and professional young people. This section of the region’s population have become prone to mental health issues due to the prevailing circumstances of not finding any alternative job or income generating avenues.
This session was conducted for young people who are entrepreneurs, and aspiring/emerging entrepreneurs alike, those who, due to the pandemic, remain skeptical of their ventures. The session dreamt to inspire and motivate them through dialogues, networking and connectivity with already established organizations and enterprises, and look into for opportunities in spite of the prevailing pandemic. Becoming an entrepreneur means to have a positive mindset, especially against challenges which one might not expect, like the pandemic. And so the ability to bear risks and positive thinking are characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.
Keeping ourselves healthy and fit as recommended by the health experts, reduces anxiety and makes one happy. Being healthy is productive, and it does help in economic growth. A healthy example could be to use a bicycle, which in the long run would even discontinue the consumption of fossil fuels, and reduce pollution.
COVID-19 has shown us a new way to look out for everyone, especially those who came back to the region. There are already many unemployed youths, and even more now in the post COVID-19 world, where everyone might not be able to secure a job. However, entrepreneurship is now considered to be one of the fastest industries to contribute in building a nation’s economy. And this industry can be the region’s strength and opportunity if we take a look back and reflect on what is truly possible.
The Hub Jorhat successfully concluded the webinar series on the 3rd of August 2020. The Hub team is grateful for all the support it has received to make the series a success. We will continue to conduct many more series for the region and anyone can be part of our entrepreneurial journey!