Dr Sriparna has over 30 years of work experience in Management Education and in Small and Medium Enterprise Development with thrust on Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Promotion.
She also has extensive experience in action research and implementing multi-state large projects on livelihood development specifically in the North Eastern Region of India. Sriparna has represented NE India in various international forums and lead business delegations globally.
Can you please tell us what is IIE?
Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. The main aim of the Institute is to provide training, research and consultancy activities in Small and Micro Enterprises (SME),with special focus on entrepreneurship development, rural entrepreneurship promotion and implementing initiatives in clusters, livelihood promotion, skill development, model village adoption programmes on project mode.
The Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) was established in the year 1993 in Guwahati by the erstwhile Ministry of Industry (now the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), Government of India.
IIE has been transferred to the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship on 22nd May’2015.
The headquarter of IIE is at Lalmati, Basistha Chariali, 37 NH bypass,Guwahati-781029.
- To promote and develop entrepreneurship.
- To conduct research and provide consultancy for entrepreneurship development.
- To coordinate and collaborate with other organizations in undertaking training, research and other activities to increase outreach of the institute.
- To provide consultancy and monitoring service to MSMEs/ potential entrepreneurs and enhancing employability of participants.
- To promote greater use of information technology in the activities/ functions of the IIE.
- To comply with statutory responsibility.
What are the key initiatives that IIE has taken up in the start up segment?
- Being a part of an entrepreneurship development institute, it was my own personal interest to understand and find out the start up scenario in Assam /NER. With a lot of reading about the start up landscape, interactions with the youths, students, entrepreneurs of the region I felt the need to do something in the start up segment even though it was outside the mandate of the institute. Keeping this in mind, I showed the interest to co-organize a start up event with NEDF in January 2017. The event turned out to be hugely successful and a flagship event of IIE towards the development of start up eco-system in Assam/NER. Upstart was an attempt to recognize and motivate the upcoming start-ups in Assam/NER.
- Apart from that my prime focus is on cluster development, rural entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education both for teachers as well as students for facilitating and creating an awareness towards entrepreneurship as a career option.
- I am also focussing on designing and developing mentoring programmes and handholding existing and potential start-ups in opportunity guidance and scaling up.
- We are also working across all eight states of North East for implementing livelihood projects through a holistic approach of providing both backward and forward linkage. So far, through projects implemented under my leadership, around 8000 beneficiaries have been covered.
- Another area of focus is in facilitating business delegations for entrepreneurs from North East to various countries including China, Hong Kong, Egypt and Israel and various other south-east Asian countries.
The Centre for Industrial Extension, IIE conducts events in self revenue generating mode through sponsorships and various collaborations.
What made you think that the start ecosystem in Assam has come of age even though AFSPA is still prevalent in Assam?
In my 30 years of work experience in Management Education and in Small and Medium Enterprise Development with thrust on Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Promotion I had the opportunity to interact directly with students as well as budding entrepreneurs.
Last couple of years I have noticed a gradual shift. During my interactions across forums, conference as well as through social media I have met many young professionals who are either returning back to Assam or contemplating of coming back.
These interactions acted as an impetus to build a plan to encourage more students as well as working professionals to take the plunge
What are the challenges that you are facing?
Some of the major challenges are:
- The awareness amongst the government officials/departments to get involved to help build the start-up ecosystem. There is also lack of understanding and enthusiasm in some cases.
- Lack of mentors to guide the young minds with their business ideas and transform it into reality.
- Lack of communication as there are multiple government/private agencies working together and at times entrepreneurs are not aware of the many benefits that are available for setting up a business in Assam
- A bottom up policy by the government to take the actual assessment of requirements to build the ecosystem for the entrepreneurs. A top down approach to resolve the issues in discussion with the stakeholders.
- Lack of a single platform is bring all the ecosystem stakeholders together.
What are the future plans towards developing the start-up environment in Assam?
My next dream project is to set up an incubation center in a premier management institute of Assam.
The idea is to connect with college alumni, industry as well as the students. Bring all stakeholders like members of the government, mentors, angel investors, venture capitalist in one single forum.
What is your advice to entrepreneurs of future?
Knowledge: Thorough knowledge on the focus sector, not only on the idea of the start-up. Entrepreneurs must not only focus on their idea but also on the technological interventions. With the advent of machine learning and artificial intelligence the tech landscape has tremendouosly transformed in certain sectors.
Never Give up: Survival instincts is the key to success for any entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is not a bed of roses but it is like walking on a tight rope. An entrepreneur must be ready to wear different hats at the same time.
Staying Motivated: Being motivated is the key to success for an entrepreneur.