The Inaugural Program of Startup Acceleration Program for Northeast India (SAPNE 1.0) organized by AIC-SMU Technology Business Incubation Foundation was held virtually on 12th May 2021. Startup Acceleration Program for North East (SAPNE 1.0) is an acceleration program curated by AIC-SMUTBI to help Startups claim ownership of their dreams! It is a 4-month program for Entrepreneurs from Northeast India who are looking for growth and scale of their Startups or those solving pertinent problems of North East India.

The objective of the program is to help founders create "the Startup Playbook" with real-time problems which they may encounter and to eased them with the help a set of curated mentors and equip them with impactful knowledge to create a sustainable business.

The outcome of the program is expected to improve upon Design Thinking, Innovation Mindset, Prototype to Minimum Viable Product, Branding and Identity Design, Bootstrapping, Funding Landscape and Landmines to ensure substantial success in their venture.

The welcome note was delivered by Dr Tej Chingtham, CEO, AIC-SMUTBI.

The Hon'ble Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Shri Indra Hang Subba conveyed his message that “despite having educated and literate population in the North East, the majority of the youth are unemployed. This is because we have not completely explored the potential of Entrepreneurship. It not only builds the entrepreneurs but builds the society and community at large. And such programs as SAPNE 1.0 hosted by AIC-SMUTBI we can create new business avenues and also more employment opportunities”.

Dr Chintan Vaishnav, MD of Atal Innovation Mission, NITI AAYOG emphasized creating sustainable livelihoods in the Northeast by entrepreneurs from the Northeast and which can be achieved by innovative thinking, whether that is product-oriented thinking, process-oriented thinking or innovation in business models, societal forms etc. He added, “innovation to enable more and more people to make choices as to where they want to work and live, as they progress. That’s the other area that I think there is some unique opportunity here”.

Lt. General Dr Rajan S Grewal, Vice-Chancellor of Sikkim Manipal University and Chairman, Board of Directors, AIC-SMUTBI commended the entire team of AIC-SMUTBI for running the program and expressed his sincere gratitude to NITI AAYOG, Government of India and Government of Sikkim for their constant support.

The program also had an exclusive message from Mr Sonam Wangchuk, HAIL, Ladakh where he lauded the 30 entrepreneurs from the Northeast who are working on sustainable, opportunities in entrepreneurship rather than only depending on government jobs.

Likewise, the program was addressed by Mr NikunjaBorthakur Sir, Senior Chief General Manager (Corporate Affairs) from Numaligarh Refineries Ltd who also announce to take the top three Startups from this cohort to the Investment Committee Round of Investment for their program, Mr Chaman Lal Sir, Director, Private Sector Development, GIZ, Germany, Mr Gautam SivaramakrishnanSir, Venture Capital and Private Equity partnerships at Microsoft for Startups and Headstart Network, Mr Karma Paljor, Ex-Senior Editor CNN and Co-Founder, EastMojodelivered a very motivating narration of his own startup story and his journey from being a successful Editor at CNN to leaving the job at the peak of his career and doing something the North East really needed. Mr Malhar Potnis from Arthayan the Knowledge Partner of this program gave an outline of the curriculum of this program.