Lately, the Indian Government has been fostering young entrepreneurs and startups by nurturing their innovations by providing various accessible support. The wave of Entrepreneurship and Startup has hit the nation. To empower these in the country, the Government of India also started a flagship initiative ‘Startup India’ to build a strong ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of a startup, and to drive sustainable economic growth and generate employment opportunities in the country. Almost 22 states, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerela, Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Punjab have framed their StartUp Policies to emancipate the young entrepreneurs.
The Himalayan state of Sikkim did not remain untouched by the wave of Startups, thus the state has witnessed its rise and the Government of Sikkim has given the green signal to various schemes and programmes to support entrepreneurs, which is widely appreciated and welcomed – but unless Sikkim owns a ‘StartUp Policy’, the effort still remains incomplete.
To provide an impetus to the unemployed youth to develop new entrepreneurial ventures and self-employment opportunities in the state, the Government of Sikkim introduced a new credit linked promoter’s contribution financial assistance scheme called ‘Chief Minister’s Startup Scheme, (CMSS) vide notification No.1/C&1/2017-18 dated 22.09.2017 administered by its Department of Commerce and Industries.
For the state which has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country after Tripura, the CMSS is assumed to be one of the promising schemes of the Sikkim Government to bring about a paradigm shift in the employment sector in the Himalayan state. The scheme provides 35% subsidy to the financially viable ventures of a total investment of 20.00 Lakhs to an individual of age group 40-45 years, which is considered as the result-oriented scheme by the young entrepreneurs of Sikkim.
As per the official sources, almost 4000 applicants have applied for the scheme and almost 900 or more has availed the scheme so far, the remaining are in the official process for sanction. Government of Sikkim is putting up an effort to empower the youths of Sikkim and help them create sustainable avenues for themselves, yet lack of well defined ‘Startup Policy’ in Sikkim somewhat sets back the CMSS to give a good outcome for the economic sustainability of entrepreneurs in the long run.
Asia Forbes 30 under 30 Honoree 2018 and Founder of NETaxi, Rewaj Chettri calls Chief Minister Startup Scheme as a good effort of the Sikkim Government to fund the dreams and aspiration of young entrepreneurs who lack finances but the state government has to frame the Startup Policy at the earliest and define startups. The government should create a viable ecosystem by working on policy level.
“CMMS is a wonderful initiative in principle. The idea behind the same is appreciative. However, it is important that guidelines are framed and a state-level policy is required to ensure that an innovative idea like this gets further process-driven. Also, it is required that an allocation of budget, sector-wise is devised so that the scheme does not become ‘single sector’ heavy scheme states Dewaker Basnet, Chief Learning Officer, 24hours Inspired.
“CMSS should have the flexibility to increase the loan amount for businesses that have unique ideas. Startup Policy in Sikkim is a must. The idea is to embolden and be supportive of all the upcoming problem solvers. Entrepreneurs will play a significant role in building a bright future for Sikkim. Startup Policy should give utmost priority to Ease of Doing Business, from certifications to licensing etc.” says Abhinandan Dhakal, Co-founder Shoten Group.
Each startup in Sikkim has its own challenges and each challenge should have a Government policy to tackle. Different schemes and programmes under the Sikkim Startup Policy shall give an unprecedented boost and growth in the youths coming up with new ideas and innovations.
Sikkim Startup Policy should be a viable and well-researched document which must address the issues and challenges of startups of all sectors. The important document shall be counted by the experts and entrepreneurs if it meets up the issues, challenges of the young entrepreneurs of Sikkim. The policy should look into opening up a single-window system to meet up the innumerable registrations, certificates, finance, labour and environment-related compliances, and various other bureaucratic regulations.
Despite that, Sikkim has witnessed mushrooming of various startups like Mitho – Food Delivery, Beautiful Earth, Olivet, NE Taxi, Shuffle Momos, Fidgety Fingers, Namchi Designer Candles, Shorten Group, The Accelerator, Taste Buds etc., in a short span of time. But the lack of a StartUp Policy has limited our entrepreneurs and startups for well-deserved growth.
‘Startup’ should also be well defined so that the financial assistance is provided to the right beneficiary or subsidy or to projects that comply or fit the definition of a startup. Research, development and training must be provided to recognized entrepreneurs and startups; Scheme for Marketing, Intellectual Property Protection Schemes, MSME UAM registration, Mentorship programmers, Access to registered venture capital and angel fund, setting up StartUp Council, Redressal system etc., are few points that should be incorporated under the Sikkim Startup Policy. With the policy being an action-oriented document, the state should come to the solution of its long-debated Company’s Act, which the young entrepreneurs of Sikkim are sandwiched in currently.
Sikkim is celebrating 44 years of statehood – a young but one of the most progressive states of the country. Lately, Sikkim Government has been more serious towards tackling unemployment and job scarcity by promoting entrepreneurship, thus policies for new businesses framed at the earliest shall surely and efficiently support the state to create sustainable opportunities in no time.
StartUp Policy is the next milestone the Government of Sikkim needs to consider framing at the earliest with the consultation of the policymakers, experts, and the entrepreneurs of the state. Finanicial support schemes initiated by the Sikkim Government is applaudable but to provide mileage to those valid schemes, the StartUp policy is a crucial need of the hour.
Sikkim is one of the youngest states of the country and has been doing good in terms of entrepreneurship but to create a viable and sustainable growth of entrepreneurs, the responsibilities now solely lies with the Government of Sikkim to facilitate the entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a solution but for now, entrepreneurs in Sikkim still seek for solutions to many standing problems.