The fifth edition of Young Leaders Connect (YLC) was successfully concluded at Itanagar on October 29. YLC is a landmark initiative that provides a common platform for young leaders and achievers from the Northeast, launched in 2011 in Kohima. This edition of YLC had ‘Start-Up North East, Stand-Up North East’ as its theme to inspire and mentor young entrepreneurs of the Northeast. The two day event was a grand success and was marked by the presence of some of the most influential names across the country and hordes of budding entrepreneurs from the region.
First day of YLC
The opening day was marked by the presence of Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajib Pratap Rudy and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju. The Chief Host for the occasion was Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
Rudy said that skill development needs to be integrated with school education for successful entrepreneurships. ‘Over the years in India, education has a distinct bias over skill. Without skill no education will serve the purpose. We have given more weightage to education instead of skill development where lies the flaws,’ he said. Stating that Northeast has immense natural resources to start up enterprises, the minister said lack of skilled manpower is deterring development in the region.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, who himself hails from Arunachal Pradesh has been associated with YLC since its inception. He said that it is a defining moment in the history of Arunachal Pradesh to host this event.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who amicably played the role of the Chief Host admitted that it was a great opportunity for his State to host this event. Speaking about the unemployment scenario in his State, ‘There is a large number of unemployed youths in my State. However, it is not possible for me to accommodate all of them in the government sector. So, herein lies the importance of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs who start businesses also create jobs for other people. My State has potential in tourism, electricity and hydro-power. However, we lack skilled manpower.’
Second day of YLC
The highlight of the second day was a friendly fundraising football match between Arunachal Pradesh CM XI and YLC XI at Naharlagun. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu led the CM XI team while YLC XI was captained by iconic Indian footballer and the Chairperson of YLC, Bhaichung Bhutia. The thrilling encounter ended with a 2-2 draw in the scheduled time. However, CM XI won the match in the penalty shootout.
The day started with a presentation by Dr Syed Kazi, Founder, North EaHowever, st Development Foundation on the Upstart NE Competition called ‘North East Startup Challenge & Festival, 2016’. The festival will be held on December 15th and 16th this year.
In the second session, three successful entrepreneurs from the region shared their success stories before the audience and also answered their questions. In this session which was chaired by Abu Metha, Founding Editor of Eastern Mirror of Nagaland, the speakers were Jarpum Gamlin, CEO of Eastern Sentinel, Arunachal Pradesh, Tanushree Hazarika, Managing Director, Eclectic Group, Assam and Bejorn DeNiese, Director Mayfair Hotel and Resorts, Sikkim.
The winner of the much anticipated competition ‘The Entrepreneur’ was also announced on the second day. Rewaz Chetri, a 22 year old entrepreneur from Sikkim won this award this year for his startup ‘North East Taxi’. The award comprised of a cheque of Rs 5 lakhs.