When it comes to starting up, lack of basic infrastructure comes up as the greatest hurdle before entrepreneurs in north Bengal. Let’s pause to read about the problems faced by north Bengal based entrepreneurs.
No incubation hub
North Bengal has a huge potential in various sectors namely tea tourism, medical tourism, tourism and hospitality, agriculture, organic farming, animal husbandry etc. Likewise there are entrepreneurs who are interested to start ventures. The nearest incubation hub for entrepreneurs from this area is Kolkata.
An incubation hub provides the required guidance, mentorship and all kinds of assistance in developing the idea along with increasing scopes for funding.
Many youths from rural areas come up with innovative business ideas but they do not know the next step or where to go after conceiving an excellent idea. An incubation centre would have helped in guiding the way forward. Only a very few people manage to go to Kolkata for taking their venture ahead.
Unless there is link with industries, entrepreneurs can’t progress much. Business events focusing on startups are the need of the hour. Entrepreneurs said that if such conclaves or even simple meetings are held for startups in every two to three months then entrepreneurs can benefit immensely as these meetings give rise to mentorship opportunities.
Pratik Panda, founder of Lottery Kart, who hails from Siliguri had to go to Kolkata and Bangalore for starting his two technology-based start-ups four years back. “I did not get any help here and did not know how to proceed. Both my start-ups are Nasscom incubated. But all do not have the luxury to travel to Kolkata and Bangalore for pursuing their ideas. How can entrepreneurs proceed if there is no support system?” Pratik asked.
“There are around 15-20 entrepreneurs in this region. Initially we did not have any scope to reach out our voice but now we are advocating for the cause of setting up an incubation centre here. Entrepreneurs are in need for a support system. We try to do whatever we can for the new entrepreneurs,” he added.
Difficulty in getting compliance and certifications
“There is no forum from where we can get any help. For starting a venture we need certifications and compliances. But for every such issue we have to go from door to door. The departments are totally in the dark about the facilities that can be provided to start-ups. Lack of coordination between the departments makes life dreadful as for getting every certificate the entrepreneur himself has to reach out personally several times. Unlike businessmen we are not known faces nor do we know the nuances of getting certificates quickly. The only option is to continue struggling for getting the required documents,” said Madhusudan Paul, co-founder of Finlab, who is toiling very hard since 2017 for establishing his start-up.
PM’s dream will fail due to lack of initiative
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has focused on start-ups but the initiative cannot succeed unless proper infrastructure is in place. infact without a proper support system there is no way in which Modi’s initiative can be taken forward. There is no scope for funding in this region of West Bengal. We don’t get any opportunity for mentorship and guidance nor is there any means to attend to our monetary issues. So starting a start-up is very difficult here,” said Bikash Paul, founder of PhotoGrato, who is another entrepreneur from Siliguri.
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