In March of 2021, India was ready to declare itself “free of COVID”. But suddenly, within 3 weeks, the daily cases shot up from 12,000 to almost 400,000 cases per day! There were lines of people in the streets outside of the hospitals, and many died without ever making it inside.
Our core team had plans to start the ecosystem in Manipur in May, but then as the “second wave” hit India, we had to put everything on hold! Later in May, ECatalyst continued to Rwanda and Ethiopia, and started making plans to visit India whenever we could. Now, as that time has extended further into the future, we have decided to start at least helping their entrepreneurs online even if we can’t be in-person yet.
So we have begun! Starting, July 8th, 2021, we started our first online accelerator program for the entrepreneurs of Manipur, India. Even though this is not the vision of “ecosystem” in Manipur that we had hoped to have, at least we are preparing the way for a few to develop growth-oriented businesses. More than 20 entrepreneurs and leaders have joined us. They are working hard, talking to potential customers, and refining their ideas through the program.
These four men have been amazing! Each of them have personally taken on a group of 5-7 entrepreneurs in the cohort, and are shepherding them through the process. These leaders have committed themselves to growing new businesses in Manipur and seeing that economy grow in spite of the pandemic.
For more facts about this part of the world, check these out: