Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Local entrepreneurs draw good response at pre-Bihu fair

Prospects are looking up for local entrepreneurs with Rongali Bihu, marking the Assamese New Year, a couple of days away, as exhibitions and fairs are giving them a chance to showcase and sell their products, according to stakeholders.
Fairs and similar events are making a comeback after the pandemic hiatus as all COVID-19 related restrictions have been relaxed because of the drop in the number of positive cases, resulting in a semblance of normalcy returning to daily activities in the northeastern state.
The three-day ‘Rongali’ cultural fest here, which concludes on Sunday, has provided such a platform for startups and entrepreneurs with its ‘Vocal for Local’ exhibition.
Around 200 local entrepreneurs comprising self-help groups, agri-entrepreneurs, weavers, artisans, government agencies, and industrial organisations are showcasing their products at the event.
Putolo.com, a Guwahati-based startup, that primarily deals in soaps free from harmful chemicals as well as organic plants and potteries, started its business venture in 2020 when the COVID crisis hit the world.
This is the first time they have set up their stall in an exhibition and within a day, they registered a sale of Rs 10,000 with their handmade soaps becoming a hit among the visitors.
“This is the first time we are selling our products offline. Participating in the festival not only gave a push to our offline sales but also online. We are quite happy with the kind of response we have been getting from people who visited our stall. We have been getting many orders,” said Archana Borthakur, founder of Putola.com.
Many startups are using the Rongali platform as a medium to launch their new products.
IWA Silk Farmer Producer Co. Ltd, a Palashbari-based association, has launched an eri thread and some variants of natural dye eri thread under the brand ‘Palash’.
They have already sold 5 kilograms of the thread besides sarees and ‘mekhela chador’, traditional Assamese attire for women.
‘Bahuboli Egg’ which emerged as a popular brand in Jorhat and Guwahati during the pandemic, with their seamless home delivery of eggs, registered a sale of Rs 3,000 on the inaugural day of the festival.
“We have been getting decent responses from the people here. Even people outside Assam have been showing interest. We sold 30 crates of eggs yesterday and it was a good deal for us. The specialty of our eggs is that they are comparatively larger in size and high in protein,” said Mintu Bora, Supplier, Bahuboli Egg.
Bitupan Dihingia, secretary, PIAARA, Sivsagar Industry Association, said the festival has given them opportunities to create new business deals with other states of the North East.
“This is quite a good platform to showcase our products. We deal with various types of rice of Assam such as Red Rice, Black Rice, and Jhua Rice. We also have organic green tea freshly plucked from our tea gardens, and varieties of pickles,” he added.
Even the food stalls, serving authentic food of Assam, are getting good feedback from the visitors and many of them are running out of food items much before their expected time.
“Rongali is all about celebrating Assamese culture and giving a platform to the highly-skilled local entrepreneurs, who are producing some incredible products. It’s great to witness that they have been getting good response from the visitors and are making profitable business deals,” said Shyamkanu Mohanta, chief organiser of the event.
Rongali Bihu begins on April 14 this year.

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