More and more people from the Northeast are migrating to Delhi and other cities in India in search of better lives. Not all go to find jobs. Some start their own businesses, too. We met a few of these young grassroots entrepreneurs

Diana Zhimomhi
Age: 34 Years.
Owner: Bamboo Hut

‘I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak in me’, Diana said. After graduating from Delhi University, Diana opened her first Naga restaurant in North Delhi. With the success of her first restaurant, demand grew for her to open a branch in South Delhi. In 2011, Diana opened her second ‘Bamboo Hut’ restaurant at Humayunpur. ‘Those days there were not many options for Naga cuisine in Delhi except for the Naga stall at ‘Dilli Hut ‘ Diana said. “ I am proud to say that. Bamboo Hut and another Naga restaurant opened the same year in south Delhi and introduced Naga cuisine to the locals and foreigners’. Bamboo Hut kitchen staff are mostly from Nagaland, but they have also employed few locals in their restaurants. A few years from now, she hopes to expand ‘Bamboo Hut’ restaurants in other cities in India.

Tabi Angkang
Age: 43years
Proprietor of a grocery store.
Arjun Nagar

About 15 years ago, TabiAngkang came to Delhi with some relatives in search of a better life. In 2011, seeing the opportunity, Tabi opened a small shop in Mu- nirka selling pickles and herbs from Manipur. 15 years later, she now has a shop three times the size of her first shop and sells everything from pan, vegetables, sticky rice and snacks from Manipur. With the demand from young boys and girls from the Northeastern states working in BPO’s, she has also started home cook meal business. Her shop/restaurant is open 24/7 specially catering to the BPO employees who come at a different time of the night to eat a home-cooked meal. Tabi’s elder sister helps with running the business. ‘Earning is not so great’ Tabi said, but the fact that she manages to run her house and send her daughter to get an education from the capital is something she wouldn’t have imagined if she were to live in Manipur.

Iti Baruah
Owner; Studio 17,
Malviya Nagar

Iti came to Delhi in 2012 from Guwahati to work as a fashion and beauty stylist. Side by side she also did an advanced course in makeup from a beauty Institute in Delhi. After working as a freelance for two years, Iti opened her first Salon in 2014. Studio 17 mostly caters to bridal make-up and people/events relating to the fashion world. With the increasing number of people from the NE making Delhi their home, Iti says, 70% of her clients are from the NE. ‘Today, some of the best stylist and make-up artist in India are from the Northeast. We are in high demand and the business potential is huge’. Iti said. Although she has other businesses in Assam, for now, Iti said, Delhi is where good business is, and hence, she sees herself spending more time.

 

Benao Sapan
Age: 30 years.
Owner, Benao Hairdresser

Its only been three years since Benao started her business in Delhi, but she is famous amongst the student’s community as the best hairdresser and her salon, the most reasonable for hair colouring and styling. As a trainee and later employee, Benao has worked in other metropolitan cities in India. However, according to her, Delhi is the best when it comes to business. She is happy to live and work in Delhi for now, but after gaining experiences and saving enough money, she hopes to return to Manipur and run her business there. ‘Manipur situation is getting better to do business.’ Benao said with glittering eyes and a broad smile.

Benson Kh
Age: 32 years.
Owner Bon Voyage Tik, HumayunpurChowk

Starting a business was not easy for Benson. After getting an MBA degree, his parents thought starting a business on his won was a waste of his qualification. However, as his travel agency took off, he managed to regain the trust of his parents. Benson started his travel agency and consultancy in 2012 in Delhi, and now he already has a franchise in Itanagar and Dimapur. Besides, ticketing Bon voyage also helps with the visa process and forex. ‘ Our USP is that, since we are based in Delhi, most of our clients from the Northeast trust us and get their work done through phone calls and emails.’

 

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