Discussion on need of entrepreneurial ecosystem

Samriddhi Foundation, the official host of Global Entrepreneurship Week for Nepal, engaged in celebrating the 2016 edition of the worldwide event by organizing a panel discussion entitled ‘Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Nepal’ on November 17, 2016 at Hotel Himalaya.

The event saw a panel discussion of established entrepreneurs and business persons discussing the need and ways to establishing an effective business ecosystem in Nepal.

The program saw Hon. Nabindra Raj Joshi (Minister of Industry) as its chief guest. The event was moderated by Ajay Pradhanang of Fleur Himalayan Limited. The panelists for the event included Ashutosh Tiwari, CEO, Sherpa Adventure Gear, Amod Rajbhandari, Partner, True North Associates, Deependra Chaulagain, Director, Samriddhi Foundation and Aashish Adhikari, Founder, RedMud Coffee.

The event comes under an ongoing worldwide program named ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week’. Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators, who launch startups that bring ideas to life to drive economic growth and expand human well-being. The initiative kicked off in 2008, launched by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Carl Schramm, the president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Since then, it has grown to 160 countries—with nearly 20,000 partner organizations planning more than 35,000 activities that directly engage more than 10 million people.

During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

Samriddhi Foundation has been the official host of the GEW since 2010 and has year after year, engaged with a growing group of partners in celebrating this event. This year among its various activities (including partnering to organize college events and promoting start-ups), they hosted this panel discussion with recognized faces of Nepal’s rising enterprises in order to better deliberate on the effective elements of a business ecosystem and the need for the same. The discussion revolved on the intertwining role of government and policy, and business and investment. The dialogue encompassed the need for practices to best facilitate investment and enterprise. It also involved deliberation on strengths, opportunities, and problems of the business community at large and forward possible solutions for the same.

Ashutosh Tiwari deliberated on the intricacies of a business ecosystem. He explained how innovative enterprises could link world resources and influence the whole world and thus the need to help them grow.

Amod Rajbhandari talked about why he began the business acceleration program in Nepal, having identified that businesses had vision but little strategic planning. Access to finance and business management strategies are very important for any new business, said Rajbhandari.

Aashish Adhikari shared his experience on how he began RedMud Coffee – how he, as a young college dropout, had an idea to create a business by utilizing local resources in Nepal. He engaged audiences on how he had to struggle as a young start-up with no degree who had little resource to use as collateral.

Deependra Chaulagain explained to the audience the need for a flexible policy environment that spread hope, not fear among aspiring business persons. He talked about the complications of company entry and exit in the country and why the state needed to work on reducing the days required to enter/exit a market.

Hon. Nabindra Raj Joshi, who later joined the program, said he did recognize the present bureaucratic and political issues that clouded business policies but he underlined the need to work together in order to create space for political change.

The discussion was followed by a question/answer session with the audience. Participants were primarily stakeholders in business and investment and journalists covering economics and business.  Post-panel discussion revolved around the need to activate the Ministry’s Challenge Fund, and the requirement for a clearer bond between the government and the business community.

Ajay Pradhanang concluded the discussion by stating the need for initiating the Challenge Fund, the need to improve Nepal’s standing Doing Business Report, and the importance of having to reduce time taken to enter and exit a market in Nepal. He also highlighted the need for clearer regulations on venture capital and private equity in the country.