Fascinated by the idea of innovation, running a business, creating jobs, helping people and making a name for themselves, Vedika Murarka, who belongs to a family of entrepreneurs, always dreamed of being an entrepreneur herself. She pursued Bachelors in Business Administration (specialised in Marketing) from India and then a Master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship from the London School of Economics (UK), where the idea for social enterprise, Educase started as a course project with her friends. Before beginning her own entrepreneurial journey Vedika worked in the Ministry of Industry Commerce and Supplies under Daayitwa Public Policy Fellowship and then joined the family business where she undertook various roles that helped her gain experience. She is the co-founder of Educase along with Neha Ahmed and the head of business development at Murarka Group.
Educase is a women-led social enterprise that has designed a school bag that folds into a desk for children studying in government and community schools. Educase hopes the product will give students a comfortable, personal study space at school and at home. Educase partners with organisations that fund education initiatives to buy the Educase and distribute it to students for free. Keeping the young audience in mind, the Educase is lightweight, strong, durable, weather-resistant and easy to use. Currently, Educase is only operating in Nepal. However, it aims to cater to students all around the world as most students coming from low-income households suffer from the issue of lack of proper spaces to study, affecting education performance. Through Educase, the enterprise hopes to see every student have a comfortable learning experience – one that motivates them to study and improves their overall access to education.
Here’s what Vedika Murarka says about promoting entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal:
What do you think is one of the most required policy changes in Nepal from the perspective of promoting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal?
There are 2 policies that come to mind, that I’ve had personal experience with, that could change to benefit the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal.
- To make the first step of entering into business easier: Currently, to set up your business you must pay a fee (even before generating income)/ and go through a list of complicated steps to be legally established. In many countries, in just a few simple steps one can register their business online without any fee.
- To facilitate growth of local products and services outside Nepal: since Nepalis aren’t allowed to invest outside Nepal, businesses cannot expand and set up offices and operations in other countries making export the only way to tap global markets. With all the added costs that come with export, it becomes impossible for Nepali products to compete with products/services in other countries, especially countries like India, one of the biggest economies, which is most accessible to us geographically.
What impact will such policy change yield for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal?
If the basic first step of setting up business is made easy, many entrepreneurs who are unable to follow the system and get discouraged will then be able to easily set up their business without any hassle and get a start. A good analogy I found recently was this being compared to a cover-charge for restaurants: if you have to pay a fee even before entering the restaurant, you’ll see people walk away. Removing any and all kinds of “barriers” at the start will encourage more and more people to consider building their own business.
A key driver for any business is obviously Growth. We can see many new entrepreneurs coming up with new inventions and ideas that can be applicable even outside Nepal. However, the inability to match prices with competition globally often discourages people to pursue their work or keeps them stagnant, being able to cater only to the limited population of Nepal. Opening up the opportunity to set up operations outside the country, which eventually mitigates extra costs, can easily take Nepali products to a global scale, motivating and giving hope to entrepreneurs to aim for a much larger audience and be able to grow their businesses much more than people could hope for before. This not only encourages entrepreneurship but also fosters innovation and recognition to the Nepali economy’s ability to compete globally.
As a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2021, Samriddhi Foundation asked Nepali entrepreneurs what they think is the most pressing policy change to promote the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal. In this series, Samriddhi Foundation will feature two entrepreneurs a day through the #GEW2021 week, starting from November 8 to November 14, 2021.