“We need more effective measures to provide entrepreneurial awareness, orientations, and skills development programs to women,” say Alpaja Rajbhandari and Anuza Rajbhandari Shrestha, Co-founders of Ekadeshma

About Ekadeshma

A sustainable lifestyle brand established in 2011, Ekadesma was born out of a shared love for art-craft, and fashion, with founding principles of creating original and artsy designs using natural fabrics, which are produced locally by small scale weavers through ethical and environmentally friendly practices. 

We work with 100 percent natural Nepali crafted textiles like cotton, hemp cotton, and bamboo cotton and silk and combine this with the artisanal process of dyeing and weaving. In the hope of giving a new lease of life to locally crafted textiles still weaved in age-old traditional techniques.

Each of the products is natural, unique, ethically made, and crafted with love, care, and thought, supporting a small community group of makers, artisans, and dreamers. Each of our products is put together with skilled hands by the women of our community. Empowering local crafters and women since 2011.

Alpaja Rajbhandari is the Creative Director, Head Designer and co-founder of the brand Ekadesma, with 10+ wonderful years of experiences in the field of Fashion and design. Previously, she worked as fashion merchandiser, fashion and design instructor and teacher in Fashion College and worked in collaboration with FHAN Nepal Handicraft associations and freelance designer to different international brands.

With expertise in the field of textile designs, conceptual design, she is an expert in creating wearable and meaningful minimalistic designs for her brand Ekadesma. She has an in-depth knowledge, understanding, and vision for sustainable, slow fashion, impactful business, and women empowerment. 

Anuza Rajbhandari Shrestha is a strategic and multitasker, co- founder and Managing Director of Ekadesma. She is a member at FWEAN, SCWEC- SAARC chamber of women entrepreneur council and Board member at FBCSCI Lalitpur Women committee. A strong advocate of women empowerment, social enterprise and impactful business, she loves to be involved in different social and welfare events and believes in contributing and doing impactful work towards our communities and society we live in. She believes we are what and how we do to our society and our community.

Here’s what Alpaja Rajbhandari and Anuza Rajbhandari Shrestha say 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 entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal?

Today we might be in a better position than yester years in terms of women participation in the field of entrepreneurship. Government efforts are being taken at the national economy level but it is still not enough. Although the women population occupies over 50 percent of Nepal’s population, the government-sponsored development activities have benefitted only a very small section of women. We need more effective measures to provide entrepreneurial awareness, orientations, and skills development programs to women. Women entrepreneurs must be equipped with entrepreneurial skills to meet the changes in trends or challenges in global markets so that they are competent enough to sustain and strive for excellence.

Factors, such as potential entrants, the rivalry of firms and substitute products creates a competitive environment.  A majority of small and medium enterprises owned by women lack prior market research and business knowledge. Because of this,  women proprietors face severe problems operating businesses. Lack of access to marketing networks,  marketing information and appropriate business education deprive women entrepreneurs of voice and say in the mainstream policy discussions.  Low participation in training,  limited access to modern management methods,  technology  and consulting services are pertinent challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Nepal. Training, mentoring and exposure to a business environment can benefit women entrepreneurs. Networks and business associations play an important role in support, training, information management, and access to mentors, role models, and resources. However, women entrepreneurs in  Nepal are disadvantaged because formal and informal networks and business development services are largely dominated by men.  Women, thus, lack exposure, inhibiting their prospects of growth and expansion.

What impact will such policy change yield for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal?

If policies could be made effective and reformed accordingly in regards to these terms, then very soon we can witness the change in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal. 

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.