Discussion Held on Potentials and Opportunities of Running Start-up Enterprise at the Local Level in Nepal
The Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Development Centre of Policy Research Institute (PRI), a think-tank of the government of Nepal, organized a policy discussion entitled Potential and Opportunities of Start-up Enterprise at the Local Level in Nepal on 21 November 2021. Organized at the Local Development Training Academy, Lalitpur, the half-day event was facilitated by Dr. Kalpana Khanal and Chaired by Dr. Bishnu Raj Upreti, the Executive Director of PRI.
Dr. Rajendra Khanal, the principal investigator of the start-up project presented a paper and put forward two key policy questions for discussion: whether existing policies are enough to meet the demand of start-up businesses; and, how young entrepreneurs reflect on policy implementation gaps based on their experiences.
Opening the event, Dr. Upreti stressed that young entrepreneurs are the shining stars of Nepal and their innovative business ideas need to be addressed with time-specific policy interventions. Dr. Khanal highlighted the importance of time-driven policies to develop and promote start-ups including prioritization of youth, and women for creating employment opportunities, nurturing creative and innovative ideas, and women empowerment.
Participants in the programs were young and emerging entrepreneurs from Nepal. The young who spoke in the programme were Rewati Gurung from Kokroma, Serish Dhital from Smart Tech Solution Pvt. Ltd., Suraj Raj Pandey from Fibro Nepal, Anjana Malla from Digo Nepal, Raj Kharel from Dayitwa, Karvika Thapa from KimbuTech, Nanda Kishor Mandal from Skill Lab, Supriya Bhattrai from Mitahara, Bijay Poudel from Hands-on Institute, Lumanti Shakya from Artelier Home, Prarthana Sakha from Nepalese Young Entrepreneur’s Forum Kathmandu Chapter, and Kavi Raj Joshi from Udhyami Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Some of the issues raised in the event were:
- Nepal’s import-oriented economy should be reversed, and that can be done through the promotion of start-up businesses in Nepal.
- The proper definition of start-ups should be there to differentiate start-ups from other businesses and also to ease the registration process.
- Initiation, company registration, diversification, and exit policies for start-ups need to be separated from other types of business.
- If the government could establish innovation hubs in major urban areas, it would help to create and groom innovative start-up ideas.
- Start-ups are bound to fail, perhaps due to lack of market research, government subsidies, complicated government bureaucratic procedures, lack of guidance and information, or lack of specific expertise in the particular field, but their failure should be taken as a lesson for future and government policies should prioritize start-ups despite their failure.
- One – window policy should be in place for start-ups to obtain information for counseling, mentoring, registration, production, testing, approval, legal, custom, and safety.
- The government should put forward policies for grooming women entrepreneurs in start-up businesses with special subsidies on loans, training, skill development and entrepreneurship. The problem-solving abilities of women and experience-based narratives and life lessons from the elderly, who are in the informal sector of the economy, can be the source of innovative ideas, hence, the voice of the uneducated, women, and the elderly should also be heard in entrepreneurship.
- Government policies should focus on employee training and demand-driven skills development.
- The government could focus on providing “futuristic skills” and plan for an “assembly line of skilling” to its citizens to solve the problem of unemployment among educated people.