Igniting spark

17 Dec 2017

Working in tandem is key to an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem

Niladri Parial
Kathmandu

A multitude of platforms that have sprung up to aid ideation, prototype development, and launch of a business in recent years have fuelled the desire among many to hop onto the rapidly-running bandwagon of entrepreneurship. It can, however be, be very confusing to a newcomer — with boot  camps, start-up platforms, incubators and accelerators vying for attention. The time was ripe for a key actor to play aggregator. That is what Nepal  Entrepreneurs Hub (NEHUB) did with a 5-day Spark Week from November 22-26. The idea was to bring together key sectors and actors of the  ecosystem together onto a common platform and discuss burning issues amidst established and emerging entrepreneurs. The event was planned to
coincide with the 10th anniversary celebrations of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Divided into five days of discussion and supported by Nepal Innovation Lab, Islington College, and Local Intervention Group (LIG), the event focused on five tracks discussing on various elements of starting and growing a sustainable business. Kuber Chalise, Editor, Karobar National Economic Daily, and a panel for the discussion on Media and Entrepreneurship, praised the initiative for bringing all the actors together under one roof. Chalise who
has been actively involved in promoting the ecosystem since the initial days through write-ups and columns feels that Nepal and its people should move away from the slogans  of underdevelopment and aid toward a more ambitious mindset that is focused on growth and investment. He feels that a change in the social fabric of the country is required, that does not send its brightest and hard working to foreign countries for study and  employment, instead building appropriate institutions and infrastructure to groom the youth of the country to contribute to social and economic
growth. “The media that has been  working in a scattered way to support the ecosystem, should come together and look at itself as an integral mechanism to engineer that growth, and bring awareness to the community at large,” Chalise shared.

Siddhant Raj Pandey, CEO of Business Oxygen Pvt Ltd, lauded NEHUB’s effort as an incredible composite of ideas and issues, discussed with important players and contributors of the Nepali entrepreneurial ecosystem. “There are a lot of issues concerning the investment scenario in Nepal and it was fantastic to share our experience among stakeholders and entrepreneurs. Spark Week was the right foot forward in bringing private equity
firms such as BO2 in talking about the pre-and-post investment climate in the country. At BO2 we have focused on post-investment where we build capacity, bring processes and systems to the table, and ensure that our companies follow international best practices. The platforms that exist to  support entrepreneurship are doing an excellent job in making communities aware that opportunities exist in Nepal. In my experience, FDIs that are backed by bilateral or multilaterals look for accountability, transparency, and sustainability as three major pillars leading to a successful investment. I see a tremendous opportunity in educating the current and future crop of entrepreneurs about the value of transparency and compliance with  government regulations. BO2 is more than willing to work together with organisations such as NEHUB in fostering such an environment,” opined Pandey.

Merina Ranjit, COO at Chaudhary Foundation, said that a networking platform like Spark Week is important to know all ecosystem players better. “Often organisations or people that invest are carried away by the beliefs and values that they hold dear. At events, while interacting with aspiring or current entrepreneurs, perspectives become much more broader and inclusive, acting as catalysts to future incubation and investment,” Ranjit shared.  For Suman Shakya, co-founder at NEHUB, this was a  igniting another spark among the community, one that brings everyone together to further the ecosystem’s agendas — collaborative work practices, convergence of ideas, growth and investment platforms, and triggering growth.

The writer is Founder-Owner at WriteWeavers, a specialised content development and planning company. He can be contacted at write weavers@gmail.com