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A Nepali Entrepreneurs Handbook - “Share freely,

Version 2.0 Share


: “Share freely, widely”
Share widely”
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A NepalI Entrepreneur’s handbook


version 2.0 (January 2011)

E4n: STORIES, ADVICE AND NETWORKS

20 Entrepreneurs share their stories


about starting business in Nepal

Entrepreneurs for Nepal (E4N)


WWW.E4NEPAL.COM
A Nepali Entrepreneurs Handbook - Version 2.0 : “Share freely, Share widely”
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Click here to join E4N on Facebook


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Contents
4 Entrepreneurs for Nepal (E4N): Introduction 43 ANIL SHAH, CEO & Founder, Mega Bank
6 ANIL CHITRAKAR, Social entrepreneur 45 CHANDRA TIWARI, Owner, Nina and Hager
9 Birendra Basnyet, Managing director of Buddha Air 47 YOGENDRA MAN SHAKYA, Tourism Entrepreneur
11 Anand Bagaria, Founder, Nimbus Group and Coordinator of Nepal Tourism Year 2011
13 KIRAN KRISHNA SHRESTHA, Team Leader, Nepa~laya 49 Acknowledgements
15 MAHENDRA MAN SHAKYA Founder, Momo King Restaurants 50 About the E4N core team
16 KIRAN BHAKTA JOSHI, Founder, Incessant Rain Animation Studios 52 Photos of the interactions
18 BAL KRISHNA JOSHI, Founder, thamel.com
20 TASHI SHERPA, Founder, Sherpa Adventure Gear
22 JONAS LINDBLOM, Founder, Isadora Cosmetics in Nepal
24 ASHUTOSH TIWARI, CEO, Himalmedia
Though every effort was made to
27 MIN BAHADUR GURUNG, Founder, Bhatbhateni Supermarket make this Version 2.0 error-free,
29 AMBICA SHRESTHA, Chairperson, Dwarika’s Group of Hotels if you find errors, mistakes and
typos, please let us know at
31 KARNA SHAKYA, Founder, Kathmandu Guest House
info@e4nepal.com
33 GYANENDRA LAL PRADHAN, Managing Director, HydroSolutions
We will make corrections before
35 AJAY GHIMIRE, CEO, Vibor Bank
Version 3.0 comes out in Summer
37 ICCHYA BAHADUR TAMANG, Managing Director, Civil Group 2011.”
39 BJORN SODERBERG, Founder, Websearch Professionals Pvt. Ltd
41 PRABAL GURUNG, International Fashion Designer, USA

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Entrepreneurs for Nepal use the Networking Session as way to get 3) “Sounding Board” (E4N
(E4N) to know others. E4N hosts these monthly Mentoring Session)
networking sessions in partnerships with
We are a network of driven, creative, Samriddhi, ChangeFusion and Nepal Young There is a term in ecology called ecosystem.
helpful and entrepreneurially-minded Entrepreneurs Forum (NYEF). In an ecosystem, each species depends on
individuals who have scalable for-profit and needs others to survive. Minus one or
and non-profit ideas, and are looking to two species, other species can suffer to the
implement those ideas in and for Nepal. 2) “Boot Camp” (E4N Training point of extinction. The lesson is: everyone
Session) needs everyone else for survival.
As of early January 2011, this network
consists of over 3,000 like-minded people A boot camp is an intensive training session Taking that metaphor to heart, E4N
from all over the world. on an aspect of running a business. In believes that entrepreneurship does
2010, E4N conducted two boot camps for not exist in vacuum. Entrepreneurship
The E4N network is also a platform that entrepreneurs and business-owners. Those too needs an ecosystem of advisors,
does these four activities. boot camps were well-received. In 2011, investors and financiers, lawyers,
incubation centers, regulators, landlords,
E4N aims to run a boot camp once every managers, accountants, media, designers,
1) “Last Thursday” (E4N two months on topics such as finance, programmers, and so on to survive and
Networking Session) human resource management, strategy, thrive. As such, E4N is committed to help
operations, sales and marketing, IT, create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that
E4N hosts a monthly Networking Session entrepreneurship, and the like. makes entrepreneurship all the more
on the evening of the last Thursday of every possible in and for Nepal.
English month. The tone of the networking At nominal fees, these boot camps are
session is informal and conversational. It primarily aimed at owners of businesses One additional way E4N aims to do that
usually features a talk by a prominent or and those who have already started their in 2011 is by regularly hosting – at various
interesting entrepreneur/businessperson. businesses. cafes in Kathmandu -- advisory and
mentoring sessions called Sounding Board.
The talk is followed by a lively Q & A and Keep an eye on your Facebook email for If you are already running a business,
tea. Attendance is free, and early comers announcements about E4N boot camps or thinking of starting one, and need to
usually get a seat. All attendees are in 2011. Start by Joining the free group by brainstorm or think through your ideas,
encouraged to bring business cards, and clicking on the footer below. think of signing up for a free Sounding

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Board session. E4N will listen to what you A Nepali translation is available. Please Our Partners are:
have to say, and provide feedbacks that check “Entrepreneurs for Nepal” Facebook
may improve your business. One clear group for details. Do let us know how we The team at Samriddhi, the Prosperity
advantage of taking part in an individual, can make continuous improvement on the Foundation
informal yet confidential Sounding Board Handbook. The next version will come out Luna Shrestha Thakur & the team at
session is that you may get perspectives, in Summer 2011. ChangeFusion Nepal
know-how and contacts that are not Dwarika’s Hotel, Battisputali
available if you only think or struggle Nepal Youth Entrepreneur Forum, NYEF of
alone. Visit the E4N Facebook group about FNCCI
information on when and where Sounding
Boards take place. E4N Team:

Ashutosh Tiwari
4) Entrepreneurs’ Handbook Jaya Burathoki “ e4n is a platform
Robin Sitoula
(E4N Knowledge Sharing)
Sagar Onta for Nepali
You are either holding this in your hand Sanjib Subba
Ujwal Thapa
entrepreneurs TO
or reading it on a screen. Updated once
every six months or so, this Handbook is network, SHARE
an evolving knowledge-sharing document. Click here to visit our website at
It contains Last Thursday talk summaries, www.e4nepal.com CONTACTS AND SEEK
tips on doing business and other relevant
Write to us at info@e4nepal.com advice, mentorship
information. It is free, easily downloadable,
available to all, and you may use its
Find FREE updated versions of this
and POTENTIAL
contents for any purpose that you see fit.
document, Nepali translations and investments ”
We have seen that previous version of the more on website below.
Handbook was used as a learning material
in MBA classes, as a sourcebook in training http://www.scribd.com/e4nepal
programs, and parts of it were republished
in mainstream national newspapers.

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Anil Chitrakar there? What about hand sanitizers, whose percent of bacteria. So you need some sort
Social Entrepreneur key ingredient is Aloe Vera. In Nepal, of certification. The main point here is,
you find it everywhere but why have
Anil Chitrakar asks, “Who do you think not Nepalese converted Aloe Vera into a Lesson 2: There are potential
made money in South Africa World product? There is knowledge gap about the opportunities everywhere but a lot of
Cup in 2010)? What about the vuvuzela fact that the plant actually has that use. resources are needed to turn it to a
manufacturer in China? Or the Nepali The technology gap, to convert that plant product.
manufacturer of crazy hats who made into the lotion. Action to get it done. The
hats of different countries? So it’s not just Let’s get to the world cup one more time.
South Africa that made the money in World Potentially, Nepalese can make money in
Cup. What about Paul, the octopus and its the next world cup by allowing the teams
owner who was offered a role in Hollywood to practice at high altitude football fields in
movie. How Paul the octopus made money Nepal. They can come and play in Thaplu
but not the green parrot in Ratnapark. All airport for a fee because if they can play
we needed was 32 cards and a parrot to at 20,000 ft, they should be really good
choose the right card among the 32. playing at sea level. So, what will it take to
More than that, you need the media and make that into reality?
network. I don’t think it’s the octopus that
did the trick, and it’s the media that did the Infrastructure, as in the ability to bring
trick.” them to Nepal, house, feed them and a
little bit of electricity. Marketing it to very
LESSON 1: It is not enough to have a good specific groups like players, coaches who
idea; it is also important to have the right are seeking for special training grounds.
network and support for success. The question is, can you pull all this
together?
In western Nepal, development agencies
have spent a lot of money teaching people action requires resources like land to plant
how to wash their hand. But people there Aloe Vera, a bottling system, etc. Once you
don’t have enough water to drink, so they make these sanitizers, how do you know
are not going to wash their hands. We it works? A technical lab that certifies and
can ask, is there any business opportunity says that this sanitizer will kill this much

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“ It is possible in five years. So, how the market understands


the technology is that, I get clean light and I
with which you can cook, so people living
outside the national parks don’t have to
Nepal to provide have unlimited radio for five years which is enter the park for firewood and save time.
almost 1,600 nights for Rs 3,500. So if I use However, the villagers were skeptical at
solar lighting to this technology for 500 nights and pay Rs. every step, even when they could see the
7 a day for 500 days, the technology is free benefits they complained that only people
almost every home for me for 1,100 more night. This way, the close to ruling party got it. Now there
in the country willingness to pay comes about. This is how
we are able to expand our business through
are around 37 companies that build over
200,000 bio-gas plants. This all became
because we have saving and credits groups. possible by going to the parliament,
working with the Natural Resource
good sunshine all Now would you like to charge your mobile Committee and changing the National Park
the time ” phone with the technology too? With a
small connector, villagers can charge their
Act to allcoate 30-40% its revenue to the
community to build the plants.
mobile while the sun is shining, for no extra
Let me say how this business plan is made.
cost. Now we took the next step i.e. the Lesson 4: In business, you have to be
In Nepal, the poorest family spends Rs.7/- a
chlorinator- if you take table salt and mix creative at every stage and find solutions
day on light (kerosene) and communication
water and you put three watts of energy to your problms (especially in Nepal where
(radio). The solar tukki that we have
into it, the sodium chloride becomes many people are skeptical of new ideas
designed has a three watt solar panel, two
chlorine. If you put a drop of chlorine with and change).
sets of LED’s and it has battery storage to
the Aloe Vera and make it into a lotion, it
play the radio, but it costs Rs. 3,500. How
will become a hand sanitizer. This is not Baghmara, a community forest in Chitwan
can you design a technology that cost Rs.3,
rocket science. National Park has 43 elephants which make
500/- and sell it to the people who can pay
4 trips/day into the forest with 3 tourists
Rs.7/- a day.
Lesson 3: How do you understand your who pay Rs.1500 each. Now if you multiply
market, leverage your technology, finance 43*3*4*1500- you get US$ 10,000 a day.
So, if I wanted to sell it directly to the
it and add value? So one community is earning US$ 10,000/
people, there is no market. But we sold the
day. Now the question would be how
technology to the saving and credit group,
There’s another example of bio gas which many people in this room know how to
they then give it to the families on credit
is a simple technology. If you put the cow ride an elephant? Another example, Appa
and everyday the families deposit Rs. 7 with
manure on a pan, it generates methane gas Sherpa has climbed Everest 20 times or so.
the group. The technology is designed for

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From a business perspective, if you take it would be no fun watching it because it this aayog that aayog, but no one was
two expeditions to Everest, you can buy a would be like Nepal. Now the next thing is punished. Now the third part is the word
house in California. So, Appa has taken 20 that there are consequences. For example, ‘competition’. In World Cup 32 teams from
expeditions to the Everest and made lots if you play foul, you get a yellow card and small and big countries play. Spain became
of money. Now the question again in this if you do it again, you get a red card and the world champion but Switzerland beat
room is, how many of you know how to are out of the game and then further Spain. Why? Because it is a competition
climb Everest? consequences apply. and in a fair competition, size does not
matter.
So, in the country like ours where there are
“ So the argument no consequences, what happens is not fun.
E4N
of Nepal being poor, We don’t like to watch it because so many
have come and gone like Rayamaji Aayog,
full of problems
and not having any
potential to make
money is ridiculous ”
Lesson 5: We need to develop the right
skill set to match that potential. So that is
what we really have to think of as we go
forward as a society.

So, to wrap this up, lets go back to football.


Why is it so fascinating to spend one
month, losing all that sleep, watching
football? Why is it our passion to watch
football? There are three things. The first
one is, rules are same for everybody. If the
rules were different for different people,

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Birendra Basnet from a middle class family, opening up an LESSON 1: STICK TO YOUR CORE VALUE.
Managing director, airline company seemed like a joke. Even
Buddha Air our own family members made fun of us. The most important thing we do is respect
They mocked, “You don’t have NRs. 5,000 and take care of our staff. We have around
“My family background is basically in in your pocket but you are attempting 600 staff and they are our major strength.
agriculture so, I am a first generation a project worth three hundred million If we do not respect our team members,
entrepreneur (outside of agriculture). The rupees?” we cannot be profitable. There is a
reason behind opening Buddha Air was, union in Buddha Air but it is not political.
simply, creation of wealth” There were many factors which made it Despite the union, we are free to take
possible though, especially our strategic actions in the matters of human resource
Fourteen years ago, when we were plan and action for the company. Some management and we can even fire the
establishing Buddha Air, we didn’t major values Buddha Air represents are workers in necessary conditions. The union
have any equity and hence we started diligence, integrity and honesty. We have understands that if any of the staff makes a
with debt finance. Looking back, the been practicing these three values very mistake, it will hamper the entire team. Let
determination that we had was the key seriously. me share with you a situation, during one
for the establishment of Buddha Air. Being of our lowest time. In 2001, the aviation

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industry wasn’t doing great. There was getting calls after that. Strategic decisions of Buddha Air are- firstly
an extremely unhealthy competition in our total focus was on our loan reduction.
aviation sector and to make matter worse, LESSON 3: PRACTICE SOUND FINANCIAL We have paid billions of rupees of loan and
we were in dire financial state. We called DISCIPLINE & FOCUS. has created an excellent track record with
all our staff together and decided to reduce financial institutions. Every entrepreneur
30% of our salaries, just so we can sustain In my view, one of our major strength is should be very careful about loan and loan
the company. Understanding the situation, our focus in only one business. In 2009, reduction. Secondly, we never compromise
everyone agreed to cut their salaries. In IFC and World Bank told us that out of five on quality or safety. Every year we spend
the end, we didn’t have to reduce the airlines in the world that have generated hundreds of millions of rupees to train our
salary but the incident demonstrated our net profit, Buddha Air is one of them. And staff. Our pilots regularly go to America,
relationship with staff. We have also been the main reason behind our success is our Bangkok etc. for simulations trainings and
able to justify our profits and have provided core competency. In 14 years of operation, our engineers go for training every year. We
bonus to all our staff. we are focused in one part of the sector. have a huge amount of spare parts and we
Aviation industry has huge cash flow and have not compromised a bit in training our
Another important thing is we have a right now the turnover of domestic industry staff. Besides this, it is also important for
transparent account and we pay all the is around six billion rupees. the staff to feel the sense of belongingness.
taxes. Let me also tell you that I don’t know Buddha Air is the property of more than
anyone from the tax office. This kind of 600 staff members.
transparency is highly valued by our staff. “ The importance
LESSON 2: BE TRANSPARENT and LOOK
of transparent Another strategy is- we generally try
to anticipate future problems and we
AFTER YOUR TEAM. accounting is that try to list out the solutions before the
problems occur. Finally, we pay attention to
One of my proud moments was when the we can leverage our innovation. We do not follow precedents.
government called me to pay 10% of all my If we had followed precedents, Buddha Air
income so far in the VDIS scheme. Due to
financial position to wouldn’t have existed in the first place.
the transparency we maintained, I was able
to reply back saying that if they wanted
reduce risk ”
10%, they would have to return the 15% Hence there are tempting opportunities E4N
or the 25% of our income we had already to diversify the work but we would not
paid for all those years as taxes. I stopped want to drift from our core competencies.

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Anand Bagaria failed attempt at his father’s ball-point Lesson 1: Never give up.
Founder, Nimbus Group manufacturing company, Mr. Bagaria says,
While he was juggling a few things, he met
Most of us have learnt that success does a gentleman who was the agent for India
not come overnight. This holds true for and Nepal for the largest enzyme producing
Anand Bagaria too, managing director company in the world. He discussed about
of Pro Bio-Tech Industries and Nimbus an enzyme which sold about five tons a
International Co, one of Nepal’s leading month in the poultry sector in Nepal. Even
agro-business enterprise. It took him 15 though Mr. Bagaria knew nothing about
years to reach where he is today. Like any poultry or enzymes, he believed the agent
other kid, he too wanted to become a and got into the business right away. That
doctor, engineer or pilot while growing up. was a big mistake but a blessing in disguise,
says Mr. Bagaria. Two or three months later,
However, in the second year of his he sadly realized that the market for the
college, he realized that he was not enzyme was much smaller.
made to take jobs under anyone owing
to his own temperament. He started to But in the whole process, he met a lot of
export handicraft from Nepal to US during poultry farmers, especially in Chitwan and
his college days in India. He sent a few felt he finally found his niche. He learned
consignments but was unable to make that it was not an ordinary business, but
a profit. Around 1994, when he finished “One thing that I was a science. There was more research
his engineering, he chose to start his own on poultry nutrition than human nutrition.
business with the determination that, even
always had in me Another interesting finding was, it had very
if he only started a shop, he would be his
own boss. And that counted a lot for him.
is that every time I high turnover of around 15 to 20 billion
rupees annually. The livestock value is close
fail, I jumped back to 50 billion rupees, which is a significant
Even though he had no money in his amount in Nepal’s context.
pocket, many business ideas ran through with more vigor,
his mind, like running a consultancy, an
advertising agency or a motor garage.
enthusiasm and What got him further interested was that
there were no big players in the sector.
After numerous failures, including a determination” He recognized the opportunity but knew

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nothing about the technical aspects of the Managing the resources, analyzing the country to deal with countless “bandhs”
industry. risks, etc., were some of the issues he and other instabilities in the country. That
faced. But after lots of study, discussion turned out to be a sound idea as it made
and persuasion by international experts, he it easier to distribute his product to his
“ Being an engineer, decided to invest. He can now proudly say farmers.So he opened depot close to your
biology was that the entire dynamics of the business
has changed due to the technology.
customer to deal with “bandhs”

something I needed The company’s turnover in 2009 was 2


Lesson 2: Study new technology and billion rupees and in 2010 they are heading
to master over a embrace it if it meets your need. for 3.5 billion.
short period of In early days, the farmers would not Nimbus buys a lot of maize, soya, wheat
time so that I could accept his products. So he came up with and different kind of products to make the
an idea: if the farmers lost money by using feeds. In the last ten years, it has been able
learn everything his product, he would compensate. But if to establish itself as a reliable and high-
they made profit, they had to tell others quality brand. It has a large network of
about running this about the product. That worked very well. farmers and about 500 dealers across the
business ” In 2004, when he first started, 100 tons
of feed was sold in the first month. In the
country, mostly in rural areas.

second month he sold around 200 tons. His next plan is to leverage thier rural
In this environment, he met one of the
Today, they sell 6,500 tons of feed every network and attempt to provide rural
fastest growing Indian companies and
month with a target of reaching 10,000 population with micro financing and micro
established an arrangement where
tons per month. banking which would essentially help
his company would produce poultry
the agriculture sector and establish the
feeding supplements. In the process, he
Lesson 3: Best way to sell your product company as a major catalyst in bringing
understood the market better. The feed
is to offer a win-win situation with your another major change in the agricultural
they were producing was unique with lots
customer. sector of Nepal.
of potential.
The company is working to improve E4N
But to increase production required new
its distribution model. The company
technology and a lot of capital investment.
developed about 14 depots across the
He recalls the difficulty in taking decisions.

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KIRAN KRISHNA SHRESTHA found was not encouraging. “While talking degrading the value of books by making it
Team Leader, Nepa~laya to different publishers, what I realized was commercial. “For me, book readers are the
that none of the publishers was author- consumers. From a marketing perspective,
The name Nepa~laya was derived from oriented. We identified this scope and you have to let people know that the
the words “Nepa”, which means Nepal in started publishing books,” shared Mr. product is launched and available in the
Newari language and “laya”, which means Shrestha. market. And more importantly, you have to
music in Nepali. Kiran Krishna Shrestha, make the product available and accessible
Team Leader of Nepa~laya explains that to the consumers,” defended Mr. Shrestha.
Nepa~laya is a book publisher, event This approach led to Mayur Times being
manager, music producer, movie maker, available in book stores across 46 districts
and photo exhibitor. They manage the of Nepal on the day of the launch and also
folk-rock band Nepathya and also organise informing the public about the book shops
the Paleti series with renowned artists of where the book would be available.
yesteryears.

They have published books of Narayan “ Kathmandu is not


Wagle (Palpasa Café and Mayur Times),
Kunda Dixit (A People War trilogy)
the only viable
and Sanjeeb Uprety (Ghanchakkar). In market in Nepal ”
documentaries, their first project was
Bheda Ko Oon Jasto in 2003. “That film was
an opportunity to redefine documentaries The launch of Mayur Times dispelled the
in Nepal. We tested how we can general perception that the book market
successfully show non-fiction films to the in Nepal was limited to Kathmandu. Even
public. Probably Bheda Ko Oon Jasto was though most publishers had recommended
the first non-fiction film to be released in a (LESSON #1: them to print only about 1,000 copies,
cinema hall in Nepal”, he elaborated. Books come and go, but if publishers 10,000 copies were sold out in two weeks
promote the authors, they will be and 40 percent of the sales was made
When Narayan Wagle was writing Palpasa encouraged to write more books). outside Kathmandu.
Cafe, Nepa~laya conducted research to
assess the book market but what they Some people criticized Nepa~laya for LESSON #2:

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Kathmandu is not the only viable market


in Nepal.
“ Whatever we have E4N words of wisdom:
achieved till date
After showing Bheda ko Oon Jasto in Some accounting-finance thoughts:
different places around the country, they was driven purely
had initially planned to show it at Jai Nepal
Cinema for a week at one show a day as
by our passion for 1. Always focus on gross margins. A
gross margin is the difference between
they thought that only few people would
come to watch a documentary with such
what we do ” what you sell your stuff for (i.e. sales)
and what it cost you to produce (COGS)
expensive ticket price. But even though the
it. Make the gross margin as large as
length of the documentary was 85 minutes There are difficulties in selling music
reasonably possible. This way, you will
and the price of the ticket was the same as because the music market is not yet
have money to pay for sales, marketing,
that of a regular show, 90% of the tickets developed in Nepal. But he and his team
was sold. are committed to try to change the admin and other expenses.
scenario. He shared that their interests in
“This explains that there is scope in the contributing to the sports sector also led to 2. Not all customers are equal. Spend
market but you should know how to tap it a tour with NRT football club for matches more time developing relationships with
(LESSON #3),” against local clubs throughout Nepal. your high-margin customers. These are
the people who help you have big gross
Nepa~laya organizes solo concerts, even According to him, the work they do is margins that help grow your business.
though there is no culture of solo concerts not for commercial purposes hence one
in Nepal. The same quality is maintained cannot plan and focus on profit/loss too 3. Do not equate sales with cash. Do not
everywhere, even outside Kathmandu. He much beforehand. For him, this business is have a “sales mentality”. You can make
highlighted that they always start and end passion driven and they thoroughly enjoy a lot of sales, and still have no cash and
the concerts on time and everyone has what they are doing.
may even go out of business because it
appreciated this effort.
takes time, sometimes a very long time,
E4N to collect cash from your customers.
So, focus more on collecting cash (i.e.
having a good cash flow) than on merely
making sales after sales.

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MAHENDRA MAN SHAKYA a restaurant, Mr. Shakya and his brothers soon as they saw, by the buzz of customers,
Founder, Momo King jumped in with enthusiasm. the restaurant doing well, they would raise
Restaurants, Kathmandu They ran into several problems: the rent unilaterally. Negotiating these
repeated changes proved to be difficult at
Mr. Shakya returned to Kathmandu from First, the issue of workers: In the times. For a restaurant, when you change
Boston, USA in 1995, after spending seven restaurant business, the hardest part is locations a few times, costs mount up.
years in the USA. There, he had seen recruiting and retaining workers, and
how franchise-driven restaurants such as there’s a high turnover. Most who come in And third, the issue of partnerships:
McDonald’s, Burger King did well by selling are in their first jobs, and as soon as they Mr. Shakya had teamed up with a local
fast food to billions of customers. get some experience, they leave to join momo maker, who had an existing momo
business. Mr. Shakya partnered with him.
On returning to Nepal, he saw that momos Mr. Shakya had perfected a secret sauce,
had become somewhat of a fast food in which he thought was the restaurant’s
Kathmandu. This gave him an idea: Why ‘killer app’ or ‘key to success’. But when the
not start a chain of momo restaurants, and partnership collapsed, the partner walked
expand by handing out franchise rights to out with the secret recipe.
those who were interested in managing
and operating momo restaurants in Mr. Shakya’s advice when starting a
different parts of Kathmandu? location-based business in Nepal,
1) spend a lot of time hiring good people,
The idea, though simple, proved to be get everything in writing
much harder to carry out in practice. In
the restaurant business, location is all that 2) use proper lawyers and accountants,
matters. But landlords at most decent other restaurants or to work in the Gulf and negotiate well with landlords.
and commercially active locations were There were some who became political
not keen to rent out space for momo trouble-makers at the restaurant later on. 3) Of course, pay attention to who you
restaurants. One reason was that at the are partnering with. This way, you save
time, in the mid-90s, the image and the Second, the issue of landlords: Mr. Shakya yourself a lot of grief.
hygienic conditions of road-side momo had to move the restaurants to several
restaurants left much to be desired. locations because landlords would not E4N
Despite having no background in running abide by the contractual agreement. As

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KIRAN BHAKTA JOSHI a team of 250 artists and technologists passion in animation due to pressure from
Founder and CEO, working under him was not easy for Mr. my parents. So, I am studying management.
Incessant Rain Animation Joshi. On top of that, he was aware of the Would you be able to help me?”. The
Studios, Kathmandu doubts among his potential clients whether question struck Mr. Joshi. Realizing the
an animation studio in Nepal would deliver level of the boy’s passion and impressed
Mr. Kiran Bhakta Joshi left his job of 18 the quality and turnaround they were with the talent pool of the young artists in
years at the Walt Disney Studios in Los seeking. Kathmandu, he decided it was time to open
Angeles, USA to start his own studio in an animation studio in Nepal.
Kathmandu - Incessant Rain Animation The year 2007 was the turning point in his
Studios. Why, one may ask, would an life. When he came to Nepal for the funeral
established professional risk opening an “Employees are
animation studio for Hollywood production
in politically-unstable Nepal, of all the
the most valuable
places in the world? assets of a business”
That is as rare as US First Lady Michelle Incessant Rain now employs around 60
Obama recently wearing a Nepali designer young animators who work on computer
Prabal Gurung’s creation. The answer lies in graphics projects of Hollywood productions
the strength of Nepali diaspora in creating and US TV series. While majority of the
opportunities in Nepal, and opening a new company’s business comes from the US,
industry and career line for young Nepalis. the company has also produced animation
for Nepali firms like Ace Development Bank
With a background in computer software, and World Food Program (WFP).
Mr. Joshi started working in Walt Disney of a relative, his friend Sanjib Rajbhandari
as a graphics software developer. One of suggested opening a studio in Nepal. Mr. Joshi believes that setting up of a
his projects was developing the animation business is easy but sustaining it is difficult.
system used for the movie “Beauty and the He then spent three weeks in small As he shuttles between Nepal and the US,
Beast”, which went on to be nominated animation boutiques in Kathmandu. In he is finding it difficult to spend time in
for the Best Picture at the 1992 Academy one of his visits, Mr Joshi was impressed Nepal to ensure quality of the products.
Awards. Leaving a rewarding 18 year old by a 19-year old boy’s portfolio. However, In the future, he hopes to find the right
job with a post of Head of Production and the boy said “I am not able to pursue my people to help him maintain quality.

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1. “Employees are the most valuable the universities in Kathmandu to start


While doing business in Nepal, he is assets of a business.” He says that it is very an animation academy to nurture fresh
facing the challenge of meeting deadlines important to connect with every employee talents inside Nepal.
of international clients due to frequent because even a single person with an ego
bandhs (strikes) and load-shedding. can jeopardize the work process. E4N
Despite these challenges, he sees bright
hope for Nepal due to cheaper labor force, 2. Young employees are easier to train
untapped resources, rich culture and than experienced employees due to their
diversity. The goal of the studio is not just willingness to accept new ideas.
to work on projects from the US, but take
the rich folk stories of Nepal to the world, 3. It is important to make sure the
just like “Jungle Book”, a story from India employees are having fun during work
that became a famous animation. He finds but at the same time discipline should be
Nepal rich in tales of Yaks and Yetis and enforced.
other folklores.
4. Salaries at his studio are based on
His firm has successfully used the yaks and the productivity and the quality of the
the one-horned rhino for the animation animation that his staff can create. He
advertisements of World Food Program even helps his staff to go abroad if they
(WFP) and Ace Development Bank, want because he believes those people
respectively. He believes these would help will gain better knowledge and return.
to showcase the country’s local identity. In
the long-term, he hopes to focus on brand 5. Networking is very important for
building and creating intellectual property. entrepreneurs and no one should
underestimate its power. Most of Mr.
At the E4N interaction program, Mr. Joshi’s clients in the US are established
Joshi shared his experience of opening due to networking.
and running a business in Nepal with
international clientèle. 6. Hunting for talent is an arduous process
and he looks forward to collaborate with

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BAL KRISHNA JOSHI studying abroad. These students used return to their old jobs. While discussing
Founder, thamel.com the platform to connect to their relatives their business plan at a bar, a friend who
and friends in Nepal. Bal remembered a was a bit tipsy suggested that they start
Bal Krishna Joshi argues that he is likely to website called 1800flowers.com which selling ‘Khasi’ (live goats) online.
be the most famous “goat-seller” in the used to sell flowers online, and had made
world. Bal is the co-founder of thamel.com, millions while going public. He and his Bal got most excited by this seemingly
an internet e-commerce portal that sells friend thought of starting something similar crazy idea, and he quickly implemented it.
goods online – enabling expatriate Nepalis in Nepal to sell goods on the web. Though it started with much skepticism,
to purchase gifts, which are then delivered today this idea has made him perhaps the
in Nepal by the staff of thamel.com, most famous goat seller in the country,
including goats during the annual Dashain even in the world.
festival.
When thamel.com started taking orders
What made Bal an entrepreneur? from Nepalis abroad to deliver goats to
their families in Nepal, their customers
Quite simply this: His dislike for a regular asked what if the goat died. How would
nine-to-five job, and his reluctance to the customers know that they really got
work for a corporation. the goat that their sons and daughters
had ordered from abroad? Plagued by
His search for new opportunities led him to uncertainty, Bal went to observe and study
the IT industry. With a friend, Bal thought the goat selling process by goat traders
of building an information portal. That was in Kathmandu. He solved the problem
how thamel.com came about. The duo’s of information uncertainty by arranging
initial step was to cater to the needs of the to take and send digital pictures of the
site visitors by creating a chat platform. It was the Dashain festival of 2001 that ordered goats to customers.
gave Bal the lucky break he deserved.
The platform was also intended for the Driven to the brink of shutdown, he and By the third week, thamel.com sold goats
vendors to connect to their prospective his partners had made a decision to give worth 50,000 US dollars. Not only did
customers to sell their products. But to the the portal one last chance. If the business this idea of selling goats online to US- UK-
founders’ surprise, they found that most failed to pick up during the then upcoming based Nepalis for their families in Nepal
of the users consisted of Nepali students Dashain-Tihar sales season, they would took off, it also made Bal and his company

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financially successful.
4. While hiring people make sure they E4N words of wisdom:
The added bonus was that it also got believe in the cause you are working on. Here are 10 quick tips for those
him famous all over the world when he interested in starting up your own
was featured by TV channels such as the 5. Finding a talented workforce is hard organizations or business:
BBC World Service. “Bhai Tika”, another and retaining them is even harder.
religious festival, also drove business up, as 1. Learn to Delegate – But learn
every present thamel.com delivered carried 6. Never ignore the social cost of your
sentiment of sisters for their brothers. economic activities. everything still.
Moved by the sentimental value of gifts, Bal 2. Regroup quickly after a crisis -the
changed the slogan of thamel.com to, E4N end is only when you end.

“ we are the 3. Stop comparing . Do what you

believe is right.
Messenger of
4. Bet on your heart. But go slow.
Sentiments ” 5. Improve your product or services
Some thoughts from Bal Krishna Joshi for each day.
aspiring entrepreneurs:
6. Write a blog (diary). Re-read it
1. Always think what the final consumer frequently.
sees and thinks when designing a product
7. Do small experiments. Always.
or service.
8. Often say No. Often.
2. Don’t complain about the obstacles
9. Celebrate small successes.
along your way. Try to turn them into
opportunities. 10. Focus on creating “culture”.

3. Keep seeking new opportunities.

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TASHI SHERPA altitude porters and skilled technical mind, as he started making a transition
Founder, Sherpa Adventure climbers, Sherpas’ contributions are from his ready-made garment business
Gear immense to mountaineering expeditions. (which did not do too well because of the
Unlike the mountaineers, the work of phasing out of the global quota on ready-
“Sherpa Adventure Gear”, the name itself Sherpas is not heralded, and they often live made garments) to high-end sports wear
gave goose bumps to the Marketing and in poor economic conditions. business.
Brand Manager of another global apparel
company when it was first mentioned in a
discussion. “That’s the effect a brand name “ Having knowledge
should have”, says Tashi Sherpa, the owner
of Sherpa Adventure Gear (SAG).
of all aspects
of a business is
SAG is a globally competitive company,
which counts North Face and Eastern important but
Mountain Sports as its competitors. It
manufactures and sells adventure clothes
getting your hands
and trekking gears-- all manufactured by
Nepalis in Nepal. Presently, the company is
into everything
exporting to 13 countries around the world might create
from its headquarters in a swanky new
five-storey building in Naxal, Kathmandu. disorder in your
The flagship store has a research and
development unit, and a bed and breakfast
business ”
outfit that caters to their visiting foreign
So as your company grows, you must
buyers.
learn to delegate work, and trust your
employees.
The story behind how SAG happened is a
story of luck meeting an opportunity.
Since its founding, SAG has been
His uncle was one of the original Sherpas He wanted to do something to honor
sponsoring the best high altitude climbers
on Sir Edmund Hillary’s celebrated these unsung heroes. That’s when the
in the world, the Sherpas, to test its
expedition in 1953. He knew that as high- name Sherpa Adventure Gear came to his
products. The Sherpa Brand Ambassador

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is paid a royalty based on sales, and up and emphasize on hiring honest and
to $0.50 from every product sold goes to passionate people. Despite the political
a special fund for the education of the turbulence going inside and outside the
underprivileged Sherpa children in Nepal. country,
Although he had always been in the
garment industry it was not easy for him to Mr. Sherpa seems cool and confident to
operate SAG because the clothes made in compete in the world market with the label
SAG are of superior quality. He did not have “Made in Nepal”.
the technical knowledge of manufacturing
adventure clothes and trekking gear. But
he said that it is never too late to learn,
especially when one is passionate. “a businessperson
So, once he saw the market potential
should have
of Sherpa-brand adventure clothes, he control over the
learned all the functions such as designing,
manufacturing, sourcing the raw materials, quality of the
packaging, marketing and exporting.
products, and take
The first business he started was without
any proper planning but it was a learning
control of the sales
experience. He shared his lessons here. and marketing”
Lesson #1: A proper business plan is the
initial step to establish any business. This is his secret of success as he plans to
keep the “Made in Nepal” flag flying high.
Lesson #2: Never get into a price war but
focus on differentiating your product from
competitors. E4N
Lesson #3: Delegate responsibility

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JONAS LINDBLOM Mr. Lindblom is running two companies
Founder, Isadora Cosmetics in Nepal - Artamus Nepal (P) Ltd., and L&L Mr. Lindblom has started different
in Nepal House of Commerce (P) Ltd. Artamus Nepal businesses with his family. They have
is an internet marketing for European continued to invest in different sectors
Mr. Lindblom is from Sweden. He’s married clients while L&L House of Commerce is such as coffee, IT, cosmetics, while running
to a Nepali woman, and considers Nepal a trading and investment company. The an import and export business. He thinks
as his karmabhoomi. He’s been active latter company focuses on introducing high that companies of Nepal are small so they
getting entrepreneurship going by opening quality products from Scandinavia and need to work together otherwise they
showrooms of Isadora Cosmetics in exporting unique Nepali products to the cannot succeed in both the local and global
Kathmandu. markets.

The market in India was very complicated However, there is a culture of mistrust
and it was difficult to do business there. among entrepreneurs in Nepal, which
There are many middlemen in India and hinders their growth. While competition
various agents are involved in almost every is the mother of invention in an open
sector. But in Nepal, it’s much simpler to do capitalist market, there is a fine line
business. Everyone knows one another. between competition and collaboration
that benefit both competitors. Nepali
entrepreneurs have to learn the difference
“ Nepal is easier between the two if they want to succeed.
to navigate for a Mr. Lindblom feels that eradication of
foreigner like me corruption and political violence will help
Nepal achieve the prosperity enjoyed
and it’s much easier by Switzerland, and he sees Nepal as a
potential Asian Switzerland. He believes
to do business in the market in Nepal is expanding, and
Nepal. That’s why I European market. It also concentrates on that brand awareness is gradually growing
importing cosmetic items under the brand among people. He also recommends that
came here.” name of Isadora, which recently opened a since Nepal has a very small market, it is
showroom in DurbarMarg, Kathmandu. a perfect situation to use the blue ocean

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strategy, which is a way of testing new that mistakes are small.


products in new markets so that mistakes WEBSITES e4n READs:
are small, and payoffs are potentially huge. 4. Nepali culture of not being straight
He gives the example of Tata Nano as a forward in business is inefficient and very Marketing, Sales and Innovation
typical blue ocean product. harmful for entrepreneurs. http://sethgodin.typepad.com

Mr. Lindblom says entrepreneurs of On how to bring back people who have left VC, Investments, Start-up advice
Nepal are facing difficulty mainly due to Nepal, he says, http://avc.com
miscommunication. Comparing Swedish
people to Nepalis, he finds the former
more direct. Nepalis have a tendency of “ A joint effort Technology news:
http://news.ycombinator.com
beating around the bush until finally they
get to a point. This kind of uncertainty is
between the
what a lot of Nepali business people have government and Smart, savvy advice for career women
http://www.mscareergirl.com
to deal with.
private institutions
In summary, Mr. Lindblom shared the Leadership and management
following words of wisdom for Nepali
can create an http://projects.nytimes.com/corner-
entrepreneurs: environment where office

1. Collaboration among competing there is possibility Leadership tips and tactics


entrepreneurs is key to uplift the market
for all involved. of people coming http://www.greatleadershipbydan.com

2. Quick returns, in two-three years, in


back to Nepal ” Doing development through business
http://www.nextbillion.net/blog
business is unrealistic in most cases. In
Nepal, entrepreneurs tend to seek returns E4N
Thought-provoking essays on start-ups,
in five to six months.
VCs and entrepreneurship
3. Nepal could be the blue ocean, or test http://www.paulgraham.com/articles.
bed for new products in new markets so html

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ASHUTOSH TIWARI couldn’t take it personally, and I couldn’t
CEO, Himalmedia Mr. Tiwari lamented that the process of let it all get to me. I had to be calm and
turning around the company inevitably focused to be persuasive, sympathetic and
As the CEO, Mr. Tiwari’s priority at persistent – all of which I found difficult to
Himalmedia was to turn around the be at times”, he shares.
company both operationally and financially.
Leading a team of senior managers to He said that with the support from the
focus on the results, he accomplished the Himalmedia Board and the remaining staff,
turnaround task in 20 months, though he let a total of 60 staff leave the company
he admits that any business is always an with generous severance packages and
unfinished business, and that much work as humanly as possible, helping them
remains to be done at any given time at with job searches, reference letters and
Himalmedia for further success. networking calls on their behalf. “I had
never worked directly with labor unions
Over a period of 14 months, he also before, so dealing with them from start to
negotiated with two Labor Unions, one finish in this case was an experience which
of which was violently hostile. One day in tested me as a manager every single day”
December 2008, the national members of he shares.
the violent union stormed into the building
and physically attacked Mr. Tiwari and his Due to his regular and good communication
editorial and marketing colleagues when with the staffs, it became easier for him
they were having a weekly corporate to complete the mandate given by the
meeting. A big public uproar ensued. Board. To win staff’s trust, he would often
meant letting go of some competent and hold several meetings, be persistent
“Had ours been an instant noodles loyal staff since the management was not in about getting the results and make things
company, perhaps nobody would have a position to raise salaries and benefits. The clear and transparent to staff. He says,
cared as much about the attack. But the survival of the company was at stake. “Managers get defensive and are easily
attack on a media house and on journalists agitated when labour union leaders start
such as Mr. Kunda Dixit was nationally and “The staff members asked to leave were thumping their fists on the table.
globally condemned, and that backlash understandably angry and emotional.
hurt the attacking party.” The pressure on me was enormous. But I

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“ Often, a manager’s and push ahead.

anger, impatience (After completing what he was hired to


do as the turnaround CEO, Mr. Tiwari
and immaturity left Himalmedia in December 2009. He
continues to write a column for Nepali
make an already Times newsweekly.)
bad situation even
E4N
worse ”
Mr. Tiwari thinks that most trade unions
are good; but some of their leaders are
cunning politicians who use every means
to advance their own political careers at
the expense of hapless and clueless private
sector owners and managers. The demands
of the trade unions should be, he says, in
line with Nepal’s Labour Laws.

“Play straight, and stick to what the


Labour Laws say” opines Mr. Tiwari. “You
do not have to like the laws. You just have
to follow them so that your position as a
manager is legally and morally explainable
when it comes to negotiating with Union
leaders,” he says. Mr. Tiwari says that
he believes that any success is only up
to a point, and to keep on succeeding at
anything, you have to keep on working hard

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E4N hard-won wisdom : a “business saheed”!] business as a castle, what should your
There are many ways to entrepreneurial 4. Instead of trying to produce a totally moats be? Price? Brand? Location?
success. Here is one, if you are a first-time new, new thing, look at an established High switching cost? Service?
entrepreneur: industry where there are existing sup- 8. Do NOT worry about competition. All
1. Do NOT try to produce a totally new, pliers, competitors, customers, etc. In reasonable people want to copy good
new thing. The reason is simple. When other words, as a first-time entrepre- ideas. Having competition is good, be-
you produce a totally new, new thing, neur, choose a known industry. cause it validates you and your idea. If
you need a lot of money to educate 5. In that industry, think hard to find a no one wants to copy you, be worried.
the market about what your “new niche (your new thing): see what the 9. Even with a niche and a moat, how
new” thing is. Educating the market is customers are looking for but not get- do you know what works? You don’t.
very expensive, both in terms of time ting, and see whether you can find a Therefore, experiment small, fail fast,
and money. way to meet their (unexpressed) de- learn quickly, and change course to
2. When you try to educate the market mand. Finding your niche or your twist continuously scale up.
about your new, new product, you in a well-known industry lies at the 10. In the back of your mind, always ask
burn a lot of your precious capital. heart of first-time entrepreneurship. yourself these four questions, and try
When you burn your capital (like the 6. Once you find your niche in a known to have answers:
dot com companies did in the US in industry, educating the market will not • What compelling reason exists for
1999), you may go out of business be that difficult. That’s because people people to give you money to buy
altogether. already know your industry, they can your product or service?
3. Adding insult to injury, as it often generally understand what to expect,
• How do you get what you are sell-
happens in Nepal, you may then have etc.
ing for less than the cost to sell it?
to watch late-comers succeed with 7. Once you’ve identified your niche,
• How will strangers find out about
the very idea that you came up with then, find a way to put “a moat around
the business and decide to become
because you foolishly spent all your it”, as Warren Buffet says. A moat
customers?
money educating the market about refers to a large body of water (prefer-
the new, new product for your future ably with crocodiles) around a castle. • What insulation (moat) do you
competitors to benefit from! [Believe A moat makes it difficult for others to have from commoditization (“just
us: nobody gives you a medal for being attack the castle. If you think of your like what everyone has”) and price
war (coming from competitors)?

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MIN BAHADUR GURUNG now, and is planning on employing tens of into a retail store.
Founder, Bhatbhateni thousands of people directly in retail and
Supermarket agriculture businesses. He says that hydro c) Imbibe honesty. Mr. Gurung
power and agriculture are fields he would emphasizes entrepreneurship is about
Min Bahadur Gurung is to Bhatbhateni personally invest in anytime. His advice to relationships. Therefore honesty is a must
what Sam Walton is to Walmart: a visionary aspiring entrepreneurs is as follows: specially in matters of money. Have a
founder of supermarkets. honest relationship with your financial
institutions, your creditors, debtors, co-
Mr. Gurung is the owner of the Bhatbhateni workers, employees.
chain of supermarkets with a story of
entrepreneurship that is inspiring for all. An d) Share. If you share much, you gain in
ever optimistic and humble entrepreneur, doing business in Nepal.
he hails from a remote village in Khotang.
He started his venture with US $1135 by
opening a small grocery store. Today he
is a multimillionaire with the retail super
“ This is THE best
market chain “Bhatbhateni” with plans to time to be an
expand across the country.
entrepreneur in
He sees a lot of opportunities in Nepal and
encourages young professionals to start
Nepal ”
things. He says that old investors like him
Four points that have made Min Bahadur
are ready to back young groups of capable
Gurung a successful businessman:
professionals to start business.
1. Start small. Mistakes committed when
He wants young people to enter the Nepali a) History has proved that a lot of big
a business is small are not big: They
market which has a lot of opportunities companies in the world are the ones who
can easily be corrected and lessons are
and a lot of room for innovation. His idea started right after a big/ civil war.
learned without wasting much money and
of biggest social service in Nepal is to give
time.
fair employment to as many Nepalis as b) Be patient. Mr. Gurung waited 9 years
possible. He employs about 900 people before he turned his small grocery store

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2. Trust: Making a quick buck at the


hapless customers’ expense may be E4N hard-won wisdom: 5. When making sales, talk more
tempting, but the market rewards those Things to keep in mind when making about the clients and their issues,
who project consistently trustworthy sales and less about you. Listen, ask
actions. People, after all, buy and sell with questions, understand what on the
Your success as an entrepreneur de-
those they trust. clients’ mind, and help the clients
pends on your ability to sell. But hardly
explain what they are looking for.
any business school offers a class on
3. Curiosity: Be alert, you know a business sales. Many organizations offer train- 6. When you make cold calls, the
is going downhill when owners start ing programs on sales that are about point is not to sell – but to have a
exhibiting a know-all attitude and are theories of sales, and not about the meeting.
closed to different viewpoints. practice of sales. Below, we offer some 7. Selling and negotiations are dif-
not-really-original but sensibly practical ferent: First, sell. Then, negotiate
4. Focus: Gurung is clear about his tips on sales. discounts, etc.
focus: to sell Nepali and foreign goods 8. Sales and marketing are different:
at the lowest possible prices. He avoids Marketing brings/attracts the cli-
distractions. All he knows is how to sell 1. Never talk cost. Never talk price.
Always talk to clients about value. ents to you; you then make the sale
and has succeeded by doing only what he to the clients who have come to
does best. Value to them. Value for them –
when they buy and use your prod- you.
ucts and services. 9. Ask your salespeople to deliver on
E4N sales to forecast: when they do so,
2. Explain and re-explain value in
terms of how it makes the clients’ it means they are on top of their
life better, or easier or more profit- work.
able. 10. Care about your clients. People
3. Always quantify what your interact with and buy from those
strengths: 5 years of experience, who care. Always help and inform
5,000 customers served, etc. your clients even when there is no
direct and immediate benefit to
4. Never leave a sales meeting with-
you.
out mutually agreeing what the
next action step is.

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AMBICA SHRESTHA “Besides it’s very hard to find a job of the areas she finds worthwhile for
Chairperson, Dwarika’s these days. So come out of universities investing time and resources. Mrs. Shrestha
Group of Hotels not as employees but as employers and gives the example of Spain which was quite
entrepreneurs, create a job of your own, be a poor country until a few decades ago
Mrs. Ambica Shrestha is the figure behind it small but be innovative and imaginative”, but found its riches by promoting what
Dwarika’s Hotel, which is perhaps the she adds. According to Mrs. Shrestha one they had: beaches, islands and their rich
world’s only hotel to be constructed for lesson for aspiring entrepreneurs is that culture. Low labour costs spearheaded
the expressed purpose of preserving the the transformation of Spain from a poor
unique architecture and art of its culturally country to a highly industrialized economy.
rich environs. “Nepal can also benefit from its cheap
labour and natural resources,” says Mrs.
At the Last Thursday’s interaction, Mrs. Shrestha.
Shrestha provided inspirational words to
the 50 or so young entrepreneurs gathered She states that hospitality business doesn’t
at the event. She encouraged the young just profit the top level entrepreneurs.
guns to change the conventional mindsets The profit and benefits trickle down to all
from being job seekers to job creators. That the participants of the business regardless
would stop so many young people going of their level. A vegetable grower or a
abroad. transport service provider benefits equally
like hoteliers if hospitality business grows.

“ Employee Mrs. Shrestha chose to break traditional


mindset tends to hard work & determination are essential
convention by working after marriage. Mrs.
Shrestha remembers her struggling days
make your vision to success. Riches don’t come overnight in a male-dominated Nepalese society
neither does success. and encourages young girls of today to
limited whereas work very hard and break the glass ceiling
“One needs to love their work invariably if society imposed on them.
sky is the limit for he/she really wants to succeed.”
entrepreneurs ” She started teaching for a monthly salary of
Hospitality, IT, travel and tourism are some Rs. 80, worked with USIS in 1959 and then

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as Managing Director of Kathmandu Travel artistic beauty of the past. Through hard
& Tours, one of the first travel agencies in work, perseverance and support of her
Nepal, which was started by her husband, daughter, she travelled all over the world
Dwarika Das Shrestha. During a jog, her marketing her hotel. “ Don’t expect
husband observed intricately carved and
engraved wooden pillars of an old building She also introduced Dachi appa which is
and wait for the
being demolished to make way for a a traditional way of making carved bricks. government to set
contemporary structure. Mrs. Shrestha also found innovative ways
to prevent any damages to the traditional things straight. It’s
He convinced the workmen to exchange structures from earthquake. Besides her
the damaged pillars for money plus new hotel, Mrs. Shrestha currently works
your life and your
lumber, which was followed by further
collection of such wooden structures. A
towards helping women through various
organisations and charities. Women
country. Stop them
friend staying in their cowshed with an are empowered through literacy, skills from ruining your
old carved window was highly impressed enhancement and loans for starting their
and word of mouth brought more people own ventures. life ”
to observe the carvings. Someone
suggested the duo to build more of such Mrs. Shrestha says, it’s the young people
rooms and hence preserve the carvings and all the stakeholders who should unite E4N
and make money as well. This led to the and protest against strikes and bandas that
commencement of a successful lodging threaten the survival of the hospitality
business. industry. She believes it’s the inaction of
the good people that’s letting the strikes
When her beloved husband passed away go on as only a handful of people easily
in 1991, Mrs. Shrestha persevered to hamper the daily life of the others by
fulfill her husband’s dream to use all the blocking the roads and traffic.
artifacts and build a huge hotel. Due to her
dedication, today Dwarika’s hotel portrays
itself as a mansion of artifacts, carved
windows and our traditional arts allowing
guests to live among the architectural and

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KARNA SHAKYA entrepreneurs have to learn more from animal bones. Shakya talked about a
Founder, Kathmandu Guest the context of Nepal rather than from 25 years old widow in Bhaktapur who
House international books on entrepreneurship. was making enough money to feed her
children through begging but through sheer
“I feel very pleased to see so many He cited examples such as Laxmi Sharma, persistence started a successful organic
entrepreneurial brains in Nepal these days. who has been to a school for not more vegetable farming business.
I find that many youngsters are pursuing than three days but became the first
their studies in entrepreneurship. I haven’t
studied management or economics though. “ Tourism is a dream
I am a conservationist. I studied forestry
and worked for the forestry department
industry. You need
until 1970 when I left my job to become to dream and sell
an entrepreneur”, says Karna Sakya, an
accomplished tourism entrepreneur of your dreams ”
Nepal and an accomplished writer of two
hugely successful books “Soch” and “Khoj” In 1971, when Mr. Shakya started the
to his credit and his third book titled “Ma legendary Kathmandu Guest House with
sakchhu” due to be released soon. just 12 rooms, he didn’t think it would
develop into a sprawling hotel in Thamel.
As Mr. Shakya shared his experience with
young entrepreneurs gathered during As one runner wouldn’t make a marathon,
the Last Thursday’s event organized by a single Kathmandu Guest House wouldn’t
Entrepreneurs for Nepal, he gave his have made Thamel the tourist hub it
is today. Realizing this, he asked other
Lesson 1: Experience is critical for an entrepreneurs to build hotels in the vicinity
entrepreneur, more than the academic of his guest house. Though people criticized
qualification. It is the experience that woman “Tempo Driver” of Nepal and has his move to ask a competitor to put up a
teaches you better on how to manage then created an internationally sprawling hotel beside his, his wisdom paid off.
time, motivate people towards your vision, business of handicraft, and is now known Present day Thamel enjoys myriads of
develop your human resources, get the as “the button queen on Nepal” for her hotels and restaurants, and is always
loan approved, deal with unions etc. Nepali unique designs of buttons made from buzzing with tourists from all over the

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world and Thamel has become a brand in


itself!
“ Selfishness is not Mr. Shakya emphasizes on the need
to utilize every paisa efficiently as an
wrong, if it does not entrepreneur. After being successful, he
Lesson 2: “An entrepreneur must never feels that time becomes the most valuable
be scared of competition, it must be harm others ” resource and the focus must be on the
embraced. Competition shouldn’t be most efficient use of time and networks.
treated as a threat but as a necessity. He believes self-interest makes people work
Competition makes you more efficient and towards helping others to earn profit in Lesson 4: “Entrepreneurship is similar to
fitter for survival. Don’t think of finding return. Self-interest is an inevitable aspect riding a bicycle or swimming. You won’t
success alone”, he shares. of entrepreneurship. Drive for success, not learn them by reading books about them.
wealth, makes a person successful. Many You need to experience them yourself,
Though Nepal has a huge potential in once successful business houses have been commit some mistakes and learn from
tourism industry, conventional mindset driven to oblivion as the first generation them”
of tourism entrepreneurs of Nepal is one failed to transmit the entrepreneurial drive
of the main reasons for holding it back. to the following generation.
Tourists who visit Nepal have already
E4N
had enough of hotels, rafting, mountain Mr. Shakya feels that Nepal doesn’t need
climbing, trekking. They want something any more political leaders. On the other
new now. There are many hidden paradises hand, we need much more entrepreneurs
in Nepal where tourists are yet to be taken who are generating wealth and creating
to, many adventures tourists are yet to jobs for tens and hundreds of people.
experience. The problem is we are not
being “innovative”, he feels. Lesson 3: “Evaluate yourself. Be passionate
about your work, have the enthusiasm
He believes that knowledge and sweat to be consistent. A person must love his
should never be sold for free and there work to be successful. Without love for
isn’t anything called free lunch. your work, you can be an employee but
never an entrepreneur. Love for your work
generates passion.

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GYANENDRA LAL PRADHAN electricity caused foreign aluminium with NEA. All of these problems are self
Managing Director, companies to come to Norway and soon it made. So, what’s the process of bridging
HydroSolutions also became a large producer of aluminium the gap between potential and reality?
and due to the rising demands many He thinks the younger generations have a
Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, an electrical foreign companies came to Norway to great role in the process.
engineer and a business entrepreneur, is create a huge shipping industry. Similarly
widely known for his contribution in areas Nepal can be as prosperous as Norway if it
of hydroelectricity and clean water. Mr. utilizes its water resources properly. “ entrepreneurship
Pradhan is the Patron/ Chief strategist of
Hydro Solutions which is currently working
doesn’t benefit an
on about 15 hydro projects capable of individual alone
producing more than 360 Mega Watts
(MW) of electricity. but the whole
Mr. Pradhan believes Nepal is full of life.
Nepal has 20000 liters of per capita water
society and the
and enough potential for generating
electricity to meet the demands of India
country by creating
and Bangladesh. employment
Nepal has both water and the potential opportunities and
to generate electricity and the market to
sell them as well. He suggests everyone
generating wealth”
to learn from Norway which is the fifth
Talking about the environment for business
largest producer of oil but uses electricity
in Nepal, he doesn’t find it secure enough
for its domestic use and exports all the
owing to the fact that the country has had
oil. Norway started electricity projects
a decade of internal conflict between the
when it was too poor by calling on
Maoists and the government. He shared his
foreign investment and safeguarding the Despite the potential, Nepal’s resources
own experience of doing business at the
investments. are being poorly managed;, we have no oil
time of conflict.
with Oil Corporation, no water with Nepal
The abundant production of cheap Drinking Water Corporation, no electricity
He had only just bought the Butwal

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Hydropower Company when the then


rebels blasted his station. Extreme
someone always Mr. Pradhan outlines the primary
characteristics of successful entrepreneurs
depression made him give a serious makes one inferior as follows:
thought of moving to Canada to settle
there but he abandoned the thought later. to the original 1. Think differently, be day dreamers
He now works closely with disgruntled
groups to understand their concern and
entrepreneur ” 2. Be independent, tough and creative
provide for their needs as much as possible.
Organizing capacity is another very
3. Be extremely optimistic
important skill needed by an entrepreneur
Mr. Pradhan said it is the most significant
because Mr. Pradhan believes even the
time in the history of hydroelectricity in 4. Be prompt decision makers if you have
most capable entrepreneurs cannot exceed
Nepal now as more than 50 thousand enough facts/ information
a certain level without an organization
crore rupees are currently being invested
behind them.
in hydropower. The fate of the current 5. Have a vision to drive enterprise
investments will determine the future of
Organizing skills involve networking and
hydroelectricity in Nepal. Hence we need to 6. Have a habit of analyzing past actions
connecting with people who are crucial to
make the investment environment friendly. and learn from them
the success of the organization. According
to him, partnership is a better way of
7. Have determination and strategies to
“ Take some doing business ventures as competition
turn vision into reality
between partners promotes the interest of
calculated risks the organization rather than sole trading
and do something concern where the sole owner enjoys
monopoly. E4N
new rather than
copying from
someone because
copying from

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35
AJAY GHIMIRE system focuses on practical and up-to-date agitated by the conflict and instability in
CEO, Vibor Bank education.” the country hence decided to pursue his
studies in Public Policy. While studying at
Ajay Ghimire is the CEO of Vibor Bank, After establishing John Hopkins University he learned the
a national level category B financial the Ace Institute lesson,
institution licensed from Nepal Rastra Bank. of Management
Mr. Ghimire is also the founder of Ace as a pioneer
Institute of Management and Ace Finance. educational “ All you can do is
He shared that during an exam at MIT
institution of
Nepal, Mr.
create your own
where he was doing his MBA, he faced Ghimire begun to world and try to
an incident which later inspired him to realize that it was
establish Ace Institute of Management. time to support make it as better
“I had answered a question wrong but entrepreneurs,
towards the end of exam I realized my so he worked
as possible and
mistake. I put a short note at the end of
the answer sheet explaining my wrong
on bringing
the concept of
don’t worry about
assumption that led to the wrong answer consumer finance anything else ”
along with the conclusion that I would have while he was
reached had I made the right assumptions. working for Nabil
To my surprise, I was awarded full marks. Bank. After returning to Nepal, Mr. Ghimire
Later when I enquired, my teacher told me started Vibor Investment in partnership
that what counts is the right knowledge I But before he could implement his concept, which didn’t work out. He pointed out
had and not the exact answer. The incident the ownership of Nabil Bank changed. that the lack of habit of writing down
had a profound impact on me as being a This led to the establishment of Ace agreements and poor legal system makes it
student in the Nepalese educational system Finance which was initiated to support difficult for partnerships to work in Nepal.
I was habituated to the opposite situation. the entrepreneurship activities in Nepal. Then he established Vibor Bank and is
Besides this, Ace Finance also came up with currently the Chairperson/CEO of the bank.
I later returned to Nepal and established the concept of apartments in Nepal with
Ace Institute of Management which unlike Ace Apartments. He believes that traditional banks are risk
the traditional Nepalese educational In 2000, Mr. Ghimire began to feel very averse and cannot provide enough support

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to entrepreneurs. He describes Vibor Bank The basic qualities that an entrepreneur


as an institution that envisions proliferation should possess are E4N words of wisdom:
of entrepreneurs in Nepal and has the
• persistence,
mission of making capital accessible to Peter Drucker was an influential
more and more entrepreneurs in order to • ability to sell an idea, management philosopher. In his
enhance their productivity. wonderfully readable and still highly
• ability to connect with people
relevant book “The Effective Executive”,
Mr. Ghimire believes lack of capital • convince them of the idea, he explains eight simple rules that
shouldn’t be the constraint to effective executives do. Effective
entrepreneurs, what really matters is the • show passion for the cause,
executives, by definition, get things
idea and persistence of the person. He said • show deep understanding of the done to achieve results.
that in order to promote entrepreneurship business environment and politics
in Nepal, there is a need for strong
enforcement of contracts, finding the right Ask what needs to be done.
people to invest on, strong rule of law and E4N
development of platforms where young Ask what’s right for your business.
entrepreneurs can share and learn.
Develop action plans.
He also said it was important to have
networks in politics in order to do business Take responsibility for decisions.
and the importance of having someone
working in the organization who is good at Take responsibility for communicating
dealing with bureaucracy. the decisions to all relevant parties.

Focus on opportunities, not problems.

Run productive meetings.

Think and say “We,” not “I.”

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ICCHYA BAHADUR TAMANG working as an engineering consultant but
“Nepali students would sell the Chinese
Managing Director, Civil the ongoing civil war made his job difficult.
goods they brought, to Russians. My
Group Convinced that business would be the
friends also brought 15 computers from
only means of surviving in times of such
Europe and sold them to Russians. After
He is the founder and the chairperson of crisis, he formed a group of 12 engineers
the collapse, the Russians were eager to
“Civil Group”, one of the Nepal’s largest and and started Civil Cooperative which later
develop their English language skills; we
rapidly growing business conglomerates, developed into a firm called Civil Group.
that operates Civil Homes, Civil Merchant Civil Group introduced the housing concept
Bittiya Sanstha, Civil Saving & Credit Co- for the first time in Nepal which was quickly
operative, Civil Business Complex, Civil followed by other business houses as
Trading Company, Civil International well. The success of housing concept also
Consultant and Civil Bank. resulted in financial institutions providing
loans for the purchase of other accessories
Born in Okhaldhunga district of North such as vehicles, land etc.
eastern Nepal, he studied hydropower
engineering in the then Soviet Russia, When Civil Homes started its operation
where he had the first hand experience with 25 ropanis of land in Bhaisepati, they
of the collapse of USSR and the economic were in no position to build the houses
hardship that followed in 1989. and sell. Civil Group started without much
capital, without much expertise but learnt
With severe devaluation of the Ruble, to create a good image of housing concepts
Ichhya dai who had been studying there on among the public through various means
a scholarship found it hard to cope up with such as computer animated advertisements
the rising prices of goods. on television channels. Thus the general
public in Kathmandu warmed up to the
housing concept.
“ So I started helped them to make money. Hence, we
completed our studies from the profit of
business as a means such ventures.That was the beginning of my
The group built apartments in 95 ropanis
in Kalanki in the second phase, followed
career as an entrepreneur”, he says.
of living ” by a satellite town in Sunakothi with its
own mall, health posts, and cinema halls
After returning to Nepal, he started

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inside the colony. Currently, the group is professionals without much capital will every person involved is a good strategy for
working on its fourth phase in 200 ropanis also be able to participate in real estate motivation.
of land. According to him, even with 3 business.
dozen housing companies in the market,
the demand for houses in Kathmandu Mr. Tamang wants Nepalese people to “ A starting
valley is not being met. He sees investors
of real estate have great opportunities
develop a positive attitude towards credits
and brokers. “In western countries people
entrepreneur
now as more and more people are moving get born with credit and die with credit. should be able to
to the cities and the value of land there But in our society taking credit or loans is
is growing. He also feels the need for almost comparable to a crime”, he says. work as jack of all
standard shopping centres hence Civil
Group is building a mall called ‘Civil Mall’ He believes that such an attitude hampers
trades when the
with the state-of-the-art technologies at
par with international standards.
business environment as the fear of credit
prevents people from starting new ventures
need arises ”
and participating in the economy. Brokers
He is currently working towards bringing are very helpful in facilitating business
a Real Estate Act in Nepal which would transactions and are inevitable part of the
E4N
protect the real estate business from economy but the negative connotation of
whimsical decisions of the frequently their profession is preventing them from
changing governments of Nepal. Mr. taking the profession properly and helping
Tamang points out that the real estate improve the economy.
business boom has created a lot of support
business and jobs. An entrepreneur has to have the
knowledge of all the aspects of his
With the boom, qualified professionals business and must get involved in the
and businesses will be needed for real overall operation of his business.
estate evaluation, real estate marketing,
real estate brokers; real estate legal An entrepreneur needs to brainstorm and
professionals, graphic designers and sort out works according to the strength
animators, architects will be needed. of the people working for him/her. Equal
Due to this, young entrepreneurs and participation and equal responsibility for

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BJORN SODERBERG Lesson No: 1. One does not need money half the price. His first two customers were
Founder, Websearch to be an entrepreneur, s/he needs his market research. He believes more in
Professionals customers. learning by doing rather than trying to
focus too much in theory as he says,
At 28, Bjőrn is a young social entrepreneur You don’t spend money to start a company; “Most people believe you need to follow a
with three successfully running companies; you start a company to earn money. certain process and make business plans to
two in Nepal and one in Sweden. start a company. But the matter of fact is
you don’t need websites, business plans or
In search of an experience that was brochures to start your company, just start
exciting, challenging and different from making money.
that in Sweden, Bjőrn Sőderberg came
to Nepal as a volunteer when he was 19
years old and lived in Bal Mandir. During his “ Once you have
stay, he saw the potential for exciting new
things in the hands of the young people
your first customer,
in the country. In contrary to the trend of you have your
the youngsters finding their way to the U.S
and abroad, Bjőrn started off in Nepal with market research,
paper recycling (Watabaran Pvt. Ltd.) and IT
outsourcing (Websearch Professionals Pvt.
you have your
Ltd.). company ”
Despite the Swedish Government urging its Speaking of the struggle people go through
citizens not to travel to Nepal for security to find that one bright idea to start up a
reasons, Mr. Sőderberg was determined venture, he points out that having a good
and he started approaching for loans in or a great idea is not a guarantee for the
banks for the initial capital of $20,000. But success of the business.
through his struggle in the initial days, what And with this learning in mind, he went
he learnt was exciting! to Sweden and confirmed two clients Lesson No. 2: Having the drive and the
by promising them to deliver the same guts is more important than the idea itself.
service they were already getting, but at

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The passion associated with the work foreign investment can be created in Nepal. remember some clients are unworkable
can naturally make any idea a good one. Some suggestions are: and sometimes in those cases you have to
The old formula is if you enjoy your work, let them go.
you don’t even feel you are working. He • Documents should be in English.
explains that entrepreneurship is about • Load shedding should cease.
getting an idea and working very hard to • Hindrances from involuntary Bandas and “ Don’t be afraid to
realize it because it takes time to build
up a business. Thus during that time, an
strikes should stop.
fail”
entrepreneur must have two qualities; Have you faced or felt any conflict between
patience and hard work. the social contribution and economic E4N
aspects of a business?
Lesson No. 3: Don’t be afraid to fail.
Those who never fail have never tried I haven’t faced many clashes as such. I
anything new and will never be creating provide scholarships to talented students
new things. And creating new things and to study in KU and ask them to work for me
translating new ideas to action, even if they for 4 years. Besides, I am always trying to
are small ones is what entrepreneurs do.” take the middle way in finding profitability
and contributing to society.
What are the problems in starting up a
business in Nepal? In a certain business situation if a client
asks more and more services and in the
Corruption is one of the major end refuses to pay the prices, pointing out
discouragements in starting up a business it was very high, what can one do in such a
in Nepal. Bureaucrats try to squeeze situation?
money out of you here which is a different
scenario than in Sweden. To avoid unprofessional situations like
these, making everything about the deal
Do you think foreign investors are safe clear beforehand is important. Give your
enough to invest in Nepal? client a sample or a prototype of your
service and product and ask them to test it.
Given a few things, a safe environment for If they like it then mention your prices. But

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41
PRABAL GURUNG is the root of all his success which gives of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in New
International Fashion constant inspiration and the strength to Delhi. While studying, he also worked
Designer, New York, USA stand his ground in the competitive world with various local productions and fashion
of high fashion. houses, and designed alongside established
Prabal Gurung’s essence can be captured names such as Manish Arora at the wake of
with the quote below as much today, while One of the most courageous steps in India’s booming fashion industry.
full stride in his New York fashion career, as pursuit of his dreams can be traced back
back in time when he was a young boy in to the time he went to India to start his With his wealth of experience in India
Nepal. career by studying at the National Institute and other countries, Prabal decided to
embark on the greatest risk of his career
and moved to New York. The city, which is
“ I would rather arguably the fashion capital of the world,
make a mistake than presented formidable challenges but he
was determined to follow his dreams and
live with the regret carve a niche for himself. He was aware
that moving to New York could turn out to
that I never tried ” be a mistake, however he decided that he
would rather live with that mistake than
His dreams started at a young age while live with the regret that he never gave it a
in St. Xavier’s School in Kathmandu even shot.
though he acknowledges that he was never
one of the ‘brilliant’ students. With the Fortunately, his decision to move to New
support of his family, he stayed true to his York was a winning one. After years of hard
calling, and was always immersed in his work and patience backed by the support
own world. He recalls sketching his ideas and encouragement of his family, his labour
and designs wherever he could, be it in is bearing fruit and he has made his impact
school books, drawing sheets or walls. in the world of high-fashion. From interning
for Donna Karan while attending Parson’s
One of the first admirers of his work was School of Design to being a part of Cynthia
his mother who always encouraged his Rowley’s design team, to being the design
creativity. This support, Prabal believes, director at Bill Blass and having the United

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States First Lady Michelle Obama wearing is mentioned in all his interviews, which
his design, Prabal Gurung has come a long is his small way of helping his country E4N Ideas for discussion
way. gain recognition globally. However, he is
also aware of the problems afflicting our • What if you started a public
He materialized his dream when he country like power cuts, traffic, pollution transportation service that only
launched his own collection PRABAL and the like. travels in the evenings and “is
GURUNG in 2009 even though it was in reliable and on time”?
the midst of an economic recession. Prabal He attributes his ability to compete
recollects that the modeling industry, the anywhere in the world to growing up in • What if you organized ‘farmer’s
production houses and people from the Nepal. Prabal sums it all up in the following
market’ in different parts of
fashion fraternity in New York have been statement,
Kathmandu, where people came
very supportive in this journey. This could
to buy and sell fresh produce,
be the reason why Prabal feels right at “Anyone can complain about what is not
home in New York and its fashion houses. right in our country; the crux lies in what meat, food (hopefully more
we choose to do about it.” organic and locally produced). Like
Kalimaati but smaller.
“ Nepalis should “All young Nepalis, follow your own
celebrate successes dreams; hard work and patience are the
key to your success.”
• What if you become a “turn
garbage into organic waste”
of one another trainer, and charged families, 200
Visit Prabal Gurung’s website (www. rupees a session (for half an hour)
so that we can prabalgurung.com) to view his latest to turn house waste into manure
creations and news.
collectively move in their own gardens?

forward together ” E4N • What if you provided basic health


care services to urban families at
their own home?
For a person who has achieved success and
a celebrity status, Prabal remains humble,
modest and grounded. He is proud of
his heritage and makes sure that Nepal

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ANIL SHAH change was his calling as from Standard level family from ten lakhs to one Crore
CEO & Founder, Mega Bank Chartered bank, he moved on to Nabil Bank rupees.
and became the CEO in one year. In his five
A household name in Nepal, in his own years as a CEO in Nabil Bank, the institution Being a successful entrepreneur or a
words ‘loves change, thrives in change’. He saw unprecedented success and it became business person in Nepal is not everyone’s
shared his story of his life among 80 young the number one bank in Nepal. cup of tea and according to Shah, when you
entrepreneurs during the Last Thursday’s are doing business in Nepal, the first thing
program on April 2010. Right now, he is the CEO of Mega Bank to realize is,

In fact, change has been the mantra of his


living. As a kid, he went to seven different “ When you are
schools in Nepal and India, then he left to
Washington for his college; when he came
doing business in
back to Nepal to do something, he worked Nepal, complaining
for a Walt-Disney production movie. But
this was just the beginning of changing and blaming the
environments and places for a young Anil
Shah, who attributes the experience and
conditions won’t do
outlook gathered in all those years of
change for making him the one of the best
you any good ”
suited people to live in a country like Nepal Stepping out of the comfort zone and
right now which is going through not an trying to work in the system is the formula
evolutionary but a revolutionary change. to success. ‘Until you work in the system
you will not succeed and once you learn
When he first set foot in the banking to work in the system the success is yours’
sector, Anil Shah joined Nepal Grindlays which according to Shah is a bank which says Shah.
Bank which would later become Standard has brought inclusiveness from the root
Chartered Bank in an assisting position itself in a practical and ideal sense, that Giving his own example he adds ‘I have not
with a starting salary of Rs.3,500 to later the bank has twelve hundred promoters, invented any wheels by myself, I have taken
become the Head of consumer bank and spread over sixty three districts and out different wheels from different places
Chief Operating Officer there. Yet again, investment mostly from people of middle and put it in the proper places and I have

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succeeded. I see which things work where i.e. SME’s, Shah says, from banking side this world but we summit too early.
and put the right wheel in right place and is the best time, because we are completely Unconsciously we have huge inferiority
make a move. If you want to be one step over banked in a classical market, so top complex with our two big neighbors. We
ahead of your competitors, you must be business have 28 banks running after them go for our study in India, go for tourism in
able to learn from others mistakes, others so you have to find a new market and that India, we used to go to die in India between
success.’ market is SME’s. In Nepal every house has Baranasi, but as soon as we return from
at least one shutter and each shutter has a India we start calling them bad names. But I
His philosophy on the leadership he has SME. If you are in SME than, its the time for am very happy to see the young generation
taken over the years in different places you, because its time for banks to search who are thinking differently and positively.
is that if the institution or the team he for new markets.
headed were a band or an orchestra, he The best minds of Nepal can still serve
considers himself a conductor. He explains Get involved. It doesn’t mean drop every Nepal now by going out. Not only money
he has succeeded because he has believed thing and jump into politics but get is coming back, the skills are coming back
in his orchestra and everybody who played involved and again it doesn’t mean just too. I have seen that from the examples
the instruments in an orchestra knew talking about it from your room over a of British Gurkha. Nepal will pull those
how to play their respective instruments drink. skilled Nepalese back if we can put the
better than him. His job was to bring all of act together and make a sound political
them together and deliver the result by “We have to get involved and talk, environment here in the country.
coordinating them. According to him, as because if we continue to stay in the
a leader, there are only three things one sideline, we don’t have the right to say
E4N
should focus on, others have not done good.We should be
involved not against any one but for our
“First, understand the person you are voice to be heard.”
working with. then understand the work,
the task and the time you want to deliver. I generally love to come to Nepal because
lastly, determine what leadership style I can see everyone happy. Everyone is
you want to implement to complete your smiling all the time even when we have
goals” to walk six hours to get water or when we
are dying from diarrhea because of lack of
To the entrepreneurs who are starting off medicine. Because our satisfaction is too
and are in Small and Medium Enterprises low, we have the highest mountain in the

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45
CHANDRA TIWARI him to Calcutta where he was told that he in his kitchen with his wife’s help. He also
owner, Nina and Hager could watch how sausages were prepared had a shed which he used for making
when he went to buy them. sausages but he did most of the work in the
Chandra Tiwari is a household name in the Unfortunately, when he did go to Calcutta kitchen itself. He had two refrigerators
Nepali meat processing market, shared his to see the production method himself, the where he stored his homemade products.
experience and journey as an entrepreneur sausage makers had become, according He then started selling the sausages in the
at the Last Thursday’s program. to him “clever” and had been selling the market.
product without showing how they were
Starting his business from a small meat made. “It was like daily practice for me and I
shop to selling a brand name like Nina kept on improving my methods to make
and Hager in Nepali market, was not an them better”, recalls Mr. Tiwari. This
overnight job. It was 15 years of hard work brought him in contact with a German,
and his dedication in delivering quality Hager, introduced to him by one of his
products to the consumers that made him friends. They started talking about the
successful. meat processing business and preparation
methods.

“ Cooking is my hobby Observing his work, Hager suggested that


and that is what the method he had been using was 100%
wrong and that if he really wanted to learn
brought me to meat and work in this business he should go
to Germany. He even offered to arrange
products sector ” for the visit and told him to arrange the
paperwork. It took Mr. Tiwari 2 years
Having received no formal training in meat to go to Germany on a scholarship on
processing, he recounts going to libraries livestock training where he trained for two
to search for books on the subject and long years and practiced the trade-skill
seeking any help he could find. During that for the following one year in Germany.
time, sausages were new and popular in So he returned back without any His two-year course consisted of one
Kathmandu and Chandra dai was curious as knowledge. This did not discourage him; he year training on the old method of meat
to how they were made. His interest took went back home and started experimenting processing and the following year on the

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46

advanced technology. Equipments for both to other markets in the capital. It took on the quality and I never compromised
methodologies are currently used in his another 4-5 years before he could taste any it”, says Mr. Tiwari.
factory in Kathmandu. success.
Regarding the problems he faced, he
After completing his two years training “The hardest part was that even when says entrepreneurs like him experience
he had a sense of accomplishment since my products were selling well, I was not problems of margin rate. He’s had to
many people fail the course and some receiving any money,” recalls Mr. Tiwari. face many issues with distributors who
even take 5-6 years to complete it. His With only accounts receivables but no cash, try to increase their margin at every
interest and age as well as his hard work he was forced to put a hold on his work given opportunity which puts suppliers
garnered appreciation and he became a for a while. This proved to be fortunate under pressure. His words to young
butcher chef. He decided to return home because when he came back home he entrepreneurs:
and practice instead of working in Germany received many phone calls asking him why
as he thought he’d be making a lot more he had not been sending supplies and that
impact back home. if it was due to withheld payments, they’ll “ If you’re strong
pay the money. It was then he found out
Coming from a Brahmin family and working that his products were selling quite well in
and confident that
as a butcher chef earned him many taunts the market. your products are
from his relatives when he was just starting.
However, his success and establishment Although he now has a very good market of good quality,
of Nina and Hager product as a household and is more established than he had
name has now changed all that. imagined, he still has not been able to
then you don’t need
Starting his business was not an easy task
meet the market demand because of the
need to maintain quality and not quantity.
to be scared of
since he was not financially stable at that He believes that in the food processing anyone ”
time. He had to rely on his bicycle to business if one is not directly involved
make deliveries of his products. After the in the process, then the quality can be
production stage, marketing was another compromised which can lead to failure of a E4N
challenge. Supplying his products in the business.
market where the people questioned the
high price, was a tough job. Eventually, the “People at first thought my products were
products started selling and were supplied expensive but I had always been focused

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47
Mr. Yogendra Man Shakya views. But he found a solution. negative factors in any businesses, says
Tourism Entrepreneur and Mr. Shakya. “At some point, it is better to
Coordinator, Nepal Tourism He says, “A good way to present your take your business your own way because
Year 2011 idea in front of your seniors is to give I don’t believe in collective management,”
the impression that the idea came from he continues. “I think even in family run
Mr. Yogendra Man Shakya always wanted them. If you do this, your ideas will be business, it is very important to say we are
to become a mechanical engineer. But heard and eventually your ideas will be all equal but to choose a boss (authority)
he dropped that dream when he met an implemented.” whether you call him the Chairman or
engineer working on Bharatpur hospital CEO”. He recalls an experience where there
who told him about engineers who had to developed a significant conflict among
work very hard for little pay. He suggested directors regarding their CEO who was paid
that Mr. Shakya study Hotel Management more than the directors, even though the
instead and get into tourism. Heeding that CEO was delivering. “This is an issue of
advice, today, Mr. Shakya is a successful ego, not performance. For a company to
tourism entrepreneur and also the do well, it must keep good performers and
Coordinator of Nepal Tourism Year 2011. keep ego at bay,” says Mr. Shakya.

Mr. Shakya’s family was into hotel Mr. Shakya points to the lack of
business through Kathmandu Guest entrepreneurship spirit as the main
House in Thamel. After completing Hotel problem in tourism today. “We have
Management studies, he got invovled as been capitalizing on the culture, nature,
well. But he soon got frustrated with his monuments etc. all that was either
limited role in decision making. “I had a provided to us by nature or built by our
father and uncle who were senior to me. ancestors.” He alludes that foreigners
I wondered if I could ever be as good as introduced trekking to Nepal, not Nepali.
my father with my role in the famly” Mr. This habit is not just limited in tourism,
Shakya recalls. but also in carpet, garment, banking, real-
estate industries. He sees Nepali people like
He soon figured out that in any institution to follow a trend than create a new one.
whether a family business or other, seniors Nonetheless, Mr. Shakya sees plenty
usually ignore or listen less to their juniors’ Egos and personal differences are the main of opportunity in tourism and wants to

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see young generation involved. The new that is not true. It is about using tourism to the inability of segregating the idea of good
generation should not invest in hotels and enhance the country’s economy and take and bad. We always complain the system
old ideas, but in new ideas as they are the dollars to the grass-root level to the and say that politicians are bad, policemen,
exposed to so many new things. But the poorest of people.” businessmen, everyone’s bad. We surely
problem is connecting the people with have good people among us. The challenge
money(but no entrepreneurship skill) with Mr. Shakya agrees that online marketing is:
people with skills (but no money). He sees will help Nepal Tourism Year. He sees the
banks as the potential rescuers in such possibility of linking search engines and
situation. “Now is the time for the banks other websites promoting tourism in Nepal “ How do you change
to come forward and start investing in
innovative ideas,” he suggests.
to the official site of the tourism year-
www.welcomenepal.com. But the problem
the system so that
is the effectiveness of the Nepal Tourism good people and
Mr. Shakya who was also the chairman Board, which, like many insititutions in
of ACE Development Bank says, “Forums Nepal, has problem in hiring and firing ideas are respected?
like these that support new ideas and staffs. “Forget about changing even a peon
the bankers who are entrepreneurs in there,” Mr. Shakya criticizes Nepal’s
The young
themselves can help by creating funds and bureaucracy. But he can also see the
support budding, young entrepreneurs”. solution. “I think the way to get around this
generation has
is hiring an effective CEO who brings new the responsibility
Describing the idea behind celebrating ideas and has the support of the board
Nepal Tourism Year 2011, Mr. Shakya recalls of directors. Unfortunately what happens of identifying the
history. After Jana Andolan – 2, the political in Nepal is that the people working in
parties wanted economic revolution governmental organizations don’t respect
good ideas, people,
and Tourism Year 2011 was announced their CEOs. Such mistrust is a fatal blow for and then support
officially two years ago. A lots of projects the organization.” complains Mr. Shakya.
like building new airports, cleaning cities them to change our
etc were delayed because the budget Once a foreigner told him nothing is
came late. But in spite of all the odds, we impossible in Nepal. It is very easy for
system ”
have seen 40% increase in tourist arrivals. clever people to work this system where-
“The media has portrayed that the target as it can be very difficult for those who are E4N
of tourism year is one million visitors but not. “The problem I see in our society is

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS appear in this book) to date for donating
their time, sharing their experiences, and “Share freely, Share widely”
Entrepreneurs for Nepal (E4N) is run by opening their networks and contacts to
volunteers. Volunteers, by definition, E4N members You’re given the unlimited right to
donate time, knowledge, skills, contacts, print and distribute this magazine and
ideas and even money to causes they Bijaya Shiwakoti for the continuing Nepali we encourage you to share it.
believe in. E4N volunteers do all that translation work of this handbook
and more. That’s because they believe This license lets you distribute, remix,
in promoting an ecosystem which helps All E4N Facebook members and those who tweak, and build upon this work, even
entrepreneurship flourish in Nepal. E4N attended our gatherings for their time, commercially, as long as you credit us
is one platform to help create networks, interest, ideas and encouragement for the original creation.
contacts and, ultimately, jobs that produce
goods and services in and for Nepal. In Digital Max Solutions (www.digital.com. This work is licensed under the
addition Entrepreneurship also promotes np) for helping make this wonderful Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
the tenets of self-respect and success handbook. Also for building, maintaining Unported License.
among Nepalis and friends of Nepal and hosting our website on their secure
everywhere. servers To view a copy of this license, visit
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/
E4N is grateful to the following individuals by/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative
and the institutions for their help. Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite
300, San Francisco, California, 94105,
Mrs. Ambica Shrestha of Dwarika’s Hotel, USA.
Battisputali, Kathmandu for supporting the
cause of E4N in words and deeds

Manish Jha, Surath Giri, Niraj Khanal, Sarita


Sapkota and Saurav Sharma from Samriddhi
for excellent draft summaries of E4N
speakers

All past speakers (whose talk summaries

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50
ABOUT E4N CORE team creativity of Nepali youth. He divides his National Banking Training Institute (NBTI).
time between Nepal and US. With two major start-up experiences at
national and international level, Sanjib
JAYA BURATHOKI ROBIN SITOULA has accumulated good insight into the
Jaya completed her higher Robin is a democracy and entrepreneurship. While working in
studies from India and public policy activist based Bangkok he got the opportunity to closely
Australia and has worked in Kathmandu. He has been observe large local businesses as well
in the media and banking actively involved in various MNCs which exposed him to the practical
sectors in Nepal. She social movements in the last aspects of global business environment.
enjoys new experiences 10 years. He believes that
and believes in following her heart. economic development of a country should Sanjib has respect for socially responsible
be the priority of all nation states and that entrepreneurs who risked their time and
sound public policy can lead to prosperity. investment to create employment and
SAGAR ONTA wealth so that the society we live could be
Sagar believes that Apart from running his own enterprise, a better place.
unleashing entrepreneurial Robin works for Samriddhi, The Prosperity
energy of the Nepali Foundation as Executive Director. You can
youth is one of the keys contact him at robin@samriddhi.org ASHUTOSH TIWARI
to changing the Nepali Ashu started his career
society. He is focused in Nepal as a grassroots
on building sustainable institutions and SANJIB SUBBA activist in villages.
organizations to do the same, and is always Sanjib started his real life In 2000, working at
looking for opportunity to grow and learn. journey with the then Backward Society
Gindlays bank in 1991 Education (BASE), he
He grew up in Kathmandu and received and after eight years of assisted Dilli Bahadur Chaudhary (UK’s
his engineering education in Bangkok banking stint he moved Anti-Slavery Award winner in 2002) with
and US. After working for eight years as to Thailand to be part of the brand new the launch of a social movement that freed
a consultant in US, e-commerce owner American University. He called Thailand his up to 200,000 bonded farm laborers from
and community organizer, he is now home for 10 years before finally relocating debt bondage in Dang, Bardiya, Kailali,
focused on entrepreneurship projects that back to Nepal. in 2009 to kick start a Kanchanpur and Banke districts. Convinced
combine the resources of the west with the ambitious project of Banking Academy, that for-profit businesses enabled the poor

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to take charge of their lives, he became “Digital Max Solutions (DMS)” in Nepal.
a small business advisor. From 2001 to
2007, he worked with small businesses in In 2002 He become a conflict
Nepal and Bangladesh as an employee of Transformation trainer. Today he leads a
the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ), 3,500 strong community of youth activists
and of World Bank’s International Finance against “Bandhs” (Forced violent city
Corporation (IFC) respectively. shutdowns).

In 2007, he joined Himalmedia as its CEO. In 2007, He built an organic coffee farm,
His main tasks were to negotiate with trade “Shangrila Coffee” in his village in Syangja,
unions and to turn around the company. He He has also set up an online travel help
accomplished both tasks with support from community for travelers in Nepal (www.
the staff and the board. At present, he is exoticbuddha.com) with nearly 2,000 travel
London-based WaterAid’s country head in help articles on Nepal.
Kathmandu -- a job that gives him a front-
row seat to understand how development He juggles most of his time between
is done or not done in Nepal. Helping other experimenting in information technology
people achieve success makes him happy. ideas, mentoring entrepreneurs and
organizing activists.

UJWAL THAPA At present, he is persistently provoking


Ujwal is an Activist Nepalis to start a common sense led
Entrepreneur. He revolution to bring positive change in
builds (organizations, Nepal. Join him!
businesses, platforms)
And he provokes To read about his ideas and vision for
(Nepalis to change Nepal, Visit his website www.whynepal.com
Nepal)

In 2001, He came back from the US to start E4N


up his own online branding IT company,

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your notes here...

•Visit our website at www.e4nepal.com •Email us at info@e4nepal.com •Write to us at E4N, P.O.Box 14478, Kathmandu, Nepal

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your notes here...

•Visit our website at www.e4nepal.com •Email us at info@e4nepal.com •Write to us at E4N, P.O.Box 14478, Kathmandu, Nepal

Click here to join E4N on Facebook