Cover July_Aug 2013.indd

Comments

Transcription

Cover July_Aug 2013.indd
Issue 03
7 HABITS OF THE HIGHLY
EFFECTIVE ENTREPRENEUR
Issue 03, 15 July - 14 August 2013 / Rs. 60
ideas
changing
Nepali
tourism
A crop of new entrepreneurs are
thinking out of the box to reimagine
tourism in Nepal. They’re reaping
the benefits too.
15 July - 14 August 2013
Going
g bananas
over marketing?
g
GO GUERILLA!
+
What you can
learn from failure
Re-introducing
the Nepali Robot
Are you ready to see robots
fight it out in Nepal?
28
Issue 3, 15 July - 14 Aug 2013
Publisher ECS MEDIA Pvt. Ltd.
Managing Editor Sunil Shrestha
Director, Editorial & Marketing Nripendra Karmacharya
Group Editor Anil Chitrakar
Sr. Manager, Editorial & Marketing Sudeep Shakya,
Neeraz Koirala
Sr. Manager, Business Planning & Development
Rupesh Shakya
Manager, Editorial & Promotions Niladri S. Parial
Editor Utsav Shakya
Editorial Co-ordinator Prabal Shrestha
Editorial Enquiries [email protected]
Design Executive Sunil Maharjan
Assistant Design Executive Samir Ra j Tamrakar
Design Assistants Narayan Maharjan, Nirja Gauchan
Design Trainee Shraddha Ra jbhandari
editor’s note
Sr. Photographers Dash B. Maharjan
Photographers Suyesh Ra j Shrestha, Hari Maharjan,
Umesh Basnet, Rabindra Pra japati, Yogendra Maharjan
Patan’s Swotha Tole used to be just another exotic-sounding
name. Its main courtyard was a dumpster and locals carelessly
used the overgrown foliage around an old house as an open
toilet. Fast forward a few years and visit Swotha today. The
dumpster is gone, and the courtyard has a classy teashop
where locals and tourists laze around as they enjoy the
ambience. Nearby is Swotha Gallery, a gallery that’s dedicated
to documenting Nepali lives. To mark the gallery’s opening,
the owners had Kutumba perform. Foreigners and locals came
together that night, dancing together to welcome photography,
and art, into the neighborhood.
The old rundown house that entertained drunks before is
now a classy Bed & Breakfast that competes easily with the
city’s 5 star hotels. Adjoining it is a charming café, great for
escaping the monsoon rains with a book, some coffee and their
magic juju dhau cake. More of Patan’s locals who had moved
away have come back since and renovated their homes to
catering to this surge in tourism. How did Swotha undergo this
transformation?
The answer of course is tourism. When Jitendra Shrestha
renovated his home in Swotha, he rented out rooms to
willing expats. They loved it so much that they spread word
about this decades-old traditional home in Patan. One
man’s entrepreneurial idea has changes numerous lives and
encouraged similar ideas in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur.
Swotha is one of many neighborhoods in Nepal that is
benefitting from new entrepreneurial ideas in tourism. If
executed well and with the participation of the respective
communities, tourism can change the face of Nepal, one idea at
a time. The raw material – to put it crudely – is all ready. All we
need now are some great chefs to serve Nepal to the world.
Head, Business Development Angiras Manandhar,
Bijendra Pradhan
Assistant Executives, Business Development
Jenija Manandhar
Ad Enquiries: [email protected]
Account Executive Jeena Tamrakar
Accounts Assistant Amir Ba jracharya
Sr. Executive, Production & Distribution Bikram Shrestha
Credit Assistant Rabin Maharjan
Subscription & Distribution Executive Atulya Acharya
Subscription & Distribution Coordinator Sujan Shrestha
Subscription Assistants Junee Tandukar, Rabin Maharjan,
Ra jaram Nagarkoti
Promotions & PR Assistant Rashmi Agrawal
VenturePlus Magazine, Kupondole, Lalitpur, Nepal
. Tel: 501.1571, 501.1639 Issue No. 3 „ 15 July - 14 Aug 2013
Color Separation Published at
WordScape The Printer Pvt. Ltd.
Bhaisepati, 5548861, 5552335
VenturePlus Magazine is published 12 times a year at the address above.
All rights reserved in respect of all articles, illustration, photography, etc
published in VenturePlus Magazine. The contents of this publication may not
be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without the written consent
of the publisher. The opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily
those of the publisher, who cannot accept responsibility for any errors or
omissions. All editorial inquiries and submissions to VenturePlus Magazine
must be addressed to [email protected]
Each Issue Rs. 60.00 in Nepal, Annual Subscription in Nepal
Rs 600.00 (For 12 issues) | Send all subscription request to
VenturePlus Magazine,
E-mail: [email protected]
Utsav Shakya,
Editor
[Please send in your suggestions and ideas, stories even, to our Facebook page, tweet
us (ventureplus1) or to [email protected] This is how we learn and improve
and the best message also wins a prize!]
Our sister publications
Issue 3, 15 July - 14 Aug 2013
inside
features
A crop of new
entrepreneurs are
thinking out of the box
to reimagine tourism in
Nepal. They’re reaping
the benefits too.
Pg 18
28 5 IDEAS THAT ARE CHANGING NEPALI
TOURISM, Text by Kritish Rajbhandari
Blogging is probably
the best tool to build a
community with lasting
connections.
Pg 40
48 GOOD VENTURES NEED GOOD BLOGGERS,
Text by Prabal Shrestha
Pg 66
Pg 22
Page 60
Differences in opinion
can solve problems
too. If everyone agreed
on the same thing, the
world would be a pretty
darn boring place.
60 CREATING ENTREPRENEURS,
Text by Ujeena Rana
Issue 3, 15 July - 14 Aug 2013
contents
how to
going bananas over marketing? go
guerrilla! 38
5ways to stand out on Facebook 44
do you really need an office? 46
breifing
hitting the right notes 18
introducing the nepali robot 20
how to renovate a home into a
business venture 22
what is kazi studios doing right? 24
team
the 10-minute meeting 40
7 habits of the highly effective
entrepreneur 64
features
5 common book-keeping mistakes
entrepreneurs make 27
getting started with the legalities 36
good ventures need good bloggers 48
what do you think? 52
what you can learn from failure 56
handshakes for dummies 66
entrepreneur to-do list 82
Pg 64
columns
entrepreneurial opportunities in the
tourism industry 42
do entrepreneurs need an mba
degree? 54
reflections 74
the recommender 78
shop
movie review
book review
health tips
gadgets
brands
apps
on the cover
Tourism entrepreneurs are venturing out to
introduce Nepal to the world in new ways.
Illustration By www.water-comm.com
Contributors
was building a primary school in
Sindhupalchowk and helped raise
over $10,000 for the project.
Shabda Gyawali is an entrepreneur,
blogger, and an aspiring impact
investor. He started off his professional
career as a Gap Year associate in Beed
Management. After a stint at Beed, he
experimented with his entrepreneurial
acumen and started an eco-tourism
venture in rural Sri Lanka. As a board
member, he advises Biruwa Venture
initiated Udyami Impact Fund, this give
him an opportunity to be a part of the
flourishing entrepreneurial community
in Kathmandu. Since 2007; he has
been contributing regularly about
entrepreneurship in local publication
and blogs at ‘economistkancha’.
Currently, he is excited to work as
an Investment Manager for Dolma
Impact Fund, an internationally
finance private equity fund that plans
to provide growth capital to Nepali
SMEs. He earned his undergraduate
in Economics and his MBA in Social
Entrepreneurship from Colorado State
University, USA. In his free time he
enjoys working out, drinking craft beer,
following geo politics, reading and
great outdoors.
Favourite tourist destination:
My favorite tourism destination is
Bridum, a small village in the Lang tang
National Park area, nestled among
the soaring Himalayan Mountains
on the Tibetan border. Backed by
the community, you will exclusively
experience their warm hospitality,
coupled with crisp fresh air, scenic
wonders, spiritual influences, and
adventure travel. Only about 6 hours
from Kathmandu, Bridum is a prefect
getaway to re-energize for the hustle
and bustle of an urban life.
Vidhan Rana I recently started
calling myself an entrepreneur.
The word entrepreneur goes well
with my character. I love coming
up with new ideas and finding
new ways of doing things. I fail.
I learn. I move forward. Two
years ago, I co-founded Biruwa
Ventures. A company that
supports young entrepreneurs
transform their business ideas
into real businesses. I stay
involved. While studying in
the U.S., I joined a team that
Srishti RL Shah spent a
year and half for an academic
degree and another two years
of work experience all trying to
figure out what Development
Communication entails. She
realized that one big piece of the
puzzle has hardly been explored
and thus under-utilized – stories.
Reaching out to people has to
include stories about lives which
is much more relatable than the
more used poster campaigns and
PSAs. So the past year onwards
she decided to write, snoop for
stories in events and lives, and
learn.
Favorite destination:
I have hardly ventured beyond
our subcontinent so most corners
of the world remain a television
reality to me. From among the few
destinations I have explored, my
favorite would have to be Udaipur –
Favourite destination in Nepal:
While growing up, my family spent
a lot of time in our ancestral home
in Nepalgunj. As a result, I grew
an affinity towards the jungle and
wildlife around the area. We used to
go for camping trips in and around the
Bardia National Part. Last December,
a group of my friends went for a
three night recreational fishing trip
in the Babai river valley inside Bardia
National Park. Though we were all
amateur “fishermen”, we thoroughly
enjoyed the trip because of the
pristine nature and wildlife. We spent
nights in a camp huddle around a
camp fire listening to the sounds of
the jungle. We were chased by an
angry wild elephant. This is truly an
amazing destination that outdoor
lovers should experience in Nepal.
the city of lakes: Rajasthan’s vibrant
culture and culinary traditions, the
old world charms that remain intact
in the city’s labyrinth of narrow
lanes, and the palaces that keep
the cityscape almost frozen in
time. Sunset at Lake Pichola with
reflections of the grand City Palace
and the pristine Lake Palace is a
golden hued dream that slows down
time transforming an evening into a
spiritual memory.
Want to write for VenturePlus? Send us your resumes and writing
samples to [email protected]
mailbox
mailbox
Leotftthee r
Month
I always wanted a
Nepali magazine
completely dedicated
to entrepreneurship,
which could help aspire
entrepreneurs like me and
others to get motivated to do something for the
country by creating a value-added business, which could
raise the country’s economy alongside creating job
opportunities for thousands of jobless citizens.
My wish was fulfilled when the 2nd edition of VenturePlus
got to me and I started reading it, appreciating the
effort your team had put into bringing out an 80-page
magazine.
The articles are really inspiring, interesting and
thoughtful. The topics covered are so resourceful and
motivating that its hard to believe that its just a 2nd
edition, and its way more to go.
It would be better if it explored other cities too instead
of being capital-centric to bring some really good
entrepreneurs who need exposure and a platform which
can appraise what they are doing. Last but not the least
it’s a great magazine and you’re doing a wonderful job
of creating young entrepreneurs. Keep it up guys! Ashish
Subedi, Hattiban
Send us your feedback to our facebook page and you
could win a gift hamper worth Rs. 4000 courtesy the
ESCAPE store, City Centre, Kamal Pokhari
Picture Worth A
Thousand Words
A colleague passed me the
June issue of VenturePlus and
asked me to send feedback
about it. I was captivated by
the glimpse, and slowly scanned
through the content. The initial
pages are fully occupied by the
advertisements. I did not like
this. I was influenced by Michael
Siddhi’s article titled ‘nurture
that spirit’. Through the
example of an old man, Siddhi
was successful in making me
think if it was too early to let my
spirit die a slow death too.
I hope you will take these
views positively. I like the way
advertisements have been
inserted at the middle section.
The printing is not satisfactory.
The bottom margin is not
uniform which has caused the
footer with the page number
to be cut on some pages. I feel
that Venture Plus sticks with
the adage “a picture is worth a
thousand words”. The images
here give a visualization of what
the article wants to say. – Sujal
Manandhar
Great Info Graphis
I got hold of the 2nd edition
of the magazine at my office
today. The name Venture Plus
enticed me. I was surprised,
delighted and excited to
know that it indeed is a
magazine from ECS. After
flipping through few pages,
I saw the yellow cover of the
first issue of VenturePlus and
I realized that I had seen the
cover on a magazine stand.
I had not bothered to buy
the magazine at that point
of time so I thought it was a
foreign magazine, the cover
being too good to be a local
magazine. At home, I read it all,
even curtailing my usual novel
reading time to go through
VenturePlus. The articles and
the content are well-crafted. I
liked the info graphics the best.
The design, the layout and the
illustrations are just perfect.
Kudos team VenturePlus! Just
focus on having less typos in
your next edition. - Sachin Joshi,
Lalitpur
briefing
people
hitting the right notes
Whether it is playing jazz or running a successful restaurant,
Sudesh Shrestha follows a single rule - make sure you
know who your audience is.
Text Akriti Shilpakar Photography ECS Media
didn’t work out that well
and three months later
the band split up, leaving
Sudesh to discover a whole
new side to himself.
rom playing in a band to owning one
of the most successful restaurants in
Kathmandu, New Orleans Cafe, Sudesh
Shrestha has come a long way. Battles
were fought on the way – some lost, some
won. At the end of it all, victory came to
he who who didn’t give up. Shrestha opens up about
his transformation from a musician to a restaurateur.
F
Plans don’t always work out
As a business student, Sudesh stumbled into working
at the reception of Kathmandu Guest House. That
was far from what he had planned. His dream was
to be in a band, doing what he loves doing best playing guitar. In an attempt to pursue that dream,
he gave up his job and started a band. But things
18 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
From music to
food, Sudesh
Shrestha’s journey
has been full of
experiences he has
learned from.
The making of an
enterpreneur
What most people fail to
understand is that everyday
is a chance to learn, to
grow and be better than
the day before. This stands
true in every walk of life, for
everyone, especially for an
enterpreneur like Sudesh.
He attained this knowledge
when he was in the US.
After the band broke up,
Sudesh ended up going to
America to work as a camp
counsellor for a couple
of months every year, for
three years. He shares,
“The experience humbled
me. Contrary to the Nepali
rudimentary mindset where
doing only what the job
asked of me was enough,
I did everything in the
camp. This was when I got
interested in food culture.”
He was a work-in-progress,
so when he came back
home he was ready to
take on the challenges of
running a company.
New Orleans in Nepal
Sudesh’s first restaurant was Thamel’s
Himalayan Kitchen. The aim was to introduce
western food to the locale, which was relatively
new for Thamel then. He trained the chefs
himself and even got involved in the kitchen.
But an enterprenuer is always on the move,
thriving on the execution of new ideas. Sudesh
wanted an open space in the restaurant,
which was not possible in the location where
Himalayan Kitchen was housed. So he moved
the eateria to a new spot within Thamel, and
gave it a new name – New Orleans Cafe.
Know your audience
Sudesh’s main mantra of success is to know
who you are catering to. About New Orleans
he says, “The restaurant is targetted at
backpackers. And so the ambience is set
with a tone to make them comfortable.” He
points at the worn out tables that have not
been changed ever since the restaurant’s
christening and says, “Many suggest me to
get the tables changed or painted, but I don’t
find it necessary. Say, I change the tables
and put tidy table-cloth on it – a sweaty,
dirty backpacker would hesitate to enter the
restaurant.” The bottomline is that one needs
to be clear who their audience is. The moment
that clarity is lost, so is the business.
The ace card
Behind every successful business there is
strong, supportive and trustworthy staff. “Two
of the staff members that are working for me
today have been with me since Himalayan
Kitchen started,” shares Sudesh. He adds,
“Other team members have been with me for
atleast 10 years. They have earned my trust
and I have earned their’s.” The staff sell your
products for you, bring in more business and
so its important to keep your staff happy and
satisfied. A happy staff is always pleasant
with the customers, which in turn keeps the
customer happy. Along with New Orleans,
Sudesh also handles three other ventures.
How does he manage to do it? He uses this
ace card.
Staying young
To remain fresh is important
because after you have
done something for a while,
everyone starts to catch
up to it. Sudesh learned
this trick of the game with
time. While previously,
New Orleans used to
have electric live band
performances, it has been
tuned down to acoustic.
The reasoning is simple and
smart, “There are live bands
playing everywhere in
Thamel; why do the same?”
To keep the old eatery
buzzing, New Orleans
recently added a wine bar.
They have a special “wine
hour” from 3 to 6 pm.
Tips for aspiring
restaurateurs
• Three things
are vital for
a successful
business - Good
Food, Great Staff
and Pleasant
Ambience.
• Keep the new
ideas coming.
• Know your
audience.
4
Sudesh owns
restaurants at
the moment
• Olive Cafe,
Pokhara
• New Orleans Cafe,
Thamel
• New Orleans Cafe,
Patan
• Blue Note Cafe,
Lazimpat
You fall, you get back up
No one is perfect, everyone
stumbles and falls atleast
once; you are no different.
Sudesh has seen many ups
and downs throughout the
years. But he isn’t going
to whine over the failures
he has had. He says, “You
cannot take your falls
negatively. Instead you
move on, and learn from
those mistakes.”
You recognize a
successful enterprenuer
not only by the revenue
he earns, but also by the
impact he makes on those
around him. When Sudesh
told me that a few of his
staff today run their own
restaurants, that is when
it hit me – a successful
enterpreneur is also a
teacher and an inspiration
to others. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 19
briefing/technology
introducing the
nepali robot
Of many things we find hard to associate ourselves with, robotics
must be one. Nevertheless, winning international competitions,
building 3D printers and revamping the education system might
change your disposition.
Text Prabal Shrestha Photography ECS Media
n March of this year, a few Nepali engineering
students went to India to participate in the
international Autonomous Robotic Challenge [iARC]
organized at IIT Kanpur - Techkriti’13, competing
with participants from countries like Japan, UAE,
Singapore, Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka
and Pakistan. The fact that Nepal participated
would already be seen as progress by many. The
two participating Nepali teams, Nepal College of
Information Technology (NCIT) and Advanced College
of Engineering and Management (ACEM) came
second and third respectively. “Besides coming second
and third, our guys even helped the participants from
Dubai to finish their robot,” says Pavitra Gautam,
President of Robotics Association of Nepal (RAN)
I
20 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
The line tracking
robot is part
of Karkhana’s
proposed school
curriculum, which
will introduce
robotics to young
students.
Before getting the chance
to put forward a question,
my interviewee Gautam
posed one at me instead
“What is the first thing
that comes to your mind
when someone mentions
robots?” Not to his surprise,
my answer was along the
lines of describing metallic
humanoids. He tried to
justify my limited reply by
telling me I wasn’t the first
to answer with that. Despite
the fact that most people
in the country probably
haven’t even heard of
robots, let alone know the
accurate definition of one,
such an achievenment by
the participants is not just
a prize for a few, but also a
moment of self actualisation
for many.
The two groups were
selected from a national
level robotics competetion,
e-Sewa Yantra GRC
Techkriti 2013, organized
by RAN. The latter, not-forprofit organization, has
been organizing intercollege level engineering
workshops, exhibitions and
competitions, including
Nepal’s first national level
Upcoming Yantra 2.0
Karkhana and Robotics Association of Nepal are organizing their
third national robotics championship -Yantra 2.0. With Yantra 1.0,
they attracted over 100 participants from 20 engineering colleges
and 3,000 visitors. With Yantra GRC Techkriti, they came up with
two winners, who then came 2nd and 3rd in IIT Kanpur against
teams from seven countries. Now with Yantra 2.0, the stakes are
even higher and they are putting everything to scale even higher.
Yantra 2.0 is going to include participants from a more engineering
colleges, including those outside the Kathmandu Valley. And also, it
will be drawing teams from schools (class 7-10) and +2 colleges.
For more information and registration, go to www.
karkhana.asia
robotics competition, Yantra 1.0, since its inception in
2009. Since then RAN has grown from ten colleges
to twenty five. In this time, RAN has conducted five
national level robotics exhibitions, and conducted
trainings for more than a thousand school and college
students. “Before RAN came into existence, work in
robotics was scattered. Now there is a sense of order,
with different people involved in robotics working
as part of a community,” says Gautam. Gautam also
adds, “being organized has also helped us go beyond
Kathmandu. Through our workshops we have had the
chance to meet individuals working in robotics outside
the valley who haven’t had the chance to formalize
their skills. RAN has made it possible to provide new
opportunities for such individuals.”
As RAN works toward organizing the robotics
scene, Karkhana, a for-profit company established
in December 2012 and of which Gautam is also Cofounder, is working to create a new batch of robot
makers. The company is making robots that help
teach maths, science, techonology and engineering
to school level students. “I hardly remember most
things I was taught back in school. Do you remember
Archimedes’ Principle? Most people don’t. But what
if we were taught with a miniature boat? That would
have had a deeper impression on us,” questions
Gautam. Karkhana is involved with several schools to
introduce a more participatory form of learning for
students. Aside from making learning fun, with robots
to work with, these students are going to be better
equipped to compete in an increasingly technologydriven world. To show for the capacity of the robots
they have for the curriculum, the Educational Robot
Karkhana Rover - an all-terrain video capturing robot
-which is part of the curriculum, won the local level
NASA Space Apps Challenge in April this year.
Karkhana’s office in Gyaneswor has more guitars
lying on the floor than there are chairs to sit on (they
have chakatis). Any concerns you may have will be
pacified by the 3D printer they have just built from
scratch. Their innovations also include an e-Sewa
mobile cash vending machine, automatic timer
power strip, solar power monitoring system and ‘Lab
in a Bag’ – a solar powered afforadable laptop (in
progress), to name a few. As for helping the wider
robotics community, they have also set up an online
Karkhana made
news in the tech
community by
amazingly building
a functional 3D
printer from
scratch.
shop to supply electronic
components used in robotics
at subsidized rates.
As cool as it may all seem,
there is a greater sense of
purpose that combines
all these efforts. From the
capacity to transform our
daily lives in every small way
to transforming the economy
by introducing innovation in
industrial processes, these
efforts lead to the positive
change that Nepalis dream
about. There is still ground
to cover, these efforts need
to be supported by a society
that rewards innovation.
“It’s not just us, there is a lot
of work on robotics that is
happening here. In TU alone,
four hundred electronic
projects were done last year.
We need these innovations
to be recognised and
assimilated in the way we do
things,” says Gautam. Then
perhaps the news of a few
Nepalese students winning
robotics competetion against
the Japanese, Singaporeans
and Indians would not
surprise us anymore. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 21
briefing/idea
how to renovate
a home into a
business venture
In life, you can either love the present and
leave the past or love the present and live
the past.
Text Anubhuti Poudyal Photography ECS Media
The Dhakhwa
couple pose in
the living area of
Dhakhwa House.
All the bricks are
reclaimed.
have always wondered how it
would be to look at Kathmandu
from a stranger’s perspective.
Loving Kathmandu takes time,
but once you do there is little you
can do to change that. Prakash
Dhakhwa’s home, Dhakhwa House
allows foreigners a different, truer
perspective to life in Patan.
I was introduced to Dhakhwa
House, a Newar homestay-apartment
place in Patan’s Nagbahal recently.
From the outside, the place looks no
different than the other small Newar
homes that line the street leading to
the popular Golden Temple. I walked
into the place with Jitendra Shrestha,
who designed the place. As I entered
the small courtyard, I began to see the
little and big ways in which the place
is different.
I
22 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
The foyer was airy and well lit. A
small coffee machine stood on the side.
The building looked strong thanks to
the iron rods that reinforced its walls. I
noticed big iron utensils used by Newars
used to make liquor. “Everything you see
here is not just for decoration. It is being
utilized in one way or another,” said
Prakash Dhakhwa, who owns the place.
It is this same practicality that
Dhakhwa and Shrestha aimed to
bring to their entrepreneurial venture.
Built more than a hundred years
ago, the house served generations
of Newari families, all ancestors of
Prakash Dhakhwa. Looking for modern
amenities and better ventilation,
missing in most old Newari homes,
Dhakhwa abandoned the place and
moved to Bouddha. When he came
back after five years, the place was
Prakash and Jitendra
pose on the balcony
overlooking the
courtyard.
in ruins; he didn’t know what to do with it. Then he
met Jitendra Shrestha. Shrestha is not an architect
by training but has an impressive track record of
renovating old homes. But this house is not merely
a renovated Newar home, its much more. Dhakhwa
and Shrestha’s vision was to use this home as
a profitable introduction for outsiders to Newar
culture and traditions. Whereas most Newar homes
and communities aren’t exactly open to outsiders,
Prakash would live here and open the doors of his
home and his culture to tourists.
The wide wooden stairs took us to the first floor
which has a spacious studio artmentment and
a kitchen plus living room where guests can get
together with the hosts and cook and entertain
themselves and guests. “People come here to stay
for a couple of months. More than a hotel, it is like
their home for as long as they are here,” shared
Prakash. By interacting with their guests more closely
and introducing them to Newari culture by using
their own lives as examples, the experience is more
personal, something that would not be possible at
any hotel or lodge.
To indulge guests, the duo have planned cultural
activities too. Take the recent aiila making classes
for example, where the guests shopped for the
ingredients at the local market, were guided through
the process of making the liquor in the traditional
A studio
apartment at
Dhakhwa House
will set you back
by
Dhakhwa house
has four rooms for
accommodation, a
common room and a
terrace.
It is a stone’s
throw away from
Nagbahal in Patan.
Even the garlic
and dried chillies
that are hung in
the place are not
decorative. Don’t
be surprised if you
see the lady of the
house pick a few of
them for dinner.
Along with
Dhakhwa House,
there are many
old homes which
have recently been
converted into
lodges and Bed &
Breakfast places in
Patan.
Newari way and then to
round it up in Newar style,
by getting drunk silly on it
on the conclusive evening.
As I left the place through
the narrow entrance by
bowing my head, Prakash’s
parting words rang in my
ears. “There are low doors
in Newari homes because
people want you to enter
the place with respect, by
bowing down. This place has
stood here for a long time.
It is not the first of its kind in
Patan, but I am glad about
that fact. The more we
realize that old homes are a
treasure, the more chances
they have of actually turning
into one,” he said. With
guests loving the concept
and paying more than
well to experience Prakash
Dhakhwa’s version of tourism
in Patan, he’s certainly
walking the talk and reaping
the benefits too. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 23
briefing/interview
what is kazi studios
doing right?
Its been only three years since Kazi Studios entry into the Nepali
market and they are already coming across as serious competitors
in the design sector. With a clear focus on design and a cool
office, for effect Kazi is in the news for all the right reasons.
Text Srishti RL Shah Photography ECS Media
fter seven odd years of working in the US
in the advertisement and design sector
respectively, Manish Shrestha and Kreeti
Shakya returned to Nepal because they wanted
to set up their own design firm. This was the birth
of Kazi Studios. Poojan Shrestha who had a good
understanding of the local market, especially the
technical landscape, joined them. In a market
where a plethora of creative agencies clamor
for a limited clientele, they seem to be putting
together quite an impressive portfolio and even
diversifying into a variety of design and technical
projects. Before even hearing about their work I
had heard about their creative and bright office
space with a table-tennis table taking center
stage. They seem to be playing by a different set
of rules when it comes to work and it looks like
it’s working for them. I tried to find out what Kazi
Studios is doing right.
A
It’s only been three years that you’ve come into
the Nepali design landscape and already your
website boasts of big clients. What brought you
this far this fast?
Manish: I can’t point to a particular thing as the
key to success, but one thing that’s core to our
24 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
work is we make sure our designs are valued.
When we returned from the States and interacted
with companies here, we found out that design
was looked at as secondary – a lot of designers
were earning from the printing charge through
a markup, while the design was charged for
minimally. We felt like there wasn’t really a
company with a focus on just design, and that’s
exactly what we wanted to be. We made it clear
right at the beginning to our clients we just
design and you can use your own printers if you
like; what we charge for is our design.
What is the most effective part of your work
model?
Kreeti: I’d say the openness. The sprawling space
lets the creative energy flow, and helps practically
as well when working under pressure, everyone
is a shout away and it’s easier to synergize ideas
that way since everyone is accessible.
Manish: I’d say openness also in terms of the
environment. The work environment is friendly
with no imposed hierarchies and titles. We try
and make every one as enterprising, and we
encourage everyone’s ideas. We don’t have
a clock-in-and-out type of work policy. The
Kazi’s approach
to work is
reflected in their
office spacefresh, modern
and effective.
employees have work set out for them
that they need to be responsible for
and have it done on time. That’s the
only thing we emphasize on; how many
hours they put in isn’t important. And
as a reminder of this policy we have
the ping-pong table right in the middle
of the office space so people can take
time off if that’s what they need to get
their creative juices flowing.
Is there a gap you see in the market
that you’re exploring?
Poojan: We are focusing on the crosssection of design and technology.
I became part of Kazi Studio for
this very reason. Kreeti’s skills with
design really impressed me and we
thought that we could put together
our strengths to fuse design with
technology. We are exploring mobile
apps, interactive casino games, and
websites among others, and for all of
that design and technology need to
come together.
So who keeps tabs on the trends to
cash in on? What keeps the ideas
flowing?
Kreeti: Each of us suggests ideas
and explores trends from our own
fields. And no one is left out of
the brainstorming sessions. The
entire company comes together for
brainstorming because everyone has a
different perspective to add to an idea
and that way many more possibilities
are discovered.
Manish: We are constantly coming
up with crazy ideas, some of which
we actually go on to implement. Like
Kreeti came up with a project involving
children’s toys, and we thought it was a
great idea and we begun brainstorming
about the technology that we can mix
with that. And Poojan suggested a cool
mobile app for the local market so
Kreeti gave her design inputs. We’re
always brainstorming to see what’s
missing in the market and what we can
come up with.
One rule that you play by that makes
everyone efficient?
Manish: We charge by the hour – that
makes it clear to the clients that it is the
design that the effort is going into and
that’s what we charge for. Also it keeps
us efficient as we can estimate the time
it takes on projects and deliver on time
while determining how much workload
we can handle.
Is the field of design getting more
progressive? And what elements do you
see bringing this progressive change?
Kreeti: It is definitely getting more
progressive. The smaller businesses are
spurring the design landscape because
a lot of entrepreneurs starting out
today are young, energetic people who
are happy to experiment and try out
new ideas.
Advice to other design entrepreneurs:
Kreeti: Please don’t sell yourself
low because design carries a lot of
importance; much more than the
production material. So don’t be afraid
to charge for your work. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 25
feature
common bookkeeping mistakes
entrepreneurs make
5
BizServe is an account
outsourcing company. It helps
your company to focus on core
business by taking care of your
accounting and tax related works.
(More info: 01-4001068)
Losing sleep over your company’s financial health? Making
time for effective book-keeping can give you a clear picture
of the company and lead you in the right direction.
Text BizServe Photography ECS Media
For a new venture, keeping track of financial transactions is as important as
focusing on your idea or your customer. However, most entrepreneurs in Nepal
are often too focused on the ‘running’ aspect of the business and overlook their
book keeping. Here we present 5 most common book-keeping blunders that
every entrepreneurial venture — regardless of their size and nature— MUST avoid.
Procrastinating on
transactional records
Recording transactions
into account books every
now and then is a tedious
job no doubt. Deferring it
only make things worse,
and may also add financial
risk. Not only will you find
it difficult to remember
all petty transactions, but
the authorities may also
penalize you for not keeping
a proper record of your
work.
Mixing personal and
business transactions
The famous adage
‘You work on your business,
not in it’ applies in the realm
of book-keeping as well.
Your business is a separate
entity from you, even if you
own and run it. So keep
your personal finances
separate from your business
transactions. Record what
you give to and take from
your company.
1
Not using banking
channels New ventures
often shun banking
channels for receipts and
payments because either
the amount involved is very
small, or it’s gratuitously
inconvenient. However, using
banking channels, even if it is
not a mandatory requirement
is desirable because it
provides a reference for
your transactions and you
can trace them back in the
event of a dispute or when
you are finalizing your annual
accounts.
2
4
Analysis of accounting
and financial data
Most new ventures
keep books and prepare
financials because they are
statutory requirements. They
never go back to the books
once audited. However, this
accounting data can provide
valuable understanding of
the financial health of your
business, how much you have
put into the business till date,
what is the return on your
investment etc. So, don’t just
prepare financials, review
them. V
5
Non-availability of supporting
documents Theoretically, and
practically too, you can’t have
any financial transaction without
having a reason to do so. And in
business, such reasons should be
documented. For example, if you are
paying rent to your landlord, you
must have a rent agreement. Plus,
you need to set a rule on who creates
such documents, who approves
it, and who ensures that work is
performed accordingly. Design and
ensure an internal control system on
activities to have a ‘check and balance’
mechanism. Also, ensure that a system
and not a person runs your business.
3
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 27
cover story
5 ideas that are
changing nepali
tourism
Text Kritish Rajbhandari Photography ECS Media
epal is known around the world
mainly for its colossal mountains
and as the birth place of the
Buddha. But there is more to
Nepal than just that. It won’t
be an exaggeration to say that
Nepal is more diverse in terms of topography,
ecology, cultures, cuisines and languages than
even an entire continent, say North America or
Australia. In this feature, I’ve gathered stories of
five companies that take a fresh approach to
tourism in Nepal. From life-changing mountain
biking experiences to a Nepali blend of jazz,
these companies have brought out newer ways
to sell Nepal’s unique products to the world.
These stories show that new ventures in tourism
sector if fueled by passion and commitment to
ideals can have beautiful outcomes.
N
A home away from homeDhakhwa House, Patan
1
A Patan native, Prakash Dhakhwa had
inherited a dilapidated house that was
standing for more than a century at the heart of
the old town. Full of his childhood memories, the
old Newari residence was crumbling with damp
walls, droopy ceilings and cramped rooms.
28 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
The poor condition of the house had forced
his family to move to a rented apartment in
Bouddha. Prakash ran a family business dealing
traditional handicraft items at Bouddha, while
his house at the center of a town bustling with
tourists was vacant and falling apart.
When Prakash was thinking about selling
his house, an old classmate of his, Jitendra
Shrestha, stopped him right there and
suggested that he should renovate the house
and turn it into a place where tourists could
stay. Jitendra himself was a part of the team
that started Traditional Homes, Swotha located
in a nearby neighborhood in Patan. Swotha is
also a restored Newari residence turned into a
luxury bed-and-breakfast place.
Foundations: The rebuilding of the Dhakhwa
House was done with a view to preserving not
only the Newari style and design, but also every
single component of the old house, from bricks
and wood to furniture. “Every part of the house
is filled with so much history,” says Prakash, “so
we have reused everything that was usable,
and added only what was needed.” Huge steel
support was appended from outside to support
the house so that old walls and rooms could be
Quaint and comfortable,
Dhakhwa House has
preserved old world
hospitality.
kept intact. Traditional wooden closets are still in
use. Even an old wooden box originally used by
the family as an altar during Laxmi puja, is now in
use as a counter at the coffee shop.
Despite being a house that has an old-Newari
appearance, Dhakhwa House is equipped with
modern amenities to match a standard hotel. It
provides guests with 24 hour hot water, free WiFi,
back-up power during power cuts and modern
attached bathrooms. With the right combination
of old and new, it promises its guests an authentic
experience of Newari culture, cuisine and lifestyle
without compromising on contemporary needs.
Difference: “This isn’t a ‘guest’ house,” says
Prakash, “it is a house where a family lives
together, eats together, and shares and gathers
new and old, good and bad experiences.”
Prakash had worked for public relations at a
hotel for a few years. Having been in the tourism
business as a handicrafts dealer, he is passionate
about hospitality and providing the best quality
service to his guests. He believes in going one
step ahead of the maxim Atithi Devo Bhava or
‘The Guest is God’. His goal is to make his guests
feel not like guests in the house or foreigners in
town but as a part of the family and members of
the community. He and his family live in the same
house sharing a common kitchen and dining
space with the guests. His family shares their
meals with the guests who also go to the local
tarkari bazaar for groceries, drink tea on the
terrace while having a chitchat with neighbors
and attend a jatra if one is happening. “Our
objective is to deliver the experience of living
with a traditional Newari family in a traditional
Newari house in an ancient town with centuries
of history and time-honored traditions,” adds
Prakash.
Besides giving
tourists an intimate
experience of the
daily lifestyle of
Patan, Prakash, who
is also a mountain
biker, occasionally
takes his guests on
mountain bike trips
on the hills around
Lalitpur.
The ground floor
of the house also
serves as a gallery
where handicraft
items mainly
statues of Buddha
made by traditional
craftsmen of Patan
are on display.
Sustainability: A rain
water harvesting system
is installed on the roof so
during the rainy season
the house can sustain
on this water. Similarly,
solar power is used to
heat water and light up
rooms during power cuts.
All lights in the house use
LEDs, minimizing power
consumption.
Vision: Only two months
since its opening,
Dhakhwa House has
impressed its guests. Most
of its clients have been
foreigners who come
for long stays, usually
more than a month, and
who want an immersion
into the culture. Prakash
wants to create a
successful model so that
his neighbors can also
follow suit. “There are
hundreds of old houses in
the town that are falling
apart and abandoned,”
says Prakash, “Each one
of these houses can be
turned into a similar
business with very slight
additional investment, to
not only promote tourism
and bring profit but also
to help preserve our
heritage.”
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 29
cover story
2
Initiative: Mandil started out by inviting the world’s top
mountain biking magazines for media trips. “I could
never open up shop and wait for the clients to come.
So I sent them an invite and promised to pay their
airfare, lodging bills and to show them a good time,”
says Mandil. They came, they saw and went back to
share their experiences to mountain bikers all over the
world. The next step was sorting out the logistics. The
connections that Mandil had made during his time in
Party Nepal turned out to be very useful in the early
days of Himalayan Rides to build the foundations for
his company’s operations. Himalayan Rides solely
focuses on operating its tours. Mandil spends much
time mapping trails, and planning trips to make sure
that all details from itineraries to safety measures
are thoroughly planned out and looked over. He
partners with other companies to advertise tours, to
connect to clients, and for other logistic operations like
transportation before and after the tours.
Operation: Himalayan Rides targets only a small and
select group of mountain bikers from around the world
who have a specific level of skill and experience, and
who are willing to pay for serious mountain biking
adventures in remote regions of Nepal. The tours are
conducted in small and intimate groups of ten. Since
Mandil is the sole tour guide, so far the company can
handle only eight tours a year. But he is not worried
about a small client base. “I am ready to deal with
lower profits as long as we deliver the top-notch
service that we promise,” he says, “Till now I haven’t
had a single unsatisfied client.” The tours take bikers
30 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Himalayan Rides’ unique
mountain biking products
have earned Mandil rave
international reviews.
Photo Credit: Gaurav Man Sherchan
From Rocking Parties to Rocky Pathways Himalayan Rides
Many people who are familiar with the name
Mandil Pradhan still associate it with Party
Nepal, Nepal’s first event management company.
Established in 2003 by Mandil with friends Robin
and Bhusan, Party Nepal touched the pinnacles of
success in a relatively short time. In 2009, although
Party Nepal was still rocking weekends in Kathmandu,
Mandil decided to quit. He took a year off to
completely change tracks. Based on his passion for
mountain biking and love of the mountains, he started
a company that operates mountain biking tours in
remote Nepali terrains.
Mandil remembers riding mountain bikes from
the age of 13. While in school, he used to ride with
his friends and explore the trails in and around
Kathmandu Valley. After Party Nepal, while he was
wheeling through rugged tracks, he was struck by a
thought. While Nepal’s terrain offers unlimited routes
for mountain biking adventures, there is a genuine
lack of companies that offer serious mountain biking
tours. Unlike trekking, mountain biking, which is
another equally popular sporting activity, has been
neglected as an avenue to attract tourists to Nepal.
So, Himalayan Rides came into existence with Mandil
as the founder as well as the only tour guide to lead
its tours.
through new trails in largely unexplored
mountainous regions of remote Nepal
combining adventure with safety and relative
luxury. Bikers stay at small lodges or guest
houses run by locals, and get to uncover their
lives as well as explore their landscape, history,
culture and cuisine. Mandil puts to use all of his
extensive knowledge of the Himalayan trails
and mountain bikes in his tours which at the
end become more of a personal engagement
than a professional enterprise. “By the end of
every tour, my clients become my friends,” he
adds.
Responsible tourism: Himalayan Rides strives
to make sure that the trips have as little
impact on the environment as possible. Its
trips are supported by crews of local people.
The company uses local services, guides and
drivers. Majority of accommodation used in the
trips is family-owned and operated teahouse
lodges. Nevertheless, the quality of service to
the clients is not compromised. Basic western
standard for food and lodging is maintained.
Future plans: in the business for only three
years, Himalayan Rides is booked till 2016.
Mandil plans to slowly expand the company
by recruiting additional tour guides and
exploring more biking sites. He believes that
Nepal’s Himalayan and hilly terrains make it
the world’s ultimate destination for mountain
biking, but most of the world barely knows it.
“Nature has already done half the work for
this country,” he says, “it’s just the other half
that we need to work on.”
Photo Credit: Raj Gyawali
Offbeat tourism - Socialtours
Established in 2003, Socialtours produces
specialized trips and activities for tourists
in Nepal by capitalizing on Nepal’s rich and
diverse culture, geography and ecology. “The present
tourism industry in Nepal is focused on a very small
portion of the pie that Nepal has to offer,” say Raj
Gyawali, founder of Soicaltours, “With socialtours we
hope to expand the pie by developing new products
to sell to the world.” Currently Socialtours has 75
different tours and activities and several of them are
new and unconventional tourist activities like rice
planting trips and hands-on culinary and handicraft
experiences. It also operates treks in routes that are
not so popular among mainstream tourists like the
Limi Valley circuit in Humla and Chepang Hills in
Chitwan.
3
Challenges: While a rice planting tour or a trip
following Nepali coffee from farm to cafe might sound
like fascinating ideas for tourism, such unorthodox
trips are extremely difficult to sell. In its early years,
the company came up with the idea of skiing in the
Himalayas with the tagline “Skiing above Europe,” but
no one bought it. One solution, according to Raj was
to advertise into specific interest groups. In social
networking sites like Facebook, there are groups that
attract people with common interests. For instance, the
coffee trip can be advertized to a group containing
coffee enthusiasts. There are always people out there
who would be interested in really specific topics like
mountain yoga or herbalism. The challenge is to reach
out to them and show them that Nepal might be a
place for them to travel.
Corporate Social Responsibility: Socialtours embraces
a business model that integrates codes of corporate
self-regulation in order to ensure its ethical standards
and responsibility towards its clients, employees, as
well as the communities and the environment affected
by its activities. So it designs culturespecific tours
and activities that help to keep alive different cultural
practices that are slowly disappearing with increasing
Trip yoga in
the mountains.
Socialtours’ ideas
are original and
this has won it
nominations at an
international level.
Some Sample
Experience Tours
from SocialTours:
Create your own
souvenir in Thimi:
Participants spend a
morning with local
artisans in Thimi,
learn the skill of
pottery and also
make their own
clay items which
are glazed, fired
and given back to
the participant as
souvenirs.
Cook like a local:
This culinary
course has become
very popular
among tourists in
Kathmandu. The
participants learn
how to prepare local
Nepali dishes like
dalbhat and momos.
The classes end
with lunch.
modernization. For instance,
the company organizes a
Newari bhoj every year with
a view to preserving this
tradition that is becoming
less common in Newar
communities. Raj believes
that resources for tourism
in Nepal are very vulnerable
if the key players do not
operate in responsible
manner to preserve our
heritage and nature.
Voluntourism: Socialtours
also works on projects with
local partners of Save the
Children Alliance Nepal
to promote voluntourism
(Volunteering + tourism) and
charity tourism in Nepal.
To combine tourism with
social service, the company
works to connect interested
volunteers from abroad with
projects that need extra
hands.
Vision: Raj sees an unlimited
potential for the tourism
sector to expand in Nepal.
“The entire far western
part of Nepal with its
cultural, geographical
and ecological wealth
has been untouched,” he
says, “Different forms of
tourism can and needs to
be developed in this region
with careful and responsible
planning.”
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 31
cover story
for the company was
finding talented software
engineers. “We were very
lucky that we found and
trained excellent engineers
for our company,” says
Sameer Maskey, Founder
of Parakhi.com, “As we
continue to operate the
website, we still find
it a major challenge
to findand fill certain
positions at our company.”
Easy hotel booking - Parakhi.com
Planning your travel has become much easier
with the help of the Internet. Arriving at a
place to scour for hotel rooms – that’s old
news. In Nepal, however, this is not the case. Only a
few hotels and resorts have their own websites with
options for online booking. The majority of hotels,
especially smaller lodges and bed-and-breakfast
places, have little or no online presence. While
international hotel booking websites like agoda.com
also cover a few hotels in Nepal, their reach is only
to major tourists hubs like Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Parakhi.com, a relatively new Nepali website, aims
to fill this void in the local travel and tourism industry.
Through its online hotel directory, users can browse
numerous profiles of hotels in different places in Nepal
and book rooms over the Internet.
4
Demand: Before starting Parakhi, the team conducted
surveys among tourists and hotel owners to
understand the need for an online platform for hotel
reservations. Especially in medium range hotels, less
than 20% of rooms are booked during off-season.
Many foreign tourists who cannot afford to book
rooms in five star hotels thought that online booking
for medium range hotels would be a convenient
option. Both hotel owners and tourists expressed
interest in having an online reservation system.
Challenges: One of the main challenges in the initial
phases of the website was finding the data to start
the venture. There was no easy way to collect data
besides visiting every business and asking questions
and having them fill surveys. Another stumbling block
32 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Parakhi is a great
example of a
company that
tweaked plans and
managed to sail
through choppy
waters
Parakhi.com
was originally
launched in
2011 as a
review site for
local businesses
in Kathmandu.
The idea was
similar to yelp.
com. The
website had
profiles of
businesses,
mainly
restaurants
and cafes, and
users could post
reviews and
feedbacks to
the businesses.
This content
was later
transferred to
parakhireviews.
com, after
parakhi.com was
relaunched as
a hotel booking
website.
Strong Suits: Unlike other
major hotel booking
websites, Parakhi covers
a wide range of hotels
in Nepal in terms of
prices and locations. The
website also posts local
updates about activities
of interest going on in
places where the hotels
are located on its blog.
Parakhi has a very strong
presence on Facebook,
Twitter and YouTube
through which it has
gathered many followers
and users. The website
is largely targeted at
Nepalese living abroad
who often travel to Nepal
and need to plan out
accommodations for
their stay. It also hopes
to get international as
well as domestic tourists
using the service. Nirmal
Thapa, Director of
Operations, says, “People
with disposable income
in Nepal are increasing in
number. So, the number
of people traveling for
holidays and work is
on the rise. We want
these people to use
our service.” Parakhi is
also launching its own
Android app in July which
will make it possible to
browse and book hotels
through a smartphone.
Jazzmandu: Tourism Through
Music
Jazzmandu is an annual jazz
festival that began in 2002
with the aim to promote jazz in Nepal.
Founded by Chhedup Bomzan of The
Jazz Upstairs Bar, and Navin Chettri,
drummer and vocalist of Cadenza,
Jazzmandu has been able expand in
its scale, reach and scope. The size
of participants from Nepal as well
as abroad has grown, now claiming
to be the “biggest jazz party in the
Himalayas”. The event has been able
to bring world-class musicians to
audiences in Kathmandu. In 2012 the
festival featured international musicians
such as Tito Puente Jr., son of legendary
Tito Puente, king of Latin jazz, and 11
time Grammy nominee Marlow Rosado
along with other artists across the globe
who came and shared their music to an
audience that was equally international.
5
Cultural Interaction: Over the course
of ten years, Jazzmandu has emerged
as a venue for musical interaction
among different cultures. Jazzmandu
creates a platform for musicians from
around the world with diverse cultural
backgrounds to interact through
music. Besides promoting jazz music
in Nepal, the festival also promotes
Jazzmandu
introduces not
just jazz to Nepal
but also jazz
enthusiasts from
around the world to
Nepal.
the unique and diverse traditional
music of Nepal, where top Nepali
traditional musicians share the sounds
of Nepal, with the audience as well
as visiting artists. Jazz at Patan is a
unique event that focuses on blending
sounds created by visiting international
musicians with local Nepalese
traditional musicians. This show of
fusion has become a crowdpuller during
the festival. The cultural interaction
has significant impact and influence on
everyone involved.
Promotion of Tourism: The Kathmandu
Jazz Festival has become an annual
attraction for tourists who would like
to include an international music
festival as a part of their experience
in the Himalayan country. Many travel
agencies have started including
Jazzmandu as an attraction in their
package tour of Nepal. The festival is a
pleasant surprise for tourists who get
to witness a jazz party with a Nepali
touch. The shows are performed at
some of the most fascinating locations
around Kathmandu, including some
UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These
performances help bring Nepal to the
attention of communities that might
not otherwise be aware of all that
Nepal has to offer. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 33
Religious Significance
& Bio-diversity:
WHERE: The region surrounding Mt. Kailash is
an important destination for Hindus, Buddhists,
Jains, Sikhs and Tibetans.
WHAT: Comprising sources of four important
rivers of Asia , KSL can provide significantly to
the tourism in Far-West.
Biodiversity:
WHERE: Khaptad National Park in
Far-Western Nepal, streches over Bajhang,
Bajura, Achham and Doti.
WHAT: With views of the mountains over
moorland, slopes and streams, Khaptad is one
of the major untapped natural assets of the
Far-West .
Historic Significance:
WHERE: Passing through Rukum, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve
and Rolpa, the trek takes tourists through Maoist strongholds
during the war.
WHAT: The trek that shows how people’s war began and spread,
is similar to war tourism products in Vietnam, Russia and China.
Mountain Biking:
WHERE: The gradually increasing mountain biking industry
attracts numerous riders from around the world to places like
Upper Mustang, Annapurna region and Manaslu.
WHAT: Both commuting and recreational reasons (cross country
biking, downhill biking, trial biking and BMX freestyling) have
made biking very popular amongst both tourists and locals.
Banana Restaurant:
WHERE: Tikapur, a municipality in Kailali District, is famous for
Tikapur Brihat Park.
WHAT: Banana Restaurant in Tikapur, serving only dishes made
from Banana –from Banana wine to Banana momos, is one of
the new tourist attractions in the region.
Sport Fishing:
WHERE: Babai Valley, part of the Bardia National Park is
popular for its rich biodiversity, inhabited by rhinoceros, gharial,
marsh mugger and even Gangetic dolphins.
WHAT: Sport fishing in Babai river valley is one of the
attractions of Bardia NP. Nepali rivers have around 118 different
fresh water fishes, of which Mahseer is considered to be the top
most prize
Religious Significance:
WHERE: Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, is a
place revered by all Nepalese and the wider Buddhist
community.
WHAT: Introduction of Buddhist cricuit, which also
includes Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar is an
example of how co-operation between two nations can
help promote tourism in both.
NEPAL INC.
Mount Everest and Lord Buddha? Yes, but so much more is in the offering for tourists, both foreign
and domestic, today. From mobile apps to brand new tourism products, its the beginning of an
interesting era in Nepali tourism.
Ethnic Heritage:
WHERE: The Gurung heritage trail is a newly found trek
that goes through Gurung communities in their indigenous
settings.
WHAT: The trail focuses on the rich cultural heritage that
surrounds it, adding another attraction besides the
scenary.
Travel App:
WHERE: Kathmandu is an open museum with historic
monuments scattered throughout the valley.
WHAT: Biruwa Ventures and Bajra Technology are working
on an App that provides guided tour through Nepalese
history and heritage as you go around the valley.
Homestay:
WHERE: Villages in the south of the valley, like Sankhu
and Chitlan, are popular amongst tourists for their rich
newar heritage.
WHAT: Homestays in the locals’ houses have become
very popular amongst the tourists, and have been an
important part of the rejuvanated tourist influx to these
places.
Core strengths in tourism
New tourism products
Great Himalayan Trail(GHT)
Local Industry:
WHERE: Providing four-fifth of all tea produced in the
country, Illam is widely known for its tea. Illam is also
known for its five As -Alainchi, Aulan, Amla, Amritso and
Aloo.
WHAT: Besides producing tea, the industry has also
helped attract tourists to the region. The tea fields of the
east are one of the major attractions for tourists.
GHT:
WHERE: Stretching beyond the eastern and the western
frontiers of the nation, Great Himalayan Trail is one of the
premier tourism products of the country that takes tourists
to some of the most unexplored parts of the country.
WHAT: Besides being a one of a kind attraction for
tourists, the organizations involved in formulating and
promoting the trail are also working to empower the locals
around the trail to assimilate the opportunity.
Dental Tourism:
WHERE: Dental clinics in Kathmandu provide some of the
latest technologies in dentistry, but at a much cheaper
rate compared to western countries.
WHAT: The cheap dental service here can be a reason for
tourists to visit Nepal. Money saved from the check up
can compensate for other travelling expenses.
feature
getting started
with the legalities
Ideas, business model, seed money, all check. But how do
you go about the legalities that you know so little about.
Text Prabal Shrestha Illustration Kayo Siddhi
ntiring excitement
fills the head as you
work on your new
venture. Trying to put
everything in place is like solving
a never-ending puzzle – you
add a piece only to find more
pieces missing. Absorbed by
numerous challenges, you are
likely to overlook the legalities.
For not knowing where to start,
for wanting to take it as it comes,
and for thinking legalities are
secondary for a business that
hasn’t made a penny –whatever
the reasons maybe– ignoring
legalities can be costly. Here are
a few simple suggestions to help
you move beyond legal obscurity:
You don’t need a lawyer to
write a legal contract but
double checking with a lawyer
friend is best.
U
Figure it out before you start
the show Legal issues are
not something you should
put off for later. You need to
plan ahead, do what’s required,
and also prepare for not-sopleasant developments. Some
of the most common legalities
to take care of are: choosing the
right form of business entity,
business licenses, supplier
and client contracts and
employee matters. Besides legal
necessities, it is also important
to plan for possible legal issues
that might come up later.
1
Find a friend with a
legal background
Entrepreneurs are
the hardworking-doit-yourself kind, but when it
2
36 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Write it down. Its not
just the contracts
that need to be
in writing. From
salary negotiations to basic
agreements, make it a point
to write things down. You
never know when the burden
of proof falls on you in court.
Having important aspects of
your business relationships
in writing can prevent most
legal headaches. Besides
being useful in court, a habit
of writing simplifies work and
defines duties and tasks clearly.
Having a written agreement
draws the scope of your
agreements.
4
comes to legal issues it is good
to have someone who knows
the law. Finding someone good
who you can talk to (frankly)
about legal issues for your
business for free is a great idea.
A good lawyer will try to build
relationships to venture into
prospects and not charge for
every meeting.
Contracts do not need
sophisticated words
Despite popular belief
that contracts need to
be filled with legal jargon, it’s a
better idea to express clearly
and in simple words terms and
intent of the parties involved.
Identify possible reasons for
disagreements and write down
terms and conditions to avoid
or resolve such disagreements.
3
Legal cases are not ego
battles It is important
to understand the
cost effectiveness of
legal battles before pursuing
one. Legal disputes are not
personal, “it’s just business”.
As an entrepreneur having to
protect your business property
and having to interact with
other businesses protecting
their own interests, legal
disputes are common. You
need to understand various
dispute resolution channels
– mediation, negotiation,
arbitration and courts. V
5
how to/feature
here is regular
marketing and
then there is
Guerrilla Marketing.
Guerrilla Marketing
borrowed its name
from Guerilla Warfare which
embodies surprise tactics
and non-traditional execution
methodologies. All these
define guerrilla marketing as
it is designed ideally for small
businesses that need to reach
a large audience to generate
profit without necessarily
burning a hole in their pocket.
Unlike mainstream marketing,
guerrilla marketing relies on
low-cost marketing strategies
like the use of stickers, flash
mob, and any new or reformed
innovative efforts. The thing
is there is no restriction to the
methodology but at the end of
the day it should bring home
sales.
As the father of guerrilla
marketing, Jay Conrad
Levinson says, “It is not just
science, not just art; underneath
it all, it is a business. Sure, it
is the art of getting people
to change their minds but if
it doesn’t show profit, it’s not
really guerrilla marketing. Your
prime investment in guerrilla
marketing doesn’t have to
be money; it is time, energy,
imagination and information.
And the more of those, higher
your profits will be and that
is what marketing ought to
be all about.” The concept of
guerrilla marketing however
continues to expand and grow
organically. That is why big
companies like Coca-Cola,
Volkswagen and Ray-Ban
T
going bananas
over marketing?
go guerrilla!
How do you have your company, your productservice stand out in a crowded market? Move
out of the comfort zone with your marketing
strategy. If you want to be noticed for doing
something no one has done before, you have
to present it in a way things have never been
presented before.
Text Ujeena Rana Illustration Kayo Siddhi
38 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Guerrilla Marketing in Nepal
have been inexhaustibly using unconventional marketing
ideas for their advertising campaigns, putting at bay the
naysayers who don’t label their approach as true guerrilla
style marketing.
One school of thought rejects strategies implemented
by large corporate houses as guerrilla marketing. They
might not be totally wrong, as the concept was originally
aimed towards small businesses. However, big businesses
have adopted the same ideology in grassroots campaigns
to compliment on-going mass media campaigns. Guerrilla
marketing is also termed as ‘brand activation’. “It is
particularly effective if products and services need locationbased marketing. Besides, with hordes of new products and
services entering the market, companies are looking towards
newer avenues to reach out to target customers,” says Arun
Sthapit, Client Servicing Head, Echo Ad, a pioneer advertising
agency in Kathmandu. One should follow pragmatism while
executing such ideas.
Through social media websites like Facebook, individuals
have also adopted this marketing style as a way to find work.
This application has proved to be an effective self-marketing
efforts. Recent Nepali films like Chhadke, Karkash and Uma
made extensive use of guerrilla marketing for their respective
projects during the promotional period. “These are exciting
times in Nepal. It’s not just in Kathmandu, you can see
youngsters from all over posting their creativity online, be it
motorbike stunts on YouTube, or cover versions of songs from
Butwol, Biratnagar and Nepalgunj,” says Manish Shrestha,
Director, Kazi Studios, adding, “In Nepal, very few people
have tried any kind of experimental marketing. We rarely
hear of companies taking risks to try out different medium
for marketing, so it is tough to tell how people would react to
a completely new kind of marketing.” In neighboring India,
startups have already adopted creative guerrilla marketing
ideas with great results. Subu Shrestha, Director at Business
Advantage informs that guerrilla marketing can be very
effective as it is not something that has been done much
here – if at all.
People in Nepal go for ‘tried and tested’ ways while
‘adopting’ guerrilla marketing. The looming fear is that
audiences will not grasp the meaning of the ‘out of the box’
concept. Other times, time and budget constraints limit
creativity. Fret not say Subu and Manish. “It is exactly at this
juncture that something really innovative should be used to
break the clutter,” says Subu. To this Manish adds, “I think this
is the beginning. After copying other’s great ideas for a while,
people will start tweaking and coming up with better new
ideas of their own.” V
• For Vianet, in view of their new
product launch, Kazi Studios sent
lavish wedding-like invitation cards
to their potential customers with a
big engagement ring made out of
fiber optic cables. The tagline said
“Let’s start a relationship together”.
The whole theme of the event was
almost a posh Valentine’s/wedding
setting with red and white brand
colors. The customers appreciated
the effort and the marketing effort
caught people’s eyes right away
• As a branding activation strategy for
Ncell, Business Advantage turned
an entire village purple by painting
every roof with the color of the
brand. This was executed on a small
village on the way to Manakamana,
visible from the highway and from
the cable cars.
• Echo had its brand promoters add
a shaving service to passers-by
at malls. This was to promote the
new Gillette Mach3 product in the
market. Potential customers did not
just get to experience the smoother
shave on-the-spot but were
presented with the razor too.
Things to Consider
• First have the strategy and then
work on the tactic to achieve it.
• It all boils down to doing things
the way your customer would care
about.
• Don’t do what everyone is doing. Go
outside your industry; adopt newer
ideas from other industries that
might work for you.
• Consider joint ventures with peers
that might profit both of you. Create
partnership instead of worrying
about competition and reap the long
term benefits.
• Never underestimate the power of
over-communication. Many small
businesses are selling themselves
short because they are not
communicating with their potential
customers enough.
• Guerrilla marketing is about focusing
on your customers rather than your
competitors. Great customer service
is the surest way of ensuring the
longevity of any business. Because
people talk.
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 39
team
the 10-minute meeting
HOW TO PLAN ONE AND WHAT NOT TO DO
The business world of today is super competitive in nature
and needs more regular personal interactions. Meetings
are a powerful business weapon. But attending those long
and never ending meetings everyday might get boring.Why
not try the 10-minute daily meeting?
Text Jenija Manandhar Photography ECS Media
s it important to have meetings with
your team members on a regular basis?
Definitely! Meetings are held not just to
get work done, but because they can be
a great way to communicate information
to others in your team. A meeting is
an opportunity for team members to share
knowledge and information and update all
parties on critical issues.
Daily 10-minute meetings help team
members answer questions like “What did I
accomplish yesterday?”, “What will I be doing
today?” and “What are the obstacles in my
progress and what are the other resources I
need?” A daily 10-minute meeting helps keep
track of work progress and updates everyone
on how well the organization is working.
Meetings can help a team arrive at a common
decision or a collective solution. Meetings are
also a way to get feedback and evaluation.
What are the key elements of a great
10-minute meeting? Read on
I
40 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Have a clear agenda in mind 10 minutes is
too short for you to ask “So what needs to be
dealt with?” Do that homework beforehand
and get straight to the topic. Create a list of all
the points to be discussed. This discourages
members from going off topic and wasting
time.
Set ground rules for discussion Send out an
email with the ground rules or talk about the
same at a prior meeting. Make sure attending
team members know what they are and are
not supposed to do at the meeting.
Assign roles Have a facilitator to direct the
meeting, someone to keep the time and
someone to take notes. All the issues cannot be
discussed within a short time. The interaction
should be restricted to the high priority issues
keeping in mind the time limit. The facilitator
will make sure this happens.
Active listening and interaction 10-minute
meetings are not a place to get emotional
about company philosophy. Listen when others
What not to do at a meeting
• Avoid unnecessary interruptions and
distractions: Do not interrupt when
someone else is speaking. Keep your use
of words and language professional.Keep
your mobile phones in silent mode.
• Don’t be a passive member: Participate
enthusiastically by sharing your opinions
and ideas with the group.
• Do not walk in late: Respect others’
time. Being punctual for meetings is basic
office etiquette and a latecomer impresses
no one.
• Do not just say “I disagree”: Learn how
to disagree in a constructive manner. Ask
questions to clarify rather than to assume.
• Never go to meetings without pen
and paper: You don’t want to miss out on
important points and then spend half the
day trying to remember what it was.
In the long run, daily
10-minute meetings
can help save a lot of
problems.
are talking and interact when you have a question
or useful comment to add. Paying attention to
what team members have to say and sharing your
knowledge with others can help solve a ma jority
of your work issues.
Body language Your body sometimes speaks
for you. Your choice of words, tone of voice and
gestures can either convey a powerful message to
people across the table or put them to sleep.
Morning glory 10-minute meetings work best
right before you’re starting the day. Energy levels
are at a high and your mind is more alert than
when you’re groggy after a heavy lunch. It also
clears any issues you might have to deal with
later in the day so that’s one less problem to take
care of.
“Daily short meetings in the morning keep your
ideas fresh compared to long meetings where you
tend to lose concentration. Short discussions with
team members provide a platform where you can
share problems and bring out best solutions from
the circle itself” says Renu Shakya, HR officer at
Laxmi Bank.
You may think that missing out on a couple
of these 10-minute sessions is OK because it’s
a daily ritual at your work. That’d be your loss.
Daily meetings can give
direction and purpose
to your day and guide
you too, so make them
work for you. Request
that one of the meetings
include a topic that is
of high priority to you.
Troubleshooting is better
with ten people than
going solo.
These short morning
meetings help the
team start the day off
with motivation and
enthusiasm. Meetings
support improvements
and consistent success.
The team leader can
really improve teamwork
and overall productivity
by improving the
meetings. Of course
people usually think of
meetings as boring and
less work - more talk. But
you don’t always have to
conduct meetings in the
conventional way. Don’t
be afraid to throw in a
joke to wake everyone up.
Don’t get carried away
though – you just have
ten minutes. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 41
column
Shabda Gyawali is an Investment Manager
at Dolma Impact Fund and a Board
Member of Biruwa Ventures-managed
Udyami Fund.
entrepreneurial opportunities in
the tourism industry
Nepal’s tourism segment is full of opportunities for the
entrepreneur who can break down the problems and take
advantage of the gaping voids in what is available for the tourist.
Text Shabda Gyawali Photography ECS Media
As Nepal slowly emerges out of political
instability and moves towards a relatively
stable political and economic environment,
the country’s tourism industry is experiencing
a phoenix-like growth to attract investments.
According to a study, travel and tourism industry
currently contributes 9.4 % of the GDP and
employees around 55,000 people. In 2012 alone,
tourism and travel attracted $147 million worth
of investment, and the rate of investment is
expected to grow by 4.4 % annually for the next
10 years
Predominantly, entrepreneurial or investment
opportunities in tourism industry has been
basically divided into two segments –
investment opportunities in capital intensive
luxury infrastructure and services mostly
catering to travelers with deep pockets and
opportunities in micro-entrepreneurial tourism
activities like teashops, and guest houses,
often run by substandard management and in
unhygienic conditions, mostly due to lack of
proper training in hospitality.
The existing stage of the industry has
created a huge gap in the middle market tourist
segment, opening up huge entrepreneurial
opportunities. This segment can be defined as
middle class population travellers: those who do
not want to compromise on quality and hygiene
but want it at an affordable price. Within this
middle market segment, there are emerging
opportunities to capitalize on the bourgeoning
domestic travellers’ boom. Domestic travel
spending generated about 66 % of direct travel
and tourism GDP in 2012 compared with 34.3 %
from foreign visitors. Domestic travel spending
42 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
is expected to grow by 9.8 % in 2013, whereas
foreigners travel spending by only 2.1 %. For an
industry that had been designed by the foreign
tourist, the growing influx of domestic travelers
has been a wake-up call.
With rising disposable income and increased
awareness, more middle market domestic
travellers are opting for adventure activities and
interaction opportunities with rural culture and
nature in unique destination; places that give
them a wholesome experience with comfortable
accommodation facilities. A great example is a
homestay facility inside a goat cheeses factory
in Makwanpur District, where the travellers can
also learn about cheese making, the Nepali way.
The current challenge is that one, the
accommodation facilities in these unique areas
falls short of basic hospilaity standards, and
due to lack of a web presence and promotional
information, very little is known about them
prior to the trip. For instance, to find out the
availability of rooms at a destination or of an
innovative tourism product, one would have
to depend on word of mouth or be physically
present at the location, which is highly
inconvenient.
By recognizing various gaps in tourism
value chain, one startup tourism venture (yet
to be named) lead by Ankit Rana has already
forayed into converting these challenges into
entrepreneurial opportunities. Rana and his team
are deploying two ma jor tools - technology
and basic hospilaity training to convert existing
challenges into scalable business models in
the largely unorganized hospitality sector. The
startup plans to build an internet-based platform
that will list aggregated accommodation
options of potential home stays, farm stays
and guest houses around the country. Along
with management advice on operations
and pricing, the startup will take charge of
marketing and promotional activities of its
listed accommodation partners. Currently, a
ma jority of the accommodation providers in
rural settings do not maintain websites because
of limited marketing expertise and lack of
access to the web. This platform will also allow
travellers to learn more about the listed facilities,
including, photos of rooms available, destination
specific activities, accommodation content,
and customer feedback. The startup plans to
leverage high penetration of mobile technology
among the accommodation providers to feed
in real-time availability of room inventory in the
online platform and facilitate online booking
based on real time payment solutions.
Apart from establishing an online footprint
for the facilities, the startup will also work
towards improving the quality of available
accommodation options. Trainings and
workshops related to hospitality, hygiene and
safety issues will buttress accommodation
providers to create more value. In the long
run, the startup has plans to provide financial
support (loans and equity) to accommodation
providers to finance improvements in their
rooms and furnishing. Non-investment revenues
for the startup will come from commissions on
servicing direct inquiries for local travel and
logistics, and a fixed transaction fee on bookings
through its online platform. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 43
how to
5
ways to stand out
on Facebook
With the world logging onto Facebook every day, its natural that
entrepreneurs are taking to the social network to advertise their work.
But when you have to contend with status updates, party photos, and
comments of the billions on Facebook, how do you stand out?
Text Gita Limbu Illustration Kayo Siddhi
Entrepreneurs are always in search of a platform to reach out to potential clients, and
no platform stands out more than Facebook. As of March 2013, statistics state the
number of Facebook users in Nepal at 1.9 million among a country population of 31.39
million. If the world is your oyster, how do you catch your pearl?
Make your ads pop If you
are selling a product/
service, do what it takes
for your page or your ad
to stand out. Choose your
profile picture and company
name keeping in mind your
target audience. According
to Mark Sears, Founder and
CEO of CloudFactory, it is
important to try out different
ads and images to get your
audience’s attention.
1
Know your clientele
Don’t go for a
blanket audience.
Get as specific as
possible. Have a model
of a person in mind that
would be interested in your
Facebook page and cater to
that guy. How old is he/she?
What would interest them?
What are their hobbies? Cater
to that guy.
2
44 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Short is sweet Get your
point across succinctly.
Facebook is no place for
long flowery messages.
Instead be smart, be funny, but
over all be articulate. You’re
competing with everything
from baby photos and cat
videos to invites for Candy
Crush Saga. You don’t want to
be boring here.
3
Clarify who you
are Making the
most out of your
Facebook presence
is determined by your target
audience and your purpose
of maintaining a page, says
Sears. Make it clear what key
topics you will be focusing on
and what you are offering.
“Keeping things consistent
and on target will build up
a valuable and attentive
audience over time,” says
Sears.
4
Interact Facebook
allows you to
interact easily with
strangers who might
be potential customers.
Take every opportunity, in
fact create opportunities to
interact with them. Reply
to queries immediately,
organize contests and
encourage people to give
you feedback. V
5
how to
do you really
need an office?
Lets face it, part of the appeal of striking out on your own
is to work out of your own cool office. But for a startup,
how do you decide whether you even need an office
or not and when you need one? Some entrepreneurs
suggest solutions from their own experiences.
Text Shriju Bajracharya Photography ECS Media
onfucius once said, “Instead
of being concerned that you
have no office, be concerned to
think how you may fit yourself
for office, instead of being
concerned you are not known,
seek to be worthy of being known.” It seems the
notion of setting up an office revolves around
the same saying. Every entrepreneur should
first groom their ideas, strengthen them with
research and work, instead of jumping into
matters bluntly.
An aspiring entrepreneur can progress to
the time of being fit to have an office, one
that is worthy enough to be known by others.
Perception always lights the way ahead. With
C
46 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
that idea the entrepreneur can now begin to
set up the space he requires to work.
A social organization, Kehi Garoun (KG) did
the same thing. They worked on their idea of
giving a platform to individuals who wanted to
take initiatives and established an office only
later – when they felt the need for one. Umang
Pande, the founder director says, “If your
clients need your services then open an office,
I did the same.” KG’s team add on the benefits
of having an office – how it sets a benchmark,
a sense of belonging to a group, a place to
meet up and discuss and more importantly on
being framed to work. However for starters, the
office setup cost would be a distraction. “There
is no rule that says one needs an office to work,
we can start work anywhere,” says Kayo Siddhi
who started as a freelance designer and later
co-founded Aavishkaar, a design, advertising
and marketing firm. Siddhi adds, “As we keep
working and persevering, we will understand
when we need it eventually.” He also shares
that in a field like IT, one can start up by just
interfacing in a virtual office. Siddhi ultimately
looked for an office space when their client
base began to grow. His experiences set forth
the importance of location in connecting with
clients and the image an office builds in the
society.
Biruwa Ventures, itself an incubator
providing office space to entrepreneurial ideas,
has much to say about needing an office.
When asked what entrepreneurs come looking
for, Vidhan Rana, the founder director says,
“When potential clients come in for a visit,
they look for a physical workspace with desk
and chairs, a conference room for meetings
and other office amenities like power backup
and internet services.” He suggests that the
best time to start using an office space is after
one has made a business plan and completely
studied the market. “Once they believe the
idea is going to work, the next step would be
to take up office space and begin company
registration,” he says.
Entrepreneurial ventures always sound
exciting, but needing an office for it is a
question that has to take into account the
idea, client services, market research and most
importantly the business plan. Once all that is
done, its then time to start looking for a cool
place to call work. V
Alternative
office spaces
Virtual office:
Creating a forum
where people can
meet up, discuss
and share data via
the Internet.
Shared office:
Sharing a
workplace with
someone.
Café office:
Discussing
and meeting
with clients at
restaurants and
cafes.
Home office:
Using a spare room
at home to work
and communicate
out of
Where can you find office
spaces?
• Biruwa Ventures, Nepal’s
first privately owned
business incubator helps
entrepreneurs by assisting
them with a clean, welcoming
and functional office space
inclusive of parking, 24hour power back-up, phone
and high speed Internet
connection. (01-4414414,
[email protected])
• Pasa Yard provides an
entrepreneur-friendly
office space from where
a business can operate or
a freelancer/consultant/
researcher can work. It has
basic facilities like high speed
Internet, conference room,
and amenities like printer,
photocopy/scanner machine,
phone lines, and a café. (015260919, www.pasayard.
com)
Benefits of having an office
• Helps in focusing on work
• Provides a place to conduct
formal meetings
• Gives a platform to discuss
uncertainties and new ideas
• It builds an image of
credibility for the work done
• Privacy, professionalism and
discipline is maintained
• Sense of team work
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 47
feature
good ventures need
good bloggers
Building your company is all about connecting – connecting the goods, ideas,
people and more importantly, connecting with the clients. And blogging is
probably the best tool to build a community with lasting connections.
Text Prabal Shrestha Illustration Kayo Siddhi
f you have heard the late Roger Ebert talk
on TED on how blogging has helped him
live after losing his lower jaw to cancer,
besides being awed by his approach to life,
you must have thought about your own
life and the role technology has played.
Blogging however, is not just for movie critics,
writers, poets, activists and the creative kind, as
most of us believe it to be. It is also a tool for your
business that can help you connect to your clients
and if you do it right, form a community around
your company.
Having a business website is a no brainer, yet
websites aren’t doing half of what they should
for your business. Most are still going on with the
old web 1.0 approach (I write, you read); but as
an Internet user yourself, you must have noticed
that a website with a few static pages does not
cut it anymore. A few regular blog updates can
change your website from a notice board into
a hotspot. The more you blog, the more reasons
you have to be ‘searched’ online. Blogs improve
your page ranking for search engine results;
every new blog post adds a new URL or page to
your website that can be crawled and indexed
by search engines. And if you are also taking the
social media route of marketing, blogs help keep
your followers and friends engaged.
Blogging attracts relevant clients, who are
genuinely interested in what you have to say,
unlike other online advertisements, which are
more annoying at times than being effective.
It is more like a two way conversation – you
exchange your expertise and experience for
I
48 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
your clients’ opinions and feedback. Blogging
provides a platform to establish connections with
your clients, and even get a lead on what their
preferences and inclinations are. Your customers
are more likely to feel connected to your
company, with blogs to comment on and to share,
and with a voice that speaks to them. Without
that connection your company might just seem
like a distant factory exploiting Oompa Loompas.
Blogs make your company real, something that
the customers themselves can feel connected to.
However, writing is hard, and even if some feel
otherwise, we can all agree it is time consuming.
Still, writing makes you think. The process of
posting regular blogs, looking for stories within
your business and industry helps you get a better
understanding of your business. All the writing
and talking about your business and the industry
also builds your image as an industry expert. And
as more and more people start referring to your
blogs for information and insights, what you say
becomes ‘expertise’.
The improved visibility, and the rising
popularity online - thanks to your blogs - not
only attracts new visitors to your blog, but
keeps bringing them back. Regular new blogs
with updated information gives something to
look forward to for your visitors. Your blogs
showcase your enthusiasm towards your work,
your excitement on being part of the industry and
your eagerness to interact with your customers. It
gives your company a voice, a personality.
The best part of blogging is probably the
best effectiveness-to-cost ratio. It doesn’t cost
Local
blogosphere:
Successful blogs add
value before selling Know
who you are writing for,
identify their problems
and address them. Show
how your business helps
solve those problems. Your
blog’s primary goal should
be to add value to your
customers. If it’s possible,
downplay your involvement,
people will get it without
you having to remind them
of your exceptional efforts.
sustainablenepal.
org Kashish Das
Shrestha writes
and photographs
on issues related to
the environment,
energy and
sustainability. The
research for his
blogs are selffunded. Kashish is a
Renewable Energy
Policy Fellow (Niti
Foundation).
you as much as online advertisements; and even if
plans for setting up a website for your new startup
have been set aside for financial reasons, setting up
a blog is definitely a viable option. You don’t need
a professional designer to setup a blog. Blogging
platforms like WordPress, Blogspot and tumblr
provide pre-existing templates (some for free). All you
need to do is start writing about what you are doing,
why you are doing what you are doing, and how it is
helping the community that’s evolving around your
business.
HOW TO EXCITE YOUR READERSHIP
Online content produced in 48 hours today is more
than that produced till 2003 from the beginning of
time, according to Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. The
last time someone checked, there were 161 million
blog posts on the web. In this explosion of online
contents, your blogs would most likely end up under
a heap of rubble. How do you get your blogs to
surface?
surathgiri.com
Surath Giri’s
regularly updated
blog posts quite
popular and
are mostly on
libertarianism,
movies, books,
economics, public
policy, social
media, travel and
more. Surath is
also a part of the
Global Shapers
Kathmandu Hub.
guffadi.com If
you’re looking for
some humor and
pointed satire,
guffadi is for you.
svbel.tumblr.com
Subel Bhandari’s
blogs are mostly
about his work life
in Kabul as DPA’s
youngest bureau
chief.
Don’t just write about
yourself Besides writing
only about the company,
talk about the market and
the industry as a whole,
imply the importance
of your work without
undermining anyone else’s people appreciate integrity.
Keep your sales messages
as low key as possible
Traffic does need to turn
into buying customers,
but for that you also
need a strategy. Identify
conversion points and figure
out methods to convert
customers. Your blogs
should have marketing
functionality, not to be
mistaken with “buy or leave”
approach. Your blogs need
to convince your readers
they need what you have to
offer. If it’s possible, provide
free gifts, whatever it takes
to get them listening to you.
Humanize Add a human
angle to your blog, keep
it real. Your blog should
be something personable,
something readers can
relate to. It must be
engaging, something to
look forward to, and not
something that looks like an
excerpt from a dissertation.J
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 49
feature
Specific example on how
writing blogs have helped
your career/ personal
growth.
The website is essentially not just
my primary publishing platform but
in many ways also my portfolio. So
it certainly helps build my profile
as an active researcher and writer
on issues of sustainability such as
environment, energy and agriculture,
with many years of background and
experience in this field.
J
Blog to build relationships. Tell your readers about your
business and the market, and make them feel like a part of
the community. Welcome comments, and respond in time
with helpful comments. Also make it easy and simple to like,
comment on and share your blogs.
Use keywords. To boost your search engine result rankings,
apply Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. Tools like
Webtracker and Keyword Discovery helps you identify keywords
and keyword phrases. Incorporate those words in your blogs
and layout, especially in the titles and the links.
Functionality is paramount. Your blogs must be easy to navigate
with easily visible headings. Use grids and categories, and make
it easy for the readers to find what they are looking for. Also
consider a responsive theme for your blogs that can adapt to
mobile devices; mobile is the future.
Visual branding is an important aspect of your blogs, even if you
are not pushing that hard for sales, your blogs can be a great
platform for branding. Try to weave in a theme throughout your
blogs, implying what your company is about. Make your blogs
stand out, but stay aesthetically appealing.
Diversifying the content is a good idea to attract a range of
readers. You could also invite other contributors, attracting new
readers via their followers. If you feature multiple topics, a grid
format could make it easier to navigate.
Mix up the media Your blog does not have to be all text. Photos
are a great way to improve the aesthetics of your blog, and it
adds to the experience. You can also include video to showcase
your work. Behind the scene pictures and video can also make
your blogs more personal.
Editorial Calendar will help you follow through with your plans.
Having a schedule makes your processes efficient, making it
easier to balance different categories, and track the tangible
outcomes of your blogs.
Write and rewrite. Develop your tool, find your style to present
an authentic voice. Titles are important, make them want to
read your blog. Track your performance and improve.
Enjoy the process. Your passion and enthusiasm will show
on your blogs. Get your readers thrilled to being part of the
community. V
50 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
How do you manage the time
to write?
Writing is how I probably
communicate best. And many times
I see something in the news and
realize I want to write about that
immediately with broader context
and if apt, a sense of the news’
implications. I am generally always
writing and making drafts on the
phone or the iPad even.
Were you worried that at the
start no one would read it, and
felt the effort is not worth it?
As a researcher and writer, my
first interest is to be able to put
out good, quality, and thorough
information and content. I think if
anyone can do that consistently, the
audience will come sooner or later.
Once I put it out there, it seems to
run on its own.
In Nepal’s context,
how important do you
think blogging is for
businesses, considering limited
internet coverage and even the
infant online culture?
When someone, or an organization,
begins developing a blog it
shouldn’t be just with the thought
of serving an immediate audience.
Internet users in Nepal doubled
between 2010-2012, and the
world will become increasingly
connected. So when an
organization invests in developing
a blog, what should be in their
mind is –a sense of where our
society is headed in the way it
communicates rather than where
it has traditionally been. It is time
they not only blog, but also build a
larger social media audience to give
that blog a better presence.
A few tips from blogger Kashish
Das Shrestha who writes on
environment and sustainabiity at
sustainablenepal.org
Follow his tweets @kashishds
feature
Workplace discussions
not only encourage
employees to
entertain different
opinions but also help
refine ideas.
what do you think?
ENCOURAGING DISCUSSIONS AT WORK
There’s three things to keep in mind when you
want your employees having constructive and
passionate discussions – the people themselves,
the reasoning and the methods. Get these three
things down and you’re well on your way to a
team that works better together.
Text Aayush Niroula Photography ECS Media
The Whos
An office space is segmented into cubicles. Even if
you don’t have those neatly squared boxes, you at
least have a desk, some leg room to stretch out, a
little corner cut out just for you. This dissection of
an office room can be thought of as the blueprint
for the under workings of the office itself. To each
his own. The individualized spaces we hold dear at
our work habitat, and the everyday memorabilia
we keep there, the little routines we indulge in
those confines tell us that employees are after
all individuals. Even if we are only a small part
of the whole set up, we are unique to oneself in
many of our daily choices, in music, websites,
lunch schemes, brands, drinks and even moral
conundrums. And the office is made up of people
who work it out together, who play as a team under
the aegis of the system. But if you take that out
it’s mostly a gathering of people in proper clothes,
with distinct histories, personalities and quirks of
52 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Encouraging Office discussions:
• Hold workshops, outings or office
parties on some regular basis to help
the people at work gel better and
also get the shy ones to come out
and bond with the rest.
• Create a better environment for
meetings, from having a large,
comfortable space to letting
everyone make their point.
• Do weekly lunch days where the
office can sponsor lunch for the
staff over a single table. Nothing
gets the conversation going better
than good food.
• Have an open door policy when
it comes to conflict situations,
anybody with a problem should be
able to walk in to the boss’s office
and discuss it.
their own. The point being: the said system that
binds all the people in that office together should
keep in mind the individuality of all its cogs if
it expects to do better as a whole. And nothing
proves this advice better than when it comes to
handling office discussions. Healthy discussions
are so important to get rid of the yes-sirs and land
up with better ideas, that we cannot push it off
altogether under the rug. But we cannot let them
get out of hand too.
The Why
We all know at least one Mr. Know-it-all in our lives.
It’s safe to assume the smartypants will eventually
get a job one day, and in his weekly meetings he
will annoy as many co-workers as he’s annoyed
fellow students in college. Then we have the knowit-alls who don’t really know that much but put all
their effort to convince everyone otherwise. We
also have the demure ones, who have something
useful to say but can’t pronounce it and those who
don’t actually have anything to say and out of
habit don’t say much either. We have everybody
else in between, from the passionate to the
stoically cold. While discussing an office matter in
a meeting, all of these personalities will play out
in their own ways. In a heady mix of ego, history,
and a fan that’s stopped working in the middle
of summer, you might have a full blown war in
your hands for the smallest reasons. Conflict can
be regressive if not handled with care or shaped
towards a productive end. And it leaves stinking
vibes all around.
The What to do
Management gurus are gaga over the ideal
conflict. Which is when every little exchange is
doing the company (and in turn its employees)
good. It’s not happening tomorrow at your office
though. The thing underpinning a bad discussion
is almost always a bloated or hurt ego. When you
don’t like someone, it’s very hard to see their ideas
objectively: the good ones are pompous, over the
top, reaching for clouds that don’t exist and the
bad ones are downright silly, hilarious even (when
you do that snobbish snort). If you see a pattern
in two people acting weird like that, it’s time the
hierarchy moved in and got to the bottom of things.
Literary pundits have
figured out a way of
criticizing creative
writing called the
sandwich method: say
something positive,
put in the negative
criticism and layer
it up with something
good in the end.
When suspicion is found
out to be true, it needs
reminding that the greater
good is always with the
better idea. Nothing
personal should be
tinkering with this mantra.
Put out the bad ego flames
and you’ll have an office
humming along like a
happy bee hive.
Also there is something
to be said about criticism.
Literary pundits have
figured out a way of
criticizing creative writing
called the sandwich
method, say something
positive: put in the
negative criticism and
layer it up with something
good in the end. This can
be useful when criticizing
upon ideas in an office
environment too – have at
least two good things to
say about something that
might be bad, so that the
person won’t take it too
personally, but one has
to be sharp and aware
of what he/she is saying.
Positive reinforcement,
putting out egos and a
good, solid leadership
will be enough to get an
office discussing things for
better results. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 53
column
column
Michael Siddhi can be reached at
[email protected]
do entrepreneurs need
an mba degree?
Are you an entrepreneur? Does passion drive you to aim
for the impossible? Are you the sort of person who needs
an MBA? Find out what you’re in for before you enroll.
Text Michael Siddhi Illustration Kayo Siddhi
My Grandfather (may his soul
rest in peace) used to say,
“If you study a lot (and get
higher degrees), you will go
astray (dherai padhyo bhane
bigrinchha)”. In line with that
value, most men in my family
got basic education (say
a Bachelors in Commerce)
and went straight into their
family business. It was a very
unconventional thought and
I immediately wrote off his
argument – until a few years
ago. In the last few years, I
have been wondering if my
grandfather was correct in
saying education ‘spoils’.
Unlike my elders who joined
the family business, the
generation that came after
me, and I, pursued higher
education like MBAs and
ended up getting jobs for a
living. Probably this is what
54 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
our education system does –
teach us to be conventional.
It enhances our perseverance
skills and ability to implement
concepts (thus making us
good managers) but does
little for our critical thinking
and visionary skills which
is so pertinent when it
comes to entrepreneurship.
So the relevant question
then becomes “Is an MBA
degree necessary for being a
successful entrepreneur?”
When my grandfather
passed away, there was no
Internet. If he had seen what
the Internet (and technology)
can do, he would have said
“Damn, there is no need for
MBA, whatever hole there is in
your knowledge, get it from
the Internet,online classes and
don’t waste your time over
getting an MBA”. Experience
teaches us things that no B-school lesson can
impart. The conventional system that we are
used to teaches us that ‘B’ comes after ‘A’, tells
us to get good grade and instils ideologies
straight from the book. So much so that we
lose the connection between education and
the real world.
Conventional wisdom says get an MBA
before you start your venture and it will speed
you up in finance, marketing and other aspects
of running a business. But then conventional
‘investing’ wisdom also says don’t put all of
your eggs in one basket. Warren Buffet, who
made millions out of the investment world,
did not take the conventional route. He was
a diversification skeptic who believed that
diversification will at best give you average
returns. So I am not sure if conventional
wisdom can be correct all the time. My take on
MBA is that a typical B-school will train you but
will not inspire you. It will make you educated
but not smart. If the notion that a typical
entrepreneur is a nonconformist outsider who
does not play by the normal set of rules is
plausible, then I would like to believe that they
will take the unconventional route.
That said, entrepreneurs do need business
skills like marketing, accounting, finance and
the like. The decision of whether to pursue an
MBA or not is an intensely personal decision. If
you are at odds, the right thing to do would be
to speak to people on both sides of the fence,
find a mentor (if possible), seek out your long
term goals and analyze them. I am not a critic
of the MBA program but simply a proponent of
thought that one can also get good education
without confirming to the norms. I did MBA
because at that point of time it was a fad to
My take on MBA is that
a typical B-school will
train you but will not
inspire you. It will make
you educated but not
smart.
do so and at a young age,
you would not know what
your life’s calling is. For
people who want to be
entrepreneurs, they should
get smart, get educated
and more importantly find
a passion that they can
get immersed in and try to
create some value out of
it. After all, the motivation
force for an entrepreneur
is passion which is lost the
moment they step into
a conventional system
that trains them instead
of inspiring them. May
be my grandfather was
referring to conventional
learning when he said
education ‘spoils’. A great
entrepreneur of his time,
he would rather see me
as a mediocre creator of
wealth than an educated
white-collared cowboy. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 55
feature
magine investing your
life’s savings, ideas and
passion in starting your
own business. Now imagine
it failing miserably – all
the hours you put in, the
brainstorming, the energy,
all gone. Your desire to
succeed will bring you
across situations like this
for sure. Unfortunately,
your failure does not get a
warm reception in Nepalese
society where your efforts
and passion go unnoticed,
and your potential is
questioned. Your failure
will serve as gossip fodder
at family gatherings and
draw sympathy at college
reunions.
How then will you react?
Will you be driven away or
driven forward? Will you
point fingers or gracefully
accept it as a part of the
process? Will you fall back
and settle for the confines of
a cubicle or persevere and
plot a comeback?
When Metro, a free
newspaper-style publication,
failed in 2004, entrepreneur
Suman Shakya refused
to take it as a defeat.
During the company’s
incubation period, personal
obligations required Shakya
to stay abroad. Without
a co-founder, managing
the business remotely
became increasingly
difficult. Coupled with low
demand for the newspaper,
the company shut down
within the first two years
of operation and cost Mr.
Shakya a large sum of
money.
The story is no different
for budding entrepreneur
Deewaker Piya of Green
& Green, a company that
imports Electronic Catalytic
Converter (ECC), a device
I
what you can
learn from failure
Failure, by definition, is not too enticing a
prospect. In a society that puts its bets on
school grades, salary scales and a supposedly
prestigious sarkari jagir, how willing are you to
fail? Everyone – almost everyone – cringes at
the sheer thought of failing. The rest are called
entrepreneurs.
Text Anuj Adhikary Illustration Kayo Siddhi
56 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
for carbon emission reduction from engines.
As with Shakya, Piya’s product was hard to sell
particularly due to its unfamiliarity in the market,
an aggressive approach and feeble financial
strategy. In spite of reaching a point so low that
he couldn’t afford to pay his staff, Piya decided to
not let go of the company but handle it entirely
by himself. And for the better half of 2012, he
relentlessly pursued potential clients by marketing
door-to-door to sell his product.
“The culture of being open to failure doesn’t
exist here,” says Shakya, recalling his Metro days
when even his nearest ones questioned his
capabilities and labeled his past successes as
flukes. “From an early age we are taught to win.
While winning is certainly necessary, failing along
the way is too.” On the contrary, coming from a
business family, Piya had all the encouragement
he needed from his parents, which he admits is
not the case with all entrepreneurs. This reveals
a rather interesting argument that regardless
of tangible or intangible support – or none
whatsoever – the likelihood of an entrepreneur to
encounter failure cannot be overruled.
It was one common trait that deterred both
entrepreneurs from giving up their entrepreneurial
spirit: persistence. While Shakya, after a few years
of reflecting, learning and regaining confidence
conceived the massively successful company
Digitainment, Piya resiliently revived his business
and went on to sell hundreds of ECC units.
Neither comeback was easy – there were several
challenges the duo had to overcome in order to
give their ventures the credibility they deserve
today.
Failure is often wrongly attributed to weakness
and a lack of skills. But the sweetest victory is often
the most difficult one, which requires treading on
unstable grounds with innumerable risks. But not
all who dare can win, and not all who fail can learn.
That begs the question: What is failure?
Failure is your greatest teacher, an
entrepreneurial rite of passage, and a learning
curve for success. Failure is a catalyst that drives
you forward with stronger willpower to accept
greater challenges. Failure is a process, not a
result. Failure is inevitable and it is imperative.
Incredible success requires incredible risk, and
with that, an incredible will to fail. Entrepreneurs
and inventors, writers and actors, athletes and
statesmen, and all who choose to think differently
and live their lives differently constantly face
If people are not
laughing at your
idea and failure,
you’re neither
dreaming big
nor aiming high
undue skepticism, pressure and even harassment
before they become successful. History bears
witness to countless visionaries who took a fall yet
kept fighting back. Names like Henry Ford, Thomas
Edison, Walt Disney, Donald Trump and Colonel
Sanders don’t usually pop up when we talk about
failure, and that’s not even scratching the surface.
If people are not laughing at your idea and
failure, you’re neither dreaming big nor aiming
high. Nevertheless, it is important to not let the
negative overrun and discourage you; instead turn
it to your benefit by developing a can-do, will-do
attitude. Metro’s failure didn’t demotivate Shakya,
instead it strengthened his resolve to prove
skeptics that his failure was a mishap, and his
success not a fluke. Similarly, when all employees
quit, Piya looked at the bright side of things – he
he didn’t have to worry about others and could
focus all his efforts and budget on marketing the
product, albeit by himself.
Failure indeed is an illuminating experience
and a wealth of knowledge from which to learn a
lesson. Shakya emphasizes, “Seize the opportunity
to identify your shortcomings from what you
failed at. Ask yourself what went well and what
could’ve gone better. Keep improving.” Besides
the inability to give Metro his full attention during
its early months, Shakya points out that the team
lacked complementary skills, resulting in a less
than holistic business approach. Another shortfall
was that he put all his eggs in one basket, and
when things didn’t go quite as planned, faced
incalculable loss. He says that Metro has taught
him crucial lessons that no book and knowledge
ever could. “I have no regrets with Metro. In fact,
I am thankful because I doubt I’d be where I am J
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 57
feature
J
today without it. Books teach you strokes, but to learn
swimming you must take the plunge into the pool.
Metro was my plunge into the pool.”
Likewise, Piya laments his neglect with Green &
Green’s financial planning – the capital was almost
exclusively allotted to procure ECCs, leaving little to
nothing for marketing and other overhead expenses.
Sufficient research regarding the market demand for
the device could have sent warning signals about the
aggressive sales strategy, which instead backfired.
Further, having neither a business partner nor a
mentor as a voice of reason led to the hardship he
could have avoided. “I came to learn the hard way
that you have to start small and work your way up,”
shares Piya.
Once you’ve learned your lesson well, the time is
ripe to zero in on success. This will neither be quick
nor easy. As demonstrated by Shakya and Piya and
numerous other local entrepreneurs, a comeback is a
battle of determination and skill, the will to gain higher
ground by constantly learning from your blunders.
Piya alludes to the days of his solo marketing conquest
and reasons, “Toil sleeplessly and push your limits to
achieve your goal. However many times you may have
failed in business, devote yourself to that goal. Leave
nothing to chance, prayers or hope.” Shakya adds that
it is important to be patient in pooling your experience
and expertise for a second round. “This time, you’ll be
better prepared and that much closer to achieving
what you set out for. Follow your dreams but keep
them realistic. Don’t forget that passion is only half
the story and you must have sound knowledge of and
experience in all elements of business because ideas
alone won’t suffice.” Both took a hard blow due to
their mistakes, but as competent entrepreneurs they
endured through failure to rise up for a rebound.
Drawing inspiration from his own experience,
Shakya explains, “The desire for success must be
greater than the fear of failure. You must come to
terms that you are susceptible to failure – perhaps
repeatedly so – before you can reach success.” Indeed,
their stories reiterate that with a positive outlook and
motivation, you’ll be able to surpass fear however
overwhelming, to accomplish a goal however daunting.
A fresh breed of entrepreneurs is needed to stride
and debunk the fallacy of failure in our society that is
obsessed with security, terrified of risks and drugged
by short-term returns of a 9 to 5. Bear in mind that
failure is a blessing in disguise, an opportunity
to accept great challenges with unprecedented
determination. If you’ve learned from your failure
and mustered the courage to start afresh, failure has
served its purpose because subsequently you will be
rewarded with success. V
58 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Failing Forward by J.
Maxwell
Our obsession with winning has
led us to fear failure, sometimes
so much that it puts us off from
even trying. However, if there is
any truth in the old adage that
goes –“failure is the pillar of
success”, one must be as open
to failure as one is to success.
J Maxwell suggests that the
difference between average
people and achieving people is
their perception of and response
to failure. His book -Failing
Forward provides new ways to
perceive failure, and steps to
convert them to success; with
real-life examples of people like
Lee Kuan Yew, Dave Anderson,
and John James Audubon who
failed in their way to success.
conversation
feature
Moksh made for a
great locatin for a
heated discussion
between three
entrepreneurs.
creating
entrepreneurs
Differences in opinion can solve problems
too. If everyone agreed on the same thing, the
world would be a pretty darn boring place.
During the session, the participants didn’t
always agree, but that’s the beauty of working
with free thinkers!
Compiled by Ujeena Rana Photography ECS Media
F
or this issue of Conversations, we have Prabhat
Shrestha, Director, Communication & Development,
Samriddhi - The Prosperity Foundation and
Pravin Raj Joshi and Brijendra R. Joshi who brought the
Startup Weekend event to Kathmandu. Both parties
are working towards promoting entrepreneurship and
creating entrepreneurs.
60 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
SWK: Do you know what happens at
Startup Weekend Kathmandu (SWK)?
Samriddhi: Not exactly.
SWK: Startup Weekend is a
grass-root movement to promote
entrepreneurship. Participants pitching
their ideas in 60 sec time.
Samriddhi: More like an elevator pitch.
SWK: Exactly. Pitching in about 150
words. There is a networking session
after that. Ideas get voted and selected.
Samriddhi: We also do a mock up
exercise in Arthalaya (an education
and training exercise under Samriddhi)
wherein teams are formed, real-life
situations are created, and solutions
worked on.
SWK: With Startup Weekend, teams are
formed from the participants attending.
Each team has to produce a product
and show it to the judges at the end of
54 hours.
Samriddhi: Ours is a five day camp. Is yours only IT
based?
SWK: Because of the 54-hour timeframe of SWK,
we tend to attract the IT crowd. Because that’s the
only area wherein results can be visibly generated
within 54 hours. However, Startup Weekend global
has sessions done in Education, Social Cause, Health
etc. We are also trying to do one on Social Issue.
Also, why SWK predominately works on mobile
apps and website creation because it is in demand;
whatever developments have been made in the
entrepreneurship area uses IT in a meaningful way.
Samriddhi: How are the winning ideas selected then?
SWK: The winners are selected on the basis of the
formulated business plan, its execution route and
its closeness to reality. While the participants are
working on their presentation, there are mentors
helping them in the process. There are no monetary
rewards but now the plan is to facilitate mentorship
service to the winners.
Samriddhi: And who are these mentors for your
programs?
SWK: Mentors are investors, entrepreneurs, and
others.
Samriddhi: One of our efforts, since last two years,
has been in creating an ecosystem. In the last five
years, since Samriddhi has been in operation, what
we realized is there are a lot of organizations and
individuals like you, who try build small components.
Entrepreneurship can never be worked on by a
single individual or a small group. You are creating
IT entrepreneurs and there is EFN (Entrepreneurs
for Nepal) who is creating a platform whereby
they inspire the younger generation and create
entrepreneurs while Biruwa is providing spaces and
helping newer businesses to startup. So it is not one
person or one organization’s effort anymore. We are
trying to collaborate with all these varying institutes
who are creating entrepreneurs and promoting
entrepreneurship. We have been working with Biruwa
and EFN. And now that we have met, we can work
together to make this ecosystem work better.
SWK: What are the problems that Samriddhi has
encountered all these years?
Samriddhi: One of the bigger problems we faced
during our working all these years was to deal with
the mind set that profit making is bad.
SWK: It could be because if you look into history
books people have understood entrepreneurship as
trading. The earlier Kathmandu businessmen traded
everything and people got ripped off.
Samriddhi: No, I wouldn’t say that. Kathmandu
was the trade route between India and Tibet and
that created opportunities for locals. There is a
debate as in who to call entrepreneurs. What’s the
difference between a small scale businessman and
an entrepreneur? What I believe is entrepreneurship
is about innovation first, it is not just about doing
things the way it is, also it is about expandability,
being able to replicate things. At the end of the day,
both businessmen and entrepreneurs are for profit
SWK may not
produce all
successes but
one of the things
it can do for you
is allow you to fail
gracefully.
making. Utilizing resources in different ways,
creativity, getting the best out of what you
have differentiates an entrepreneur. And
what’s the harm in generating profit?
SW: The way we see it is entrepreneurship is a
smart solution to problems.
Samriddhi: Okay. One thing I want to know is,
are your participants fresh graduates? Or are
they already doing something?
SW: We have both. We have people between
the age bracket of 24 to 34. See, at Startup
Weekend, you get to test your idea and get
validated by peers and experts. It is actually
good that you can fail at SWK. Failure is an
option.
Samriddhi: Yes, you should fail at least once.
SWK: SWK may not produce all successes
but one of the things it can do for you is
allow you to fail gracefully. The problem is
in our culture. We only publish and endorse
the success stories. Take for example the
SLC episode. People are afraid to fail. We are
trained to not try and fail. That’s why we look
for safer options - the 9 to 5 jobs. Also, the
older generation doesn’t allow the younger
generation to try new things. That way we
are losing possible entrepreneurs. We aren’t
taught to form ideas, share ideas.
Samriddhi: Risk taking is not promoted. I don’t
think it is culture, I would say it is more to do
with our education system. In school, we aren’t
encouraged to ask questions to our teachers.
Students aren’t encouraged to interact with
the teachers.
SWK: We just need people to think a little
differently.
Samriddhi: People who are ready to take
risks and minimize risks. One of the reasons
behind starting up Samriddhi was when
during the 2006 revolution, people were
just focused on the political changes, things
were revolving around politics. Political issues
was always put in the front even at the
bureaucratic level. For the most part, we work J
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 61
on economic policies. For any economy
to grow, one of the key elements are
entrepreneurs- the innovators. If we
want to see a prosperous Nepal, we
need to groom entrepreneurs, help the
younger generation, assist them, create
platforms and advocate about it. It is
not just creating entrepreneurs but we
need to make the environment viable
for them to work. For example, it is an
arduous job to register your company
here. In some countries, you can do
that within 24 hours and that too online.
But here we have to know people, wait
months to get it done.
SWK: No, registry is not a lengthy
process these days. We registered in
two days.
Samriddhi: All by yourself?
SWK: Yeah. The actual problem is that
we don’t know the process. There is
noone to guide you. No one will tell you
what to do to get the job done. So even
if it is a day’s work, because you aren’t
informed on the process, you are lost in
the labyrinth.
Samriddhi: The required viable
conditions for entrepreneurship isn’t
facilitated.
SWK: If there is all the necessary
infrastructure ready, you probably don’t
need entrepreneurs to fiddle with ideas
to recover those problems. If everything
is there, it becomes difficult to create a
new thing, isn’t it? Problems are good
for entrepreneurs. We have problems,
we have people to solve them. Nepal is
a breeding ground for entrepreneurs.
62 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Agreeing to disagree
is an important
skill to have for an
entrepreneur.
Samriddhi: Yes. I agree that the more
the problems in society, the better the
breeding ground for entrepreneurs.
What I was trying to say was if
someone wants to start a business, that
process within the legal framework is
difficult; that itself becomes a challenge.
SW: I agree that there are challenges,
but you can’t expect services available
abroad to exist here. We will never have
that kind of service.
Samriddhi: Why not?
SWK: Why have it? This system is
perfectly nice if you can do it.
Samriddhi: I wouldn’t say that.
SW: Things get done here if we put a
little effort into it. The problem in Nepal
is that there is no one to tell you, no
one to guide you when you visit these
government offices. There you will find
entrepreneurs making money out of
it, though. They see opportunity in the
situation and they are doing it.
Samriddhi: It’s like saying the bank
robbers are still entrepreneurs.
SWK: If you can’t keep your bank safe,
there will always be robbers who will
take that opportunity. Having said that,
creating opportunity for people outside
the capital is pretty difficult. We don’t
want to keep it Kathmandu centric, but
people there have to take charge, find
mentors there. If some people from
Doti are willing to take the initiative, we
can have Startup Weekend Doti. But
the initial interest has to come from
them. We aren’t catering to individuals,
if there is a group, then why not. It is
just impossible to take mentors there.We can find
people who want to go there voluntarily for once
to groom them/ mentor them.
Samriddhi: But once is not good.
SWK: But if you go there once, people can at least
learn something. It is about connecting the dots.
Samriddhi: One of the challenges I see with groups
like ours is apparently it is not just about giving
entrepreneurship training once and the job is done.
That doesn’t make much difference. Yes, there are
exceptionally brilliant people who can take it up
even in one session, but in general, the impact is not
there. With Arthalaya, what we learnt was the more
you follow up, the more the chances that they will
succeed. Constant follow up has to be done.
SWK: I agree that the follow up is required but if
there is a bunch of people and you can help them
even once, that does a lot for them.
Samriddhi: Yeah.
SWK: There has to be both. A long term and
a short term mentoring system. I think the
development sector is looking into it.
Samriddhi: I don’t think funding alone can help.
SWK: Other major challenges, I would say is for
entrepreneurship to get connected. When you
need people to share ideas with, critique, find
possible investors, there are none. The connection
is missing. Not everybody can connect the dots.
One platform we can create or work on is where
people can just come and meet - just informally
and share ideas, meet people.
Samriddhi: There was something like that before it
was led by NBI (National Business Initiative) by Anil
Shah and Mahabir Pun.
SWK: But they were focused on the development
sector only, right? What we need is a common
platform where all kinds of people can come in.
Samriddhi: No. It was targeted for everyone. It was
for better networking. But they did it only once.
SWK: Then they should do it. Ours is more or less
like that actually.
Samriddhi: We also thought about it a bit, that’s
why in the second half of the Last Thursdays which
we do with EFN, there is an interaction/networking
session where inspiring entrepreneurs can chat
and mingle with the experts.
SWK: That’s good. Finding a platform for
networking is something people and organizations
like yours can work on. But, there will be people
who would complain about the heavy flow of
students and only being on the giving side.
Samriddhi: But it is amazing to see the number
of students taking part in such entrepreneurship
events. They are the future. They are the ones
who will be deciding what they want to do after
graduation. And there are good chances that they
will be starting their own businesses rather than
becoming doctors and engineers. They can at
least have an option of starting up something of
their own.
SWK: There has been a change in mentality.
People are coming back and starting their
own ventures - be it tomato farming or animal
husbandry. People have stared to realize that
entrepreneurship can be reap good harvests. From
our first session, three ideas started on their own,
four ideas got mentoring.
Samriddhi: You don’t charge them?
SWK: The networking service we provide is free
of cost. We are volunteers. We only charge for the
event. The after event counseling is free of cost.
It is just the start and we know things might get
difficult. But we have a long way to go.
Samriddhi: Since it’s operation till date, we have
been able to generate 50 entrepreneurs for the
country. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 63
team
7 habits of the
highly effective
entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs need to take up numerous roles in their
company – sort of a jack of all. With so many hats to wear,
they need to master quite a number of distinct skills. How
do they do it and what are the ingredients that go into
making an efficient entrepreneur?
Text Ansubha Manandhar Illustration Kayo Siddhi
reamers eat, live and sleep with
their ideas. Entrepreneurs are
dreamers with weapons – they
have the skills to materialize their
ideas. They are the curious kind, with a
knack for problem solving. They bleed
new ideas every moment and can be
very persistent. Even better, they know
how to choose people that will help
them live their dreams. Four busy and
budding entrepreneurs, Avash Ghimire
from Maidan, Ankit Rana from Biruwa
Ventures, and Sanam Chitrakar and
Abhinav Shakya from Aadhar provide
insight on the habits they consider
essential for great entrepreneurs.
D
Constantly discussing and sharing
ideas Entrepreneurs enjoy talking
about new ideas. Whether it is while
hanging out at a bar or at a party, they
are constantly throwing ideas around,
as part of their thought process and to
speculate possibilities. The idea may
not be executed but they continuously
64 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
identify problems and look for solutions.
Why is it important? “There are millions
of ideas going on in our mind. If we share
some of them, other people can pitch in
their ideas too. We Nepalese don’t have
that habit, but I think it gives us a chance
to refine the idea and test its feasibility,”
says Sanam Chitrakar, Managing Partner
at Aadhar Development and Business
Consultants Pvt Ltd.
Being persuasive Unless you have
great financial backup, many successful
entrepreneurs say that success depends
upon how well you are able to motivate
people and persuade them to invest in
your dreams. The capacity to mobilize
people is a great gift. To do that,
entrepreneurs need to have the ability
to empathize with people, understand
them, and explain ideas from the other
person’s perspective. People reciprocate
when they feel you’re genuinely
interested in them and are not there for
networking alone.
Looking at problems as opportunities
We aren’t short of problems in
Kathmandu. Some people look at them
as opportunities and reap the benefits.
Avash Ghimire is doing really well with
the idea of Maidan – an indoor football
field. “There are a lot of houses in
Kathmandu now and there’s hardly any
place to play. If there is, the maintenance
is poor.” So his friends and him took
it upon themselves to open a cool
indoor space for football enthusiasts. By
successfully getting youngsters and even
corporate clients who play football to
come play, Maidon has hit bull’s eye.
Relating ideas and real life situations
Entrepreneurs have the habit of taking
live examples and applying it in business.
It helps with the “how to do it” part
of the work. For example, Abhinav
and Sanam who are now partners at
Aadhar, worked for different companies
before, but in the same premises. “My
friends were complaining that they did
not have a computer for research or a
system through which they could get
substantial data for business. I knew
that Sanam was into research for social
organizations, so all I had to do was get
his guidance and expertise in methods
of research in social organizations and
apply it to a business,” says Abhinav
Shakya, Managing Partner at Adhaar
Development and Business Consultant.
Stubborn focus Entrepreneurs display
a level of focus with determination
while working on their idea that is
both important for their work and also
contagious. Putting those blinders
on while working on a project, free
of distractions and with dogged
determination is crucial for an
entrepreneur.
Picking a good combination of strikers
and defenders Some entrepreneurs
choose teammates whose personalities
are strikingly in contrast to theirs. This
can create an balance while making
decisions; one stating the pros and the
other stating the cons of an idea or
decision. “After all, even if you have five
good strikers in a football team, you may
not have a guaranteed win because
you still need a good defense,” says
Ankit of Biruwa. His team members are
apparently like that - one is outgoing
and the other a critical thinker. Both have
the same vision for the company though.
Showing a piece of your mind When
patients don’t communicate well,
doctors have a tough time diagnosing
the disease. Good communication is
essential for an entrepreneur to have
mutual understanding with his team
and to give direction to the company. If
you don’t share your vision, objectives
or even your problems well, your ship
may not withstand the storm. Effective
entrepreneurs are generally excellent
communicators and tend to share their
expectations and intentions clearly
with people. V
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 65
feature
handshakes
for dummies
There’s handshakes and there’s the hands we
encounter at work everyday. Decipher colleagues’
personalities and get the upper… hand at work.
Text Utsav Shakya Photography ECS Media
hat’s there to say about handshakes in an
entrepreneurship magazine? Think about
it. Its one of the ways that men (and
women too for that matter) define relationships at
the workplace. Shake it a little hard and it becomes
a challenge, make the mistake of being the weaker
hand in a “power shake” and you’re forever the
wimp.
Provided below is a handshake handbook to help
you figure out who is who at work. Heed this advice.
W
The Hurtshake – The smiling young guy who offers
his hand with a wide smile and then crushes your
hand so hard you can almost feel his buttocks
clench. These are the ones who got sidelined at the
last round of appraisals and will now try to show
who’s boss with their power-shake.
The Self-destruct – The hyper guy or girl at work
whose offer for a handshake self-destructs five
seconds after they offer it to you, often leaving you
with the tips of their fingers in what will appear
to be your overtly enthusiastic hands. These are
the office screw-ups, often meaning one thing and
saying/doing another. Caution.
The Feather – The shy and quiet one whose offer
for a handshake will be so soft that you’re almost
always made to feel like a pervert for shaking too
hard no matter how soft you go. Be kind to these
people, they’re the ones who work the hardest but
get the least credit. Listen to them, help them out.
And go soft-er next time.
The Timer – The awkward handshake enthusiastic
who will offer his hand a second too early and then
change his mind, only to leave the other person’s
hand hanging in mid-air and then offer his hand
again to the person after they’ve already halfturned to leave. Result: Massive mortification and
awkward laughter. This is the manager. Enough said.
The Paw – The soft shake that surprises all by
being not a horizontal offer but a vertical one,
fingers pointed to the earth, confusing you with
66 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
a choice between shaking it like a bell or
turning it over and converting it into a proper
shake. This guy is still in the closet – don’t
make this an issue.
The schoolgirl – The extended handshaker,
who comes up with various derivatives of
the simple handshake and ends with fist
bumps that should have stopped at age
12 but somehow managed to survive Y2K.
Safely lodge your hands in your pocket while
you pass this guy – he has unresolved issues.
Accpet if you enjoy it too.
The Lingerer – You know this one, the one
who won’t let go, even when you’re already
sweating and people are starting to stare at
you. The trick is to withdraw as soon as you
enter or else get ready to exchange sweat
molecules. This is the friendly one, the one
who wants to Facebook-friend his way up
the corporate ladder. Pretend to not see him
or carry something with both hands.
The Elbow – The guy who offers his elbow
when you give him your hand because he’s
either eating or just coming back from the
restroom. A considerate guy who’ll help you
troubleshoot at work but the problem remains
– what do you do with his elbow? Whatever
you do, don’t squeeze it.
The Pull – Saved the best for the last. This
is the awkward one where you, yes you, my
reader-my friend, misunderstand the other
person’s attempt to pull you away from a
speeding car as an invite for a hug and go
all in – not wanting to offend – for a stiff
shoulder bump while everyone around you
muffles their laughter. Not happening. V
Note: The characters in this story are not 100%
fictional and might resemble living characters.
Any resemblance and pun is intended, enjoyed
and not at all regretted.
online
conversation
VenturePlus online
NEPALI ENTREPRENEURSHIP ON-THE-GO!
Read Our Blog
There’s no competing with digitial media when it comes to spreading
the news quickly – so when we meet inspiring people, go to awesome
events and even find a funny joke (about entrpreneurship) that we
absolutely must share, this is where we put it. Just so you don’t have
to wait for the print edition to hit the stands!
Check Us out on Facebook
Have ideas for stories, want to tell us about your company, organize
an event with us or write/volunteer for us? VenturePlus is a platform
for you - let us know through our Facebook Page. Also, we’re always
organizing fun events where you can win prizes so LIKE us on
Facebook already!
Follow Our Twitter
We’ve made it a point to tweet LIVE from the scene of the crime,
(kidding!) – from exhibitions, events, and the like so that even though
you might miss an event or two, you can always follow our tweets
to be in the know. 140 characters that will keep you updated with
entrepreneurial news, on-the-go!
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 67
help desk
Ask the
Expert ?
VenturePlus’ Panel Of
Experts is a team of experts
from the Nepali entrepreneur
scene. They bring distinct
sets of skills to strengthen
and discuss ideas with the
VenturePlus. Additionally,
these experts will also help
solve the problems that
you the reader can send to
us. To have your questions
answered, send in your
queries to [email protected]
gmail.com, message uson
Facebook or send us a tweet.
I have got a small retail business, with around ten people
working for me. Lately, the sales have gone down but my
staff is asking for a pay raise. It’s hard for me to come up
with the salary every month, let alone be able to afford the
raise. How can I keep my staff motivated when I can’t even
afford sufficient salary?
It may be wise to have an open and frank conversation with your
employees regarding your company’s finances. Increasing the salary
may hurt your business in the short run. Maybe you can come up with
some sort of profit sharing program with your employees through
which you can share your profits with your employees. This will
create an incentive for your staff to stay on with the company during
difficult times.
Additionally, you may want to consider why your sales are going
down. You can involve your staff in brainstorming ideas to increase
your sales which will make them feel like they are part of the process
of building your business and keep them motivated. If your business
does turn around, the staff will gain through the profit sharing
program.
I have an idea which I think has a huge scope in Nepal.
However, I am having trouble implementing the idea
because conducting market research would not make sense
financially. How important do you personally think market
research is? And also, could you suggest few affordable
tourism related data sources?
Conducting market research is an integral part of your business’
development. Without proper market research, you will be shooting
arrows in the dark, i.e. have a very low chance of hitting your target. If
conducting a full scale market research is beyond your need, conduct
some basic research. One basic form of research can be done through
talking to people who have experience with the business you are
opening. This will cost little and actually arm you with very useful
information regarding your business. Before you talk to someone,
develop an understanding of the type of information you are seeking
and prepare a set of questions that will guide your conversation.
Nepal Tourism Board regularly publishes data regarding tourist
arrivals to Nepal. They are broken down by country, mode of arrival
and purpose of visit. There are numerous reports online conducted
by various stakeholders of the tourism industry that you can find
easily by goggling search terms like “Nepal tourism statistics”, “Nepal
tourism data”, “Nepal tourism market research”, etc.
Me and my friend recently registered a partnersip firm,
but due to some personal reasons we could not take our
idea much further. We have done few initial work relating
to establishing the business, but we haven’t made any
transactions. How do we go about officially ceasing the firm,
and as an alternative, can we try and sell the business?
Yes, you can either sell the business or liquidate your firm. For that
you would need to hire a liquidator. How long has it veen since you
registered your firm? How many partners are there? If your partners
agree, it would be a better option to sell the business instead of
closing down. To hire a liquidator means more cost. Instead you can
sell the company at a depreciated value.
68 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
quotes
the face of
entrepreneurship
A musical instrument shop owner, an engineer making robots,
a techie with Fortune 25 companies as clients - the Nepali
entrepreneur comes in all avataars.
Photography ECS Media
"As am emtre[reneur I am doing
what I like to do best, and where I am happy
to be. I have never felt so much energy."
SUJAN SHRESTHA
Tone music, the new guitar and gadget outlet
in Tangal is taking our ways in music to the
next level.
70 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
"Entrepreneurship is
indentifying needs of
the society, and fulfiling them.
It is about creating value. Return is not the
end - is only a measure of that 'value"
PRASHANT SINGH
Hamri Bahini, an HCI initiative is taking
on plastic bags, and at the same time is
providing employment opportunities for
many women
Entrepreneurship is a
philosophical journey
driven by passion to
change people's lives and challenge
the status quo."
BAL KRISHNA JOSHI
Having revamped the way money is
transfered to and from Nepal, Bal
Krishna Joshi is taking online business
to a different level.
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 71
quotes
"Taking a problem,
working on the solution
with utmost passion
and care, and finding a way to
monetize it."
NIRMAL THAPA
Thapa’s Parakhi.com, a hotel
booking site is making Nepali
tourism more accessible to the
rest of the world.
"Entrepreneurship is
to create value from
vision, passion and
hardwork."
SHOKI SHAKYA
As one of the founders of Kegarira.com,
Shakya is an example of how to start young
and hard.
72 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
"Entrepreneurship is
about execution of ideas
o solve unique problems.
Its about disrupting the trend to create a new
market; and having fun in the process."
SUBRAT BASNET
Thinking glocally, Basnet’s market research
company - Grepsr’s provides services for
companies around the world.
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 73
column
Vidhan Rana is a Co-founder
of Biruwa Ventures and can be
contacted at [email protected]
reflections
Comparing the Journey of a Startup NGO
and a Startup Business
Text Vidhan Rana
Four years before I co-founded Biruwa Ventures,
I was part of a team of volunteers at Santi
School Project (SSP). Santi School’s first
project was to build a school in a rural village
in Sindhupalchowk. I was still in college in the
U.S. when I committed to raise $5000 to help
Christopher Heun (Chris), an American leading
the initiative, to build the school.
In the past six years that I have been
associated with Santi School Project, we have had
several learning experiences, troubling failures,
exciting successes and key turning points. As
Biruwa Ventures completes its first two years of
operations, I cannot help but compare these two,
albeit different, startup experiences. Here are some
of my key reflections:
Do your research When I talked to Chris for the
first time on the phone in March 2007, I was
looking to do something meaningful. I had been
in the U.S. for more than two years and had
started feeling a distance develop with my home
country. I made the $5000 commitment based
on a 15-minute conversation and a few emails
from a senior alumna of Budhanilkantha School,
who had met Chris. I asked some questions
about the project and went along, assuming that
Chris and other volunteers on the ground had
already done the homework. When we decided
to build the school, we already knew there was
a school 30 minutes down the hill. But the local
Tamang community was looking for a school
that they could call their own - one with Tamang
teachers. Hence, we moved forward. On the
other hand, when the idea about Biruwa came
to my mind in January 2011, I spent the next six
months doing the research, interviewing fellow
entrepreneurs and preparing a business plan.
Not surprisingly, the first couple of years of the
journey with Biruwa, for me, were much smoother
than with Santi School.
74 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Start small At Santi School, we started with a
budget of around Rs. 21 lakhs to build its first
school. By the time the school was finished in 2008,
we had spent over Rs. 30 lakhs. When we started
Biruwa, our initial planned budget was over Rs. 65
lakhs. After getting advice from some experienced
entrepreneurs, we reduced the initial investment
to Rs. 4 lakh and later added another Rs. 4 lakh,
after verifying that the business model worked.
For Santi School, reducing the cost never became
the priority. To be frank, we were more concerned
about making the school happen than worry about
the overall finances. If Santi School had started a
dialogue with the nearby school about placing a few
Tamang teachers at the school instead of beginning
with the idea of building a new school, we could
have started with around $3000 rather than the
$30,000.
Pivot (when necessary) This may be a new term
for many. Simply put, pivoting is what you do
when the course you are strategizing for your
organization/company does not seem like a good
choice. As a result, you change direction. At SSP,
we quickly realized that we were headed in the
wrong direction with the school. However, we had
already started construction and made several
commitments, so we made the strategic decision
to finish building the school. However, our team
decided that we would not build any more new
schools. Rather, we would focus on rebuilding
older schools that were in run-down conditions.
Similarly, at Biruwa, we made a major pivot when
we realized that the business plan competition we
were organizing in November 2012 was not going
as planned. We scrapped the competition but
decided to continue working with the companies
that had already submitted their applications.
In the end, we made investments in two of the
companies from the group. You cannot always be
right. Both with NGOs and businesses, you go in with
a lot of assumptions and some of those turn out to
be wrong. NGOs and businesses both need to learn
when pivoting is necessary, and act on it.
Manage your growth If you do good work, success
will come your way. This has been the case with
both Santi School and Biruwa. By 2010, Santi
School had renovated three other schools and
conducted training for 25 teachers each, in eight
primary schools in the VDC of Sindhupalchowk.
Slowly, we expanded our program to Kavre and
Lalitpur. The organization grew from a team
of volunteers to hiring one project coordinator
in 2009 and then hiring a program director in
2010. The organization also decided to leave
the tutelage of Budhanilkantha School’s alumni
Photo courtesy: Vidhan Rana
Keep your focus Santi School began its work by
building a school, but soon realized there was more
need of renovation work of preexistent schools.
As we did more renovation, we saw a real need of
quality teachers at the schools we were working
at. This led to an identity crisis. How do we market
ourselves? What are we focused on? After much
discussion, we decided all the work we did should
focus on primary schools owned and operated
by the government. We would only renovate
government run primary schools and the training
we provide would also focus on early childhood
education for primary school teachers. So Santi
School found its core focus in primary education.
At Biruwa, we faced a similar choice recently as
we started to get requests from established firms
for business advice and consulting. This led to
a good question-- should Biruwa only work with
startups? We took some time to reflect. This was
when we realized our focus did not need to be on
just startup businesses. We enjoyed working with
entrepreneurial people. If our prospective clients
were doing entrepreneurial work, we showed
interest. Plus, established businesses come with
experience, which is always handy. Thus, Biruwa
found its focus in entrepreneurs. Both NGOs and
business startups need to evolve as their work
progresses. At the same time, it is very important to
keep your focus intact and not get distracted.
association (SEBS) to register as a separate entity
in 2010 in Nepal (it was registered in the U.S. in
2006). Without making this tough decision to
separate from its supporting organization, Santi
School’s growth would have been stunted. Biruwa
on the other hand, grew from a small space of 800
square feet to over 4000 square feet within two
years. When our team became overburdened with
operational tasks, we decided to hire an operations
manager.
It was important for Santi School to realize
that its growth would’ve been limited had it
stayed within the alumni association. It was also
important for Biruwa to acknowledge that without
someone looking after the company’s operations,
it would face severe difficulties. In a growing entity,
there will always be operational issues. As NGOs or
startup businesses grow, the sooner you address
these issues, the easier it becomes to manage your
growth.
Though NGOs do not have to worry about
business models, revenue streams and ROIs, the
basic fundamentals of management are the same
as for a startup business. NGOs needs to carry
out in-depth research before beginning the work,
manage its resources adequately, adapt when
needed, keep a primary focus and manage its
growth well, much like a business startup does. Too
often, NGOs in Nepal miss these key management
basics and growing pains, thus running into
problems. Having been part of both startups, I
have learnt a lot, and hope that this account serves
as a lesson learned for future hopefuls who want
to start something of their own.
classified
the recommender
Feeling fat on a work day?
Ever wondered how healthy you’d
have been if there were more
Saturdays and Sundays in a week?
We often blame that extra pouch on
our stomachs to the lack of free time
that a chaotic work week brings. That
can change, easily. Here are a few tips
to easily include simple work-outsat
work.
The classic stairs
You’ve never realized this but stairs do
burn a lot of calories. While running is
preferable over stairs for losing weight,
stairs do the trick too. You might have
heard it a million times but a 125 pound
person burns 151 calories during 20 minutes of climbing stairs. That
should be incentive enough!
What does it do?It burns calories! Stairs are a great way of getting
your heart beat up and is a good cardio work out for an ordinary day.
When to do it?Opt for stairs over elevators when possible. Do this
first thing in the morning or even before and after lunch. Feeling
adventurous? Add a few flights if you want to freshen up during
work (that could give you an excuse to visit your friend in the next
floor too).
Desk squats
After sitting on that chair for a long time burning next to zero
calories, try an imaginary chair.Standing straigh, bend your legs so
you are in a sitting position with your thighs parallel to the ground.
Make sure your knees are together. Hold for 15 seconds. Retain the
standing position. Add 4 to 6 reps. You should feel breathless.
What does it do?It burns fat and increases balance in your body. It
also helps in overall muscle development. If you ask me, squats rock!
When to do it?Preferably when you are alone(or if you have a very
supportive work partner). Try squeezing it in during your off time
but make sure you do it right. A quick video search will give you a
better idea.
The ab squeeze
I found this one especially easy and effective. Take a deep breath
and tighten the abdominal muscles. As you exhale, bring them
towards your spine and squeeze for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat for 12
to 15 reps.
What does it do?It works with your abdominal muscles. They make
you tired which means you are burning calories as well.
When to do it?Avoid doing it right after a meal. Look for a time
when you are lighter in your stomach. (Anubhuti Poudyal)
78 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
Startup Weekend for
Women concludes
The 54 hard pressed hours of Startup
Weekend ended on 7 July. Following the
success of their first event in February, the
second Startup Weekend tried to continue
the streak, this time with another first –
the first women-only Startup Weekend
in Nepal. Same as the basic structure of
Startup Weekends everywhere, the event
saw participants pitch their ideas, and the
highest voted ideas were worked upon in
groups. All they had was 54 hours to get
the final functional products ready.
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots
movementthat provides opportunity to
pitch ideas, see what others think about
them, and work on the idea to see what
are the actualities behind the idea. It is
the largest community of entrepreneurs
with over 400 past events in 100 countries
around the world in 2011.
For those who have missed this
opportunity, possibly for not being of
the favored kind, or for not being in
Kathmandu, there is a Startup Weekend
happening in Pokhara soon. There is
also a Global Battle version of Startup
Weekend happening in November, with
participants from more than 100 countries
participating.
Young Innovator’s
Competition 2013
CG’s new Multimedia
Audio Systems
Nepal’s CG brand has just come up with a new range of
Multimedia Audio Systems –CG-A503F, CG- A504F and
CG-A202F, the missing part in your home theatre system.
The A202F comes in 2.1 channel (2 satelite speakers and
a sub-woofer), and the other two variants come in 5.1
channels (5 satelite speakers and a sub-woofer). The
50 watt (RMS) sub-woofer along with the 15 watt satelite
speakers, helps you transform your multimedia device
into something more. All three speakers are enclosed in
wooden cabinets, and are equiped with LED display, full
USB function, SC/MMC Card read and play function, and
FM radio; and they also come with remote controls.
Price:
CG-A504F: Rs. 7,990
CG-A503F: Rs. 6,990
CG-A202F: Rs. 3,690
Available at CG brand’s authorized dealers
2050
Applications for Young Innovator’s
Competition, an ITU Telecom
Initiative,has just ended on June 30.
Young innovators between the age
of 18 and 26 have been sending their
ideas, to provide solutions to global
challenges using ICT, since March
30. The winners of the competition
will be getting funding, as well as
mentorship for their ideas.This year
the competition focuses on the overall
theme of ‘technological innovation
driving social change’, focusing on six
global challenges:
• Improve youth and migrant
employment opportunities
• Reduce food and water wastage
• Improve access to ICTs for
marginalized groups
• Improve natural disaster prediction
and response
• Improve road safety
Protect sensitive personal data and
inspire the creation of local digital
content
The ten finalists of the competition
will be awarded USD 5,000 for the
concept and USD 10,000 to bring to
scale winning start-ups and will be
invited to the ITU Telecom World 2013
to be held in Bangkok from November
19th to 22 where they will be mentored
by high level industry representatives.
the year RoboCup aims to beat the human world champion
football team with its robot team
Source: foxnews.com
om
15
1
5 JJULY
ULY
U
UL
LY - 14
LY
14 AUG
AUG
UG 2013
201
20
2
01
0
13 | VenturePlus
Vent
Ve
Vent
ent
en
nt rreP
ntur
re
eP
e
Pllu
lus
us 79
79
Juju’s cool new store in Jhamsikhel
Some forgotten faces, some distinctly
Nepali landmarks, symbols of unity
of the people and what it means to
be a Nepali – Juju’s tshirts bring it all
together in a celebration of Nepali icons
meets contemporary fashion. These
elements are at the heart of Juju’s
creations. Juju is a sister organization of
Karuna, a company that exports clothes
to countries like the US, Japan and even
Europe. Simply put, Juju showcases the
love of art with the love of country.
Their spanking new store in
Jhamsikhel (near Café Soma) with
its smart interiors is a welcome treat
to Patan locals and foreigners who
want to try funky Nepali designs.
Some of the designs featured are the
Matsyendranath chariot, the Dharahara tower
rocket, a Lakhey, Tongba, popular Nepali
poets, Shah king Prithivi Narayan Shah, singer
Narayan Gopal, a Nepali Spiderman, Tin Tin
in Nepal, the Ghantaghar clock tower and
thewishful Mechi to Mahakali Express train. The
designs come from a list of Nepali and expat designers. The
use of regular cotton, bamboo cotton, and hemp cotton all
deliver a different experience. The average price for a tshirt
is Rs 800. Wear one as a statement this summer or gift one
as a great new Nepali souvenir. (Bitisha Shrestha)
To the forests of the far-west
What attracts most people to Bardiya is the
amazing Bardiya National Park, with an area
of 968 sq. km and adjoining Karnali river in the
east. Most of the area is covered by lush forest
and it is home to more than 600 species of
fauna ranging from reptiles like the gharials
and mugger crocodiles to mammals like
rhinos, wild elephants, the Bengal tiger, and
occasinally gaangetic dolhins!
How do you get to Bardiya?
• Take a bus from Kathmandu. It goes
via Ambassa (where you get down) to
Mahendranagar. The park is 14 km from
Ambassa in a place called Thakurdawa.
It’s a 30-minute bus ride, through beautiful
Terai plains, to Thakurdawa from Ambassa.
• The shorter option is flying to Nepalgunj
and then take a 3-4 hour bus ride to
Thakurdawa. Round trip prices for locals are
in the range of 12000 rupees.
What to do in Bardiya?
There are plenty of options for nature lovers.
You could do a Jungle safari, elephant safari,
80 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
jungle drives. You could go bird watching or even cycle your
way through specific parts of the national park. A visit to the
Gharial breeding center is a must. An entertaining one could
be canoing across the beautiful Karnali river.
(Anubhuti Poudyal)
Great food at
incr-edible prices
Good food and
high prices
are almost
complementary
in Kathmandu.
If you know can
afford those prices,
you get good
food right?Not
necessarily says
the gang at
Munchster. To
all those who
love their food and would love to find
a place they can keep going back to,
there’s a newly opened great option.
In Jyatha, Thamel there is a place that
you mustcheck out if you love great
bargains on great food. The logic behind
Munchster is the same – to serve their
clientele with clean hygiencic food and
to provide this service at a surprisingly
reasonable price. As you might have
guessed from the name, the menu has
quick meals like burgers, wraps and
sandwiches that are awesome to taste
and easy on your pocket. There’s also
a small selection of cold drinks to beat
the humidity of a Kathmandu summer.
To find Munchster, turn left from the first
intersection in Thamel and go west till
you come to Hotel Utse. Munchster is
opposite that. For more info: 9841512540
(Anubhuti Poudyal)
Rich Dad Poor Dad
A Book by Robert
Kiyosaki, an American
investor and
businessman, is a story
of a person who learns
unique approaches
of succeeding in life
from two fathers, poor
dad being his own
well educated but
financially unstable
father and rich dad
being his best friend's
father who is a
multimillionaire eight
grade drop out. Most
of the book covers
how the author learns
from his rich dad ways
to make money and
compares it to how his
poor dad was making huge money mistakes.
The book advocates the need to work for ourselves
and not for others.Highlighting the importance of investing
and entrepreneurship the author states that in order to
become wealthy we need to become our own boss and
learn to be wise with our money before we have it, not after
we have it. The author learns the importance of financial
intelligence from his rich dad, which poor dad always failed
to apply in life.
This contrast of the rich versus the poor dad forms
the basic concept of the book. Though it lacks in terms of
concrete examples and is a little vague, the book does a
fantastic job in teaching people how to think about work
and money which makes it a good read for all young
entrepreneurs. (Jenija Manandhar)
The Social Network
This one’s about one of the ultimate entrepreneurial
success stories of the 21st century – that noun turned
verb that describes a turn in social media and its
effects on modern communication – Facebook. Directed
by David Fincher, and starring Jesser Eisenberg
in his career-defining role as Facebook founder
Mark Zuckerberg, the movie follows the path of the
entrepreneur as he travels at breakneck speed to
establish Facebook.
Eisenberg’s depcition of Zuckerberg is full
of nuances that Fincher uses ably to describe the
ambitions of the lead character. Right from the starting
shot of Eisernberg being dumped by a romantic interest,
the director opens up one personality trait after another,
effectively allowing the character to stand naked to
the audience. Although easy to get annoyed with at
first, Finches plays with the movie-goers’ empathy to
ask for sympathy for Zuckerberg, a victim of his own
ambition and willpower, one who is never apologetic of
the same but confused why people don’t get it. It’s a
cult character that will echo with the aspirations of the
entrepreneurs of our generation. Trent Reznor’s dark,
brooding music lays down the perfect foundation for
the story.
15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013 | VenturePlus 81
end note
entrepreneur
to-do list
Ideas come from everywhere, but if we are able to use
the right kind of idea at the right time, we can actually
begin to bring change to our lives. Signing in with the
same thought, these entrepreneurs share with us their
idea to help us do better in times ahead.
Text Shriju Bajracharya Illustration Prabal Shrestha
iMANAGE
We have a lot of problems in the city infrastructure such as
damaged roads, uncollected garbage, broken drainage pipes,
dangling wires, unwanted paintings and political slogans on
the walls. These unmanaged blocks give an untidy look to the
city. It can be better managed if the concerned authorities
are better informed. I think we should create a “crowd
sourcing” platform to report these problems. A mobile app
that any user can use to take pictures of these issues and
then later tag the picture with the GPS co-ordinates of
the location and post them to a website (and Facebook)
along with the problem description can perhaps inform
the authorities better. This way they can take necessary
steps to resolve the matters posted. Further, we could also
add a voting system where the public could vote issues to
emphasize on the given problem more.
Subrat Basnet, grepsr
Lots of entrepreneurs begin with great ideas but as time drifts by
they fail to organize their works. They mess up their accounts (cash
flows), tasks and eventually lose track of customers. Many startups
have at least one or all of the above problems. Each and every
beginner goes through this situation. So, the sooner they find a
solution for it, the better it is. If we could find an app that could help
us in managing and prioritizing our tasks along with our accounts
and customers it would make work easier. An entrepreneurial app
inclusive of mail, to do list, schedule, customer information could
help us better.
Pavitra Gautam, Karkhana
82 VenturePlus | 15 JULY - 14 AUG 2013
A smart card option of carrying license,
bill book, etc could eradicate the necessity
of carrying numerous documents. It could
also be a recharge card to charge our
phone with, withdraw fines by traffic in
case one is caught breaking rules. We
could also use the same smart card as
a national identity number to identify a
person. But having a solution to a problem
that nobody has an idea about could keep
continuing the things the way they are. If
we could also demonstrate the solution
to the problems people have by teaming a
demonstrating unit we could actually reach
out to people with the solution we have
for their problems. The demonstrating unit
needs to be portable and self sustained
so that they can demonstrate the idea to
people in rural area too.
Pravin Raj Joshi, Co-organizer
Startup Weekend
One Card to Rule Them All
Issue 03
7 HABITS OF THE HIGHLY
EFFECTIVE ENTREPRENEUR
Issue 03, 15 July - 14 August 2013 / Rs. 60
ideas
changing
Nepali
tourism
A crop of new entrepreneurs are
thinking out of the box to reimagine
tourism in Nepal. They’re reaping
the benefits too.
15 July - 14 August 2013
Going
g bananas
over marketing?
g
GO GUERILLA!
+
What you can
learn from failure
Re-introducing
the Nepali Robot
Are you ready to see robots
fight it out in Nepal?