On 30 June, 2017 an initiative of STARTUPS Nepal, Mega Bank Uhyami101, presented by Honda Dio took place at Nepal Tourism Board Hall. Themed to Basics of Starting Business’, the program intended to inform, educate, and inspire the attendees about the scope, opportunities and problems of entrepreneurship along with the startup ecosystem in Nepal. The program designed for all the aspiring entrepreneurs, early-growth stage startup founders and the individuals who have and are willing to have a venture in near future started with the keynote speech, followed by the panel discussion and keynote speech of Narottam Aryal.
Keynotes with Dr. Rudra Raj Pandey-
Dr. Rudra Pandey, Executive Chairman of Deerwalk Inc., was one of the two keynote speakers of the event where his keynote speech was themed on “Fundamentals of Being an Entrepreneur”. Dr. Pandey’s enthusiasm and passion for entrepreneurship was evident for all to see as he talked to the eager crowd about the fundamentals of being an entrepreneur. He started by sharing his story of how his educational pursuits took him to the US and how he became an entrepreneur by accident. Dr. Pandey emphasized how important it is for aspiring entrepreneurs to know when to quit and when to persevere. He also encouraged the audience members to develop certain personality traits and hobbies that would help them in their entrepreneurial, as he drew parallels from his own experiences as to how these traits helped in him in his own entrepreneurial journey. Finally, Dr. Pandey shared his excitement for the prospects in business available to young Nepali entrepreneurs.
The panel at Udhyami101, moderated by Mr. Rupesh Krishna Shrestha, co-founder of Idea Studio Nepal, was a diverse one. The highlight of the program was a panel discussion on “The Basics of Starting a business in Nepal” which included Ms Bina Shrestha- CEO, Shine Cleaning, Mr. Asgar Ali-Founder/ President, e-sewa Fonepay, Ms. Sunayana Tamarakar- Investment Manager, One to Watchand Mr. Anil Keshary Shah, CEO, Mega Bank as panelist. The panel was moderated by Mr. Rupesh Krishna Shrestha as Ms Shrestha and Mr. Ali lent their perspectives of being entrepreneurs, while Mr. Tamarakar and Mr. Shah provided insights what investors look for.
Ms. Shrestha urged aspiring entrepreneurs to first ask themselves why they are starting their businesses and be clear on their visions. She stressed the importance of having a competent team and making as many sales as possible when the business starts.
Mr. Ali shared with the audience the early struggles that eSewa got through and how they had to persevere through financial trouble. He recommended startups to focus their businesses around problems rather than products, emphasizing the need to build problem centric solution for your potential customers. More significantly, Mr. Ali believes that any founder looking to received external investment should be clear as why they are taking the investment in the first place and how they are going to utilize it.
Through the experience in managing investment into various startups, Ms. Tamarakar lamented the fact that how many entrepreneurs don’t have their financials in place and how the same entrepreneurs expect to receive investment. She strongly urged entrepreneurs to look into their figures, work on a 5 to 10 years financial plans and support their progress and vision for the startup with strong figures.
Finally, Mr. Shah assured all present audience member on why it is a great time to be an entrepreneur in Nepal because of the various means of financial support available for them. He also revealed how banks are working to assist business with financial literacy. Finally he encouraged starting entrepreneurs to look for people with different strengths so that the team as a whole becomes stronger.
With technical experts like Mr. Anil K. Shah (CEO, Mega Bank) and Ms. Sunayna Tamrakar (Investment Manager, One to Watch), the participation of 146 attendees was informed on how banks sanction loans to Nepali startups and what investors look for in prospective investments.
Keynote Narottam Aryal
Narottam Aryal, Executive Director of Kings College noted the attendees on Importance of Startup Ecosystem in Nepal. Mr. Aryal shared with the audience the present state of Nepal’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and why it is important to build a stronger support system for startups. He was critical of the stigma that entrepreneurs, or people in general, face when they set forth on their goal of starting a business. He dissected the present state of Nepal’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, revealing several aspects that needed to be removed. He shared his vision for how Nepal’s startup ecosystem should grow from strength to strength. Finally, he expressed his desire for more people to get seriously involved in the ecosystem, to make it stronger and sustainable.
Srijana Shakya, Chief Brand Officer, Honda Nepal shared on how the corporate are helping the Nepali startups of Nepal and the Honda incubation center- White Hat has emerged to assist and promote Nepali startups. Adding more, Mr. Baburam Poudel, Engineer of Nepal Telecom shared on how use of internet is rapidly growing and is assisting in business promotion. . Udhyami101, part of Udhyami Seed Camp, concluded program by making an announcement of application open for next edition- Udhyami Seed Camp: Tech Edition.