Have you ever had an innovative idea, but ended up without even trying it? For most of the people in our country, the answer is ‘yes’. Entrepreneurship is a new word to most of the Nepalis. So let’s go through it first. Entrepreneurship refers the conversion of an innovative idea into a market-ready business and those who convert their ideas into such businesses are called entrepreneurs.
A team youths—Khagendra Acharya, Parshu Aryal, Firoj Ghimire and Tafhimur Rahman—dared starting the ‘Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp (GEB)’ in Kakani, Nepal in September 2017, in which entrepreneurs and delegates from 30 countries had participated. The crew’s effort has contributed in making the term ‘entrepreneurship’ more known and relevant to the Nepalese society. These youths organized the Bootcamp via their own establishment named ‘Oya Inc’. An inspiring fact is that they did not stop with that. Under Acharya’s leadership, Oya Inc organized the second edition of GEB in Bangkok, Thailand in January 2018. Recently in July, 2018, the third and mega-edition of the GEB was organized in Jakarta, Indonesia with participation from 40 different countries. One after another, the event started by a Nepali in Nepal saw its success in foreign countries where a large number of Nepali youths were included.
The GEB realized Oya’s major goal of bringing many budding entrepreneurs across the globe together in a platform where they can build a network and foster their business ideas. “The Bootcamp is designed to groom innovations and new ideas, especially of high school and university students, into startups,” said Khagendra Acharya, the founder and chairman of Oya Inc. “We provide the participants a platform to interact with our mentors and successful entrepreneurs who are willing to hear what the budding entrepreneurs are thinking of, and guide them to the right path to making a successful startup.” In that sense, the GEB is a bridge that connects idea-makers and investors to create a business that fits the market.
45 business models have been pitched during all the three Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamps, out of which 10 have seen sustaining success in the market. An array of innovative business models from Nepali youths have seen success in the international market via the GEB. In GEB 2017 held at Kakani, the winning model was Chyine (Chyang)—a traditionally made alcohol remade and sold commercially with much better quality. Guliyo, a project dedicated to gaining international market for the famous homemade ‘lollipops’ of Ilam, won the award of best business model in the second edition of the GEB. Both the award winning products from Nepali youths have sustained in the international market, according to the organizers.
If you want to be exposed to new entrepreneurial cultures and perspectives across the globe, the GEB is the perfect match for you. And the reason behind is that the GEB makes an environment where people from all backgrounds can create, innovate, collaborate, and compete in a friendly atmosphere.
Inspiration matters. The energy that an inspirational address from a successful person that adds to budding minds cannot be neglected. Oya seems to be quite conscious about the need of inspiration. In the GEB, Oya invites a number of successful entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial educators, and policy makers from across the globe to interact with the participants to share their experiences of success as well as failures.
Professor Rajesh Nair, Director of Asian Business School Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), interacted with the participants about formation of business ideas and the was to groom them in the recent mega-edition held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Nair is also an advisor for the GEB.
Leonika Sari, who successfully made up to the ‘Forbes 30 Under 30’ due to her startup called Reblood, advised the participants of the Jakarta Bootcamp to focus on establishing a strong behind starting a business.
Speaking about the entrepreneurial landscape of Nepal, Oya’s Acharya said, “We do not have entrepreneurial culture in the country. Even people with ideas do not want to start a business fearing the risks and need of investment.” Acharya further added, “We need to end that. Oya Inc and its event GEB will always focus on connecting the investors’ network in the world with young creative minds of Nepal.”
“Nepali products can cover a huge market in Asia. India, Bangladesh and Pakistan can be our clients since we have an ease of access and interaction with them. Our geographical location has given us an advantage. We can trade with China too,” said Acharya. “From Tech to Agri, Nepal has possibilities. We just need to develop entrepreneurial trend in the country.”
The next edition of the GEB is going to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia form 17 to 20 December, 2018 and the application forms have already opened. You can check the GEB’s site gebootcamp.com for further details.
Innovative minds from the middle or lower class backgrounds in Nepal do not want to start a business even though they have an idea. We really need to stop believing that business is for people with elite backgrounds. Oya’s such initiative needs to be respected. After all we do not want to be the same always. We need a change in the mindset and the change is possible through joint efforts from all of us.
So the next time you get a business idea, please do not drop it. Who knows if it could be a game changer?