Tag Archives: foreign investment

Common sense questions for Nepal’s rulers

Dear Rulers
You have been ruling us for some time now, some of you, for 5 or 10 or 15 or even 20 years now.So we want you to answer a few questions below.

  • Why are 601 constituent lawmakers needed when at the end only 3 or 4 politicians decide everything for them?
  • Why do you stop hydro-power companies from investing here, if you talk about hydro-power as a major export and development catalyst for Nepal? (we go 14 to 18 hours without electricity a day each winter)
  • Why do you talk about democracy, when you issue “whip” to your members to only be allowed to vote along party leaders lines?
  • Why do you talk about us youths as Nepal’s future, when we are clearly the “present” of the country? (82% of Nepali are under 40)
  • Why do you call other countries to help and beg for aid if you don’t want any foreign interference? (30% of economy runs on aid)
  • Why does Bagmati still stink when over 25 years, there are 100’s of organizations and government bodies working to solve it?
  • Why do you talk about transparency when your parties don’t reveal who funds you?
  • Why do you treat our remittance workers like third grade Nepali, when they are responsible for $3.5 Billion income?(nearly a third of Nepal’s income?) (have you seen us stand on passport lines in offices, insulted in airports, extorted by your cronies etc)
  • Why are 1200 Nepalis stuck with going abroad every day for a job despite our two neighbors, India and China growing at near 10% each year?
  • Why did you come together to launch a revolution in Nepal 4 years ago if “gaas, baash ra kapaas” (गाँस, बास र कपास” is still your slogan on random walls? (prices are up yearly 20% since you took over?)
  • Why do we Nepali need you anymore?

Thank you again for helping answer these questions.
Sincerely Nepal’s,

A Nepali. (Insert your name)

If you have your own questions for our rulers, write in the comments below. Thanks.

Swedish IT social entrepreneur in Nepal, Bjőrn Sőderberg

Bjőrn Sőderberg, 28, is a young social entrepreneur with three successfully running companies, two in Nepal and one in Sweden.

In search of something exciting, challenging and different from that of Sweden, Bjőrn Sőderberg came to Nepal as a volunteer when he was 19 years old and lived in Bal Mandir. During his stay, he saw the potential for exciting new things in the hands of the young people in the country. In contrary to the trend of the youngsters finding their way to the U.S and abroad, Bjőrn started off in Nepal with a paper recycling (Watabaran Pvt. Ltd.) and IT outsourcing venture (Websearch Professionals Pvt. Ltd).

Despite the Swedish Government urging its citizens not to travel to Nepal for security reasons, Mr. Sőderberg was determined and he started approaching for loans in banks for the initial capital of $20,000. But through his struggle in the initial days, what he learnt was exciting!

——> Lesson No: 1,  One does not need money to be an entrepreneur, s/he needs customers. You don’t spend money to start a company; you start a company to earn money. And with this learning in mind, he went to Sweden and confirmed two clients by promising them to deliver the same service they were already getting, but in half the price. His first two customers was his market research. In his way of doing things, he believes more in learning by doing rather than trying to focus too much in theory as he says “Most people believe you need to follow a certain process and make business plans to start a company. But the matter of fact is you don’t need websites, business plans or brochures to start your company, just start making money. Once you have your first customer, you have your market research, you have your company.”

Speaking of the struggle people go through to find that one bright idea to start up a venture, he points out that having a good or a great idea is not a guarantee of the success of the business.
—–> Lesson No. 2, Having the drive and the guts is more important than the idea itself.

The passion associated with the work can naturally make any idea a good one. The old formula is if you enjoy your work, you don’t even feel you are working. Adding more on innovation, idea and entrepreneurship, he explains that Entrepreneurship is about getting an idea and working very hard to realize it because it takes time to build up a business. And thus during that time, an entrepreneurs must have two qualities; patience and work hard.

While most people are apprehensive about starting up a business for the fear of failure, he takes a different approach saying,

—–> Lesson No. 3, “Never be afraid to fail. Rather be afraid of never failing. Those who never fail have never tried anything new and never be afraid of creating new things. Because creating new things and translating new ideas to action, even if they are small ones is what entrepreneurs do.”

Some Questions & Answers

What are the problems in starting up a business in Nepal?

Corruption is one of the major discouragements in starting up a business in Nepal. Bureaucrats try to squeeze money out of you here which a different scenario than in Sweden.

Do you think foreign investors are safe enough to invest in Nepal?

Given a few things, a safe environment for foreign investment can be created in Nepal. Some are:
Documents should be in English.
Load shedding should cease.
Hindrances from involuntary Bandhs and strikes should stop.

Have you faced or felt any conflict between the social contribution and economic aspects of a business?

I haven’t faced many clashes as such. I provide scholarships to talented students to study in KU and ask them to work for me for 4 years. Besides, I am always trying to take the middle way in finding profitability and contributing to the society.

In a certain business situation like “If a client asks more and more services and in the end refuses to pay the prices pointing out it was very high, what can one do in such situation”?

To avoid unprofessional situations like these, making everything about the deal clear beforehand is important. Give your client a sample or a prototype of your service and product and ask them to test it. If they like it then mention your prices. But remember some clients are unworkable and sometimes in those cases you have to let them go.

Previous speakers at “E4N’s Last Thursdays” have been:

Ambica Shrestha of Dwarika’s Hotels and Resorts

Ajay Ghimire of Vibor Bank

Ashutosh Tiwari of Himalmedia

Bal Joshi of Thamel.com

Gyanendra Pradhan of HydroSolutions Nepal

Ichhya Raj Tamang of Civil Homes Group of Industries

Jonas Lindblom, a Swedish investor of Isadora Cosmetics on Durbar Marg

Karna Sakya of Kathmandu Guest house

Kiran Bhakta Joshi of Incessant Rain Animation Studios

Mahendra Shakya of Momo King

Min Bahadur Gurung of Bhatbhateni Supermarkets

Tashi Sherpa of Sherpa Adventure Gears

Meet Entrepreneur Kiran Joshi, Disney Animator who started an animation studio in Kathmandu

This is a summary of Last Thursdays series co-hosted by “Entrepreneurs for Nepal” platform which I co-founded. This platform networks entrepreneurs working for Nepal. For more details, go here. A lot of credit also goes to Samriddhi Foundation for transcribing it.

Kiran Bhakta Joshi, the founder of Incessant Rain Animation Studios, left his job of 18 years at the Walt Disney Studios at age 46 to create his own studio in Kathmandu. With a background in computer software, Joshi was working as a graphics software developer for Disney. He was in the team that developed the animation system used for “Beauty and the Beast”, which went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the 1992 Academy Awards. Leaving an 18 year old job, the post of Head of Production and a team of 250 artists and technologists under him was not easy for Kiran. There were doubts among his friends in Walt Disney if an animation studio in Nepal would deliver the quality and turnaround they were seeking.

The year 2007 was the turning point in his life. When he had come to Nepal for the funeral of a relative, his friend Sanjeev Rajbhandari suggested opening a studio in Nepal. He then spent three weeks in small animation boutiques and was impressed to see the portfolios of skilled and passionate young artists. He met a 19 year old boy who showed his portfolio and said that his passion was animation but due to pressure from his parents, he had been studying management. He asked Kiran for help, so realizing the level of this boy’s passion, he decided it was time to open an animation studio in Nepal.

Kiran opines that employees are the most valuable assets of a business. He says that it is very important to coordinate with every individual differently because even a single person with an ego can jeopardize the work process. While working with his employees, the first lesson he learnt was that it is easy to train young people rather than old ones. He feels that young people are very creative, more adaptable and energetic about their work once they are convinced. Since experienced people are more resistant to change, he feels that it is better to have young supervisors and employees in the business. He shares that it is important to make sure the employees are having fun during work but at the same time there should be proper enforcement of discipline. Salaries at his studio are based on the productivity and the quality of the animation that his staffs can create. He even helps his staff to go abroad if they want because he believes those people will gain better knowledge and return back. He admits that hunting for talent is an arduous process and he would love to collaborate with the universities here and start an animation academy to nurture fresh talents inside Nepal.

Kiran shares that setting up of a business is easy but execution is difficult. Since he shuttles between Nepal and the US, is it difficult to execute all the ideas due to time constraints. Challenges he is facing now in Nepal include bandhs (strikes) and load-shedding. He also feels that as his company is growing bigger, the fun element is reducing. Even though he doesn’t have any marketing person, his personal one to one networks and visits to several networking programs contribute to his business development. He stresses that networking is very important for entrepreneurs and no one should underestimate its power. His focus is on brand building and creating their own intellectual property.

He sees bright hope for Nepal as we have cheaper labor force, untapped resources, rich cultures and diversity. His studio’s goal is not just to outsource work from USA, but take the rich folk stories of Nepal to the world. He cites the example of “Jungle Book”, a story from India that became a famous animation. He finds Nepal rich in tales of Yaks and Yetis and he has successfully used the yaks and the one-horned rhino for the animation advertisements of World Food Program (WFP) and Ace Development Bank respectively. He believes these would help to showcase our local identity.

Articles about Kiran Joshi: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-cultural-exchange-20110313,0,7117105.story

everyone is after the big fish

Most potential entrepreneurs /investor / business people seem to be after “the big fish” here in Nepal. (Of course big fishes are harder to catch, harder to find, and harder to track).

Why not go after a few small fishes that “has a chance to grow into a big fish”. Easier to manage, maybe even less risk ?

And when the pond gets drained away, its the small fish which usually escape, not the big ones.

Yes, you can own 100% company in Nepal if you are a foreigner.

Some interesting tidbits after talking to a realestate/company registration lawyer in kathmandu:

a) if a foreigner investing in industries like tourism, trade, industry and real estate, they get 100% ownership . You will also own 100% ownership of even real estate in Nepal as a company only. Previously there was much barriers to a foreigner owning land in Nepal.

b) Good Legal counseling and government fees (for company registration,etc ) costs an one time cost of 1,000 to 2,000 US dollars (estimated).

c) usually the whole process takes around 1 month.

d) You can get a BUSINESS VISA for the whole year, if you register as a company. This visa only costs 100 dollars a year. A good way for a businessperson to stay in Nepal without Visa hassles.

e) Nepali Bureaucracy is lethargic but with the right legal counsel and help, you should have a easier time registering your company and on your way to get ownership of whatever you are looking for. I saw examples of a few Americans doing the same to buy lands and open houses/resorts in nepal.

let me know if you have any questions .