Category Archives: foreign investment

State of foreign investment in Nepal. Plus my advice to foreign investors and entrepreneurs.

2 reasons Foreign aid is not effective in Nepal right now

Reason 1) Foreign aid is not a very effective means of dealing with the failure of nations around the world today. Far from it. Countries need inclusive economic and political institutions to break out of the cycle of poverty. Foreign aid can typically do little in this respect, and certainly not with the way it is now organized. Recognizing the roots of world inequality and poverty is important precisely so that we do not pin our hopes on false promises. As those roots lie in institutions, foreign aid, within the framework of given institutions in recipient nations will do little to spur sustained growth. In other words giving it to the institutions that are at fault, will not help.

Reason 2) Since development of inclusive economic and political institutions is key, using the existing flows of foreign aid at least in part to help such development would be useful. Putting conditions on aid (which is what some donors do in Nepal) is not the answer, as it requires existing rulers to make concessions which they usually don’t agree or just bypass.

Instead, we should perhaps structure foreign aid so that its use and administration brings groups and leaders otherwise excluded from power into decision-making process. Here are my few suggestions.

How about using Foreign aid to:

  1. give necessary tools -trainings to empower passionate previously apathetic youths to run independent “issue based” political grassroots campaigns?
  2. help train youth leaders outside the traditional political “syndicate” to become stronger in influencing political decision-making by showing them success stories around the world?
  3. help build incubators which provides immediate resources and mentorship to fresh entrepreneurs with a passionate team, who have been excluded from such opportunities?
  4. support grassroots entrepreneurs and citizen activists thereby empowering a broad segment of population than established exclusive elite ones who are supported today?
  5. reward any political platforms and institutions that show inclusiveness and meritocracy in action?
  6. help build leadership clubs in schools in rural Nepal where transparency and accountability are taught to young students.
  7. build leadership building academy for urban educated youths interested in politics and bureaucracy.
  8. invest in practical education. Help build Entrepreneurship clubs in every high school just like libraries.
    Add your own points…..

 

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This summary of this article is made possible through heavily borrowing and edits based on quotes from the book “Why Nations Fail” by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson. The authors hold copyright to a lot of content in this article, therefore I cannot claim any right to this article. If  you consider this stealing, I apologize in advance. I only do this because their words seem to do justice than mine. If you are copying content from here, please attribute the article to the names mentioned above properly.

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

Interaction with a Swedish Investor and a Nepali media CEO

here are the transcripts of the last thursdays series of the Entrepreneurs for Nepal group in September. It is based on an interaction with a Swedish investor and a nepali CEO.

Jonas Lindblom (Swedish Investor in Nepal)

“The market in India is very complicated and it is difficult to do business there. There are many middlemen in India and various agents are involved in almost every sector. But in Nepal, it’s simple. There are few people in entrepreneurship and everyone knows each other. Nepal is simpler for a foreigner like me and its way too easier to do business in Nepal. That’s why I came here,” said Swedish entrepreneur, Jonas Lindblom.

Lindblom is running two companies in Nepal – Artamus Nepal (P) Ltd. And L&L House of Commerce (P) Ltd.

Artamus Nepal focuses on Internet Marketing for European clients and L&L House of Commerce is a trading and investment company. The latter company focuses to introduce high quality products from Scandinavia and export unique Nepali products to the European market.He shared his ideas about investing in Nepal from a foreigner’s perspective here during September’s Last Thursdays Entrepreneurs Speak, jointly organized by Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation and Entrepreneurs for Nepal.

Continue reading Interaction with a Swedish Investor and a Nepali media CEO

real estate booms in kathmandu

In the last year or so, real estate in Kathmandu has skyrocketed. In some places by 100 to 200%. the speculation about its sustainability is a much asked question.

And a certain banker reasons with me:

“the real estate in Kathmandu valley is pretty much stable and will not collapse in the near future.”

His reasoning: If politics gets worse and uncertainties arise, everyone is pouring into  the safe Kathmandu valley (the only place of seemingly stability in Nepal) which in turn has a limited area because of it being a valley thus the prices will never crash. (but they might still go up)

If the situation of the country gets better, people will afford more and be able to purchase land at a premium value. and Kathmandu benefits from that being the commercial and political hub.

he concludes: “either way, investing in real estate in Kathmandu is a win win situation.”

but then, “what goes up, will come down”…

Business idea: A Public auction place in the heart of the Kathmandu.

I always thought there was a big potential for public auctions for anything..from cars, to couches to …………… in Kathmandu/

The foreign embassies in Kathmandu hold auctions that are hugely popular and people come in huge droves to buy and bid and (have fun).
i stayed on line for an hour and half to enter the one at American embassy. brutal !

I love the thrill of finding things of value that others don’t see, in public auctions (of new and used items). (maybe its in the genes).

Well if you can get a classic American couch (sofa) that probably cost a thousand dollar at less than two hundred .. the hell if i care if its used for years. (well…as long as they look good).

I think public auctions could be one small but important way to stimulate the flailing economy in kathmandu. (with all that money people have been keeping in banks and NOT using it, it could be a outlet for people to gather, socialize and spend). Also it is a way to bring out people in the spirit of spending (and not keeping and saving).