With the globally growing trend of entrepreneurship all around the world, Nepal hasn’t stayed untouched with its concept. But the internal environment of the country doesn’t seem to be motivating enough to let the entrepreneurship spirit flourish at its potential. So we try to explore what are the opportunities and what are the barriers of entrepreneurship in Nepal.
What is Entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is not merely creating new business ventures. Entrepreneurship is about innovating new ways to solve problems and create values. Entrepreneurs take risks on new ideas that haven’t been tested and verified yet in the market. Though there is high risk of failures because of the innovative nature, but it has high possibilities that the products and services invented by entrepreneurs can be disruptive enough to create a whole new market & opportunities.
Why entrepreneurship is important in Nepal?
Nepal is ready to grow because it is young, energetic, and reaching out to participate in the global economy. There are plenty of investment opportunities here.
Entrepreneurship is one of the important ways we can accelerate our economic growth and compete in the fast-changing global marketplace.
I believe that the future of Nepal cannot be dependent on foreign aids and remittance only. If we want to move forward on a sustainable economic growth then there should be enough support and suitable environment for new entrepreneurship and innovations. Entrepreneurship is important because it will not only create employment but it will create positive impact on the youths. Everyday young and energetic population are leaving Nepal in search of opportunities. To instill hope, dignity, self-esteem and positive culture to stay and do something in Nepal, entrepreneurship must flourish in sustainable way.
What are the challenges for entrepreneurship in Nepal?
Despite the opportunity and severe need of entrepreneurship development in Nepal, there are several challenges for entry and smooth operations for entrepreneurship.
Limited financial resources
In Nepal, Banks, financial institutions and parents lend huge amount of money to youth if they want to go abroad, but none of them will risk investing on entrepreneurship. Youths who have great ideas are unable to initiate their startup because of the lack of funds.
There is no provision of business loans at all without property collaterals, which is absolute barriers to new startups.
Unfavorable policies, rules and regulations
The process of company registrations and taxes are so complicated and time-consuming that for a new-comer it is really demotivating. In some cases if the business idea is something innovative then there might be no provision at all in law for registration. The threat of tax is always a discouraging factor among new businesses. It would have been reasonable if the law is more encouraging and focused on business’ success rather than fully focused on how to extort tax from it or in which way they can be penalized.
The root of corruption in public organizations are so deep that people have no confidence on accomplishing bigger goals that are connected with public sector in any way.
Intellectual property rights
There is not enough law to protect intellectual property rights in Nepal. Therefore innovators and new businesses are afraid to bring out their inventions and innovations due to the lack of strong laws regarding copyright, trademarks and patents.
Motivation of entrepreneurial success
Youths today are attracted to entrepreneurship because of its glam and glory. The holistic approach of entrepreneurship, its lifecycle, its contribution in the society and economy as a whole are always overlooked. Youths are heavily aspired to be rich overnight rather than contribute to the overall industrial development.
Success of an entrepreneurship isn’t only measured by its financial success, but how much impact it contributes in people’s lives and a nation’s growth. This needs to be understood by emerging youths. I see one of the lacking factor in people nowadays is patience. The hunger of short-term success might focus on quantitative productivity but might not lead to qualitative and sustainable entrepreneurship.
People are more attracted towards speculative financial activities rather than risk taking. The inclination towards acquisition of land, saving gold and silver, constructing buildings, consuming luxury are more encouraged rather than investing in new entrepreneurship. Therefore entrepreneurs have hard time explaining their visions to people and even their parents.
Apart from these, there are other ever-existing problems, such as the political instability, lack of education and training, the education system that is not individual skill-based but only text-book based etc which are the barriers of entrepreneurship development in Nepal.
What are the opportunities for entrepreneurship in Nepal?
Although there are many challenges in Nepal, I think these should not discourage entrepreneurship spirit in any way. Because the very foundation of entrepreneurship spirit itself lies in accepting challenge and taking risks. Entrepreneurs should be able to have a vision that others aren’t seeing at the moment. People might think their ideas are hypothesis and impose high uncertainty, but that is entrepreneurship; betting all in a hypothesis you believe.
So if we search, there are many opportunities available in Nepal for entrepreneurship development.
First mover advantage
There are crisis all around (electricity, water, fuel, communication, inflation). Remember crisis is an opportunity for an entrepreneur. Since we are still a developing country and technology is in its infant phase, many business ideas can be started here with first-mover advantages.
High unemployment rates means you can build a team around motivated youths who are desperately looking to stay employed.
There are still lots of problems in society that needs new and innovative solutions. Since most of the youths are focused on flying abroad. Therefore, those who choose to stay here and experiment in their entrepreneurship skill, have less competitions.
Due to the less development activities in the country, people with money have less sectors for investment. So if an entrepreneur can bring out a promising idea and execution plan, there are many investors out there willing to invest.
It is undeniable that entrepreneurship development is must for Nepal to prosper ahead. But there are too many challenges and obstacles which have created unfavorable environment. Government, private sectors and the entrepreneurs themselves have to come out and put in the effort to create an encouraging environment for entrepreneurship development.
Government should simplify the law and regulations and promote activities such as startup funding, training and educations. Political stability and reducing corruption will help new entrepreneurship to enter and existing ones to operate smoothly.
Likewise people should also believe in entrepreneurship spirit and have to take risk for the greater good of society rather than just seeking out the easy way for individual benefits. The few years after college are a favorable time for youths to experiment, learn and take risk on entrepreneurship skill, rather than rush into flying abroad. And parents should also encourage them.
Also, entrepreneurs who have been in the journey of all these challenges and opportunities should share their knowledge with aspiring youths. Sharing the experiences and stories of success and failures will help new comers. As one entrepreneur embark his journey into the success, he should inspire many more with his activities. This way we will be able to build a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem.