By Bishal Kafle
Being a student of Business administration, I am very much attached to the word “entrepreneur.” I see an entrepreneur as a person who manages the resources to capitalize his ideas into a profitable venture. Since the very first day at business school, I had a passion to become a successful entrepreneur. No matter how small it shall be, I always wanted to start my own business.
For years, I have debated which sector I should begin my entrepreneurial journey. Although, there are some business ideas germinating in my mind, the difficulty of choosing one area seems challenging. At this point of confusion, I heard about “Biruwa Ventures”. Biruwa, a firm run by three US returnees, Vidhan Rana and Abhinab Basnyat (Founding Partners), and Ankit Rana (Administrative Assistant), is an entrepreneurial community where the great business ideas are sowed. Biruwa Ventures provides shared office space, mentoring service, consulting service and financing service to the startup entrepreneurs. Thus, seeing the opportunity to learn by closely observing the mentoring session, consulting session and other supportive discussions with the start-up entrepreneurs, I made no delay to join Biruwa for my internship.
It has been nearly one month that I joined Biruwa.I am here involved as a team member in some key projects like conducting research on the restaurant industry, and evaluating the commercial potential of biogas plants in an urban setting. These projects have provided me the lessons on market research and financial analysis on the data which is enhancing my entrepreneurial skills. More interestingly, recently, I got a chance to get acquainted with the feedback forms of the “Last Thursday’s with an Entrepreneur,” with Dawa Steven Sherpa as the guest speaker. Here, I came to know a lot about the concerns of potential entrepreneurs.
Most of the people attending the event were from the IT and business backgrounds. Despite traditional culture directing graduates to choose their career in banking industry or the government service, I came up with huge number of respondent who wanted to start and do something of their own. Interestingly, among the respondents I reviewed, more than 80% of them wanted to start a business.
While a large number of people are interested in starting their own business, a million dollar question arises, what is stopping them to attain their dream?
When the potential entrepreneurs were asked, “Why are you not able to fulfill your entrepreneurial dream?”, majority of the respondents answered lack of seed-capital as the biggest hurdle. Fellow entrepreneurs claim that they have an excellent business idea and are looking for angel investors.
Meanwhile, the investors deny financing stating the reason of central banks provision- ‘No loan without collateral.’ Even in the case of equity-financing model of venture capital, investors do not want to take risk by investing in the new-uncertain ventures.
Answering the query of possibility of venture capital in Nepal, one participant investor answered, “In a country where the top executives of financial institutions are often reported with the case of imprudence, it is very difficult to believe the small, low profile potential entrepreneurs and fund them. No one can risk the money they earn into a one way tunnel. What if I would fund you and you will move away from this city, how would I track you? So, I think it is not possible here.”
Since, investors do not easily fund the non-collateral projects, it is better for the entrepreneurs to start their business in small gear and gradually turn it bigger.
Here, I see the possibility of establishing an online community in Nepal where the entrepreneurs propose their business idea and explain how will they make the profit. The business idea shall be rated and the idea which gets the maximum votes will be financed for his project. Here, the investment amount can be divided into the fellow ideator and all of them can contribute equally. The borrower can use the money for few months
and pay back the money with premium contribution and invest in others project. In this way, the funding amount gets increased and more ideators are facilitated. (Like kiva-loan model, start-garden model etc.)
Meanwhile, dawn for the entrepreneurs, Biruwa is conducting a business plan competition on October 2012, where the best business plans will reviewed by a team of investors and business executives. Winners will not only receive funding but also mentorship and other business services to help their business prosper.
Hurry up entrepreneurs, participate and encourage investing firms to carry similar projects frequently. Come visit Biruwa and get more details and attend their mentorship sessions. We are preparing to make the best business idea succeed. Maybe you will receive the first venture capital financing in Nepal!