Who doesn’t love coffee? While starting the day with a daily dose of coffee is an ideal routine for most people, the actual process of growing coffee is much more complicated. Kumud Singh, founder of Alpine Coffee Estate can vouch for that. The Biruwa team was lucky to have him over for the ‘Breakfast @ Biruwa’ session.
With an educational background in computer software, Singh started working immediately after completing his SLC. He ventured into his first business, a web designing and multimedia company during his first year of Bachelors. However, due to limited business knowledge, Singh had to depart ways from it. It was only after he completed his MBA that the idea of a coffee farm took seed. Despite not knowing much about the coffee market, Singh and his friends went ahead when the financial figures seemed favourable. They even bought a piece of land without even looking at it.
Since quality was the top-most priority for the founders of Alpine Coffee Estate, experimenting with different coffees took a whole year. When asked how he successfully entered an unknown market, he mentioned how repeatedly experimenting and taking risks enabled him to slowly succeed.
There are other crops that have potential in Nepal, so why coffee? When asked about this he opened about the advantages in coffee. First it’s a budding niche market. Second, Nepal’s geography doesn’t have much hills that give in to other crops. And it’s not a no-other-crop policy for him. As coffee needs shade there are other crops especially trees that he has planted in his farm.These do include cash crops of high value but Singh further stresses that he wants to focus on coffee for now.
If coffee, computer software, ginger and stock brokerage were all put into a Venn Diagram, Kumud Singh is one figure who would fall in that intersection. While the coffees harvested, Singh didn’t let time go to waste and engaged in various side-businesses.Having entered diverse sectors, Singh described the technology industry as the most rewarding in terms of both profit and interest.
Being a serial entrepreneur himself, Singh advises young entrepreneurs to explore their options. He says that there is a lot to learn in every industry. So if someone wishes to do so, starting off small is a good idea.
You just need to figure out what is and what isn’t your cup of coffee.
Ayog Basnyat/Suvasini Sherchan