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The last Thursday of February 2016 became insightful for the interested fellow handicraft entrepreneurs and the aspiring ones. Biruwa Advisors organized Last Thursdays with an entrepreneur for the second time, partnered by Entrepreneurs for Nepal, Sambriddhi Foundation, and Facts Nepal. This edition was able to carry the success of the previous 68 events and prosper the name and reputation of the event even more.

Mr. Pravin Chitrakar the owner of Yala Mandala was invited as the chief guest to share his experiences on his journey as an entrepreneur. As the theme of the program was Handicraft industry of Nepal Mr. Pravin Chitrakar was the perfect person to share his understandings of the industry.

The objective of the event was to promote the industry itself and help entrepreneurs find a platform to talk about the current affairs about the industry. The topic was relevant as handicraft industry was never in the limelight. There is limited understanding among the people and the scope the industry has never been realized.

The program started with a perceptive presentation by Facts Nepal showing the history and current statistical data about the handicraft industry of Nepal. Mr. Pravin Chitrakar discussed his journey and the future opportunities of the industry among 80 participants, most of them were entrepreneurs themselves.

Despite being a Civil engineering student, Mr. Pravin Chitrakar didn’t even work as engineer for a single day rather jumped into the handicraft industry. Born in Patan, surrounded by the heritage and the art he was drawn into the industry. In 1990 he founded Yala Mandala – Artisan at work (Patan handicraft before). Yala mandala breaks the current prototype of other handicraft exporting companies. Yala focuses on promoting the culture and the heritage rather than products as such. The product line itself extends from handmade jewelry to natural buttons, knit wears, paper products and many more.

Mr. Chitrakar focused on the importance of branding the handicrafts product and the industry itself to bring the industry in the center stage at the global market. He sighted the power of internet, and the enthusiasm of the younger generation as the key to do so. He insists the new beginning for the industry is just around the corner as the political situation of the country is near solved. He stayed positive despite of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, 2015 earthquake but the current blockade by the Terai parties had him question the business scenario of Nepal.

The problem Mr. Chitrakar states in the industry is sustaining by only copying the old handicraft importing strategy but there is vast opportunity as there are many skills and strengths to meet the requirement of the global market. And to do this contemporization of the industry is necessary. He insists the promotion and information of the industry should be done on the governance level.

Mr. Chitrakar came as an example for young entrepreneurs to passionately follow their dreams with patience and perseverance. He is now focused to make the handicraft industry more attractive for those who are looking to enter the industry. He says the evolution of the industry is still in the process and one day the big bang will occur.  

The atmosphere of the event became very captivating for the young entrepreneurs. Mr. Chitrakar was very responsive to the questions asked by the participants and surely all the participants took something from 69th Last Thursdays.


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