Developing Entrepreneur ecosystem through mentoring: Hope for billion Dollar Company in Nepal

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Entrepreneurship is regarded as a national asset that has the potential to change the way we live and work. It is important because it helps to drive the economy, it allows people to bring creativity into the marketplace, it creates companies with the imagepotential to hire millions of people and it brings new products and services to market. Therefore, it should be taken as a national asset to be cultivated, motivated and remunerated to the greatest possible extent.

To learn about how entrepreneurial ecosystem is being developed world wide, a five day training was held at Venture Hive, Miami. Representatives of Microsoft Innovation Centers from Armenia, Chile, Nepal and Pakistan were there in the training. There we studied how entrepreneurial ecosystem was being developed in Miami. Miami has just began its journey as a startup hub with a good number of successful stories. Venture Hive has been working on educating entrepreneur and we were able to see how things are being done there. We met people from different corners of the world, who had the same concerns but had different sets of problems they had to deal with. It was amazing to know the how each of the countries were tackling the issues and each other’s perspective towards the problems. This allowed us to have a clear idea on what we need to do in order to develop startup friendly environment in Nepal.

With the aim of educating people about entrepreneurship, Microsoft in partnership with Venture Hive has launched MIC Pre-Accelerator Program in Armenia, Chile, Nepal and Pakistan. An intensive 12-week journey to go from concept through customer acquisition. All these MICs will be linked by a unique free startup training program, connecting entrepreneurs to resources and support they need in validating and building their ideas into solutions. In a country like Nepal where job opportunities are limited, entrepreneurship is the best bet for the economic prosperity of the country. Yet we are far behind in this field. Proper education is what is lacking. The MIC Pre-Accelerator Program will be the bridge to the required education.

Another case study of the entrepreneur ecosystem was done in Bengaluru, India. We attended the Demo day of the Accelerator Program going on there. There we were able to see how the program was running there and what impact it had on the startups. We also were able to talk to the startups and learn about their experiences. As Nepal has a lot of similarities with India, we got a clear idea on what we should be and should not be doing in the MIC Pre-Accelerator Program in Nepal.

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The MIC Pre-Accelerator Program is unlike any MBA course. The program focuses on the business of each participating company rather than learning on the basis case study of other businesses. They analyze their own business and work on improving different aspects of it. Each week the participants will be looking at a different concerning area for the business and implementing what they learnt. While pitching of their solution will be done every week as being able to pitch your business idea is an integral part of a successful business. The best part about the training is that, the participants will be trained on each topic by the best subject matter expert in the field.

One distinct feature of the MIC Pre-Accelerator Program is that, it develops entrepreneurial ecosystem in startup through dedicated mentoring. Each team will have a mentor specific to their need and the one who actually care about that startup. Mentoring is a very different approach than the traditional tutoring trend. Mentors bring out the best in people and help them develop. In the MIC Pre-Accelerator Program, mentors volunteer their time and are an invaluable resource to the entrepreneurs and the community. The mentors are there to provide active listening and coaching that will support the entrepreneurs develop. With the graduation of each batch from the program we hope to create a new generation supportive environment for startups and entrepreneurs.

The 13th week of the program is the Demo Week. Unlike most of the available entrepreneurship programs, at the end of the MIC Pre-Accelerator Program we will not be choosing one of the startup as a winner. We believe that everyone participating in the program must be a winner. Turning this program into a competition will create an unhealthy competition among the startups. We want to start a culture where different startup businesses help each other to succeed. Developing this culture will result in entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs to create a prosperous economy.

The whole week will be a huge international celebration where the each startup will pitch their solution to national as well as an international audience. Apart from this, they will also be listening to the pitches of startups from other participating countries. This week aims to bring the global perspective of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and connect the startups and investors from all over the world.

With the previous discussions with the Honorable Minister of Industry, he has assured that the existing foreign investment policy that allows a foreign direct investment of at least USD 50,000 will be changed to USD 0 which will attract a large number of foreign investors. He also said that the bottleneck that Nepal faces with online payment and digital signature is also being reviewed with Nepal Rastra Bank. Another positive response that was given was the inclusion of some budget for the development of entrepreneur and startup ecosystem.

With these reforms on the way, we believe that the right education and a favorable environment will create a new improved entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal. With this we hope to create at least one if not more multi-million dollar company from Nepal and in addition to creating wealth from their entrepreneurial ventures, they also create jobs and the conditions for a prosperous society.

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