The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal is slowly growing stronger and more vibrant- numerous accelerator programs emerging certainly attest to that. With three batches already under our belt and our fourth batch finalized, it seems like a good time to look back to our latest batch of alumni.
Although our program is tried and tested, it is still interesting to learn how the program has actually helped our alumni. A common thread weaving our latest alumni together was the financial and the business analysis services we provide. For a lot of our alumni, the program helped them plan the growth of their companies, and make new business plans by implement what they have learnt during the program. Sajal Pradhan the Co-Founder of Best Paani adds that the program has really helped them in their financial and business analysis; instead of just knowing the amount of money coming in and going out they can now get a “snapshot of the whole picture”. Furthermore, Paras Katuwal shares that the program, especially the advice he got from the Dutch mentors, helped him “think outside the box”, regarding his future business plans. Echoing this thought was Dipesh Khetan- the Co-Founder of Natural Resins, who adds that the program actually helped clear his vision and taught more about the social impact of his business- always a good thing in our point of view.
A program’s value can easily be seen through its success. Five of the eight companies that pitched for investments, received investment pledges last year, making our success rate quite high. These companies have similar plans for the investments, most are going to scale up their companies and build up their team. Rammed Earth Solutions, Natural Resins and Nepal Thopa Sinchai are planning to add to their team- for Natural Resins it’s 500 more employees, out of which 90% will be from the bottom of the pyramid. In terms of scaling up Rammed Earth Solution is planning on procuring more machines to increase their efficiency and build a storage space- allowing them to buy in bulk and reduce the cost of materials. Natural Resins is also planning on buying land and more machines, as well as building a manufacturing plant. Following the same train of though is Hesty Kiwi and Mush Nepal, both are planning on building factories with the investments. However, Hesty Kiwi is also planning on opening another outlet store, and a packaging plant to have an international grade packaging and marketing boxes. Nepal Thopa Sinchai is planning to use part of their pledged amount as their working capital, allowing them to scale up their capacity.
Chainlink Engineering sparkled the interest of 2 Nepali investment funds with which they opened dialog. The founders wanted to buy machines to help repair and maintain hydropower plants, and use some of the amount to develop their infrastructure. A part of the investment was to be kept as working capital to help them take on bigger maintenance projects of hydropower plants in Nepal. Green Bamboo Solution has been growing their business, even without an investment. ICT for Agriculture was looking for an investment to help increase the number of farmers using their App and to upgrade their platform. In September, this year, ICT for Agriculture won the United States Government’s Feed the Future Initiative’s global Data-Driven Farming Prize of $50,000 for their mobile and web-based platform.
Best Paani had a slightly different expectation from our program: a partnership to help realize their clean drinking water projects in Nepal. They have been working on projects with private and government schools in 20 districts as well as WWF and the Nepali Government.
It is the time of the year that a new batch of entrepreneurs start the Rockstart Impact program. These entrepreneurs come with dreams of getting an investment to take their business to the next level, or of getting enough support that would allow them to take their business to the next level . The Rockstart Impact program will not only help theses business achieve their dreams but also give them a support system that few other business will be able to boast.