Creating Entrepreneurial Mindset

Creating Entrepreneurial Mindset

I feel much closer to our country, Nepal, our people with their story of struggle and success, and our cultural and geographical diversity, than I had ever felt in my life as I write this blog. I got a chance to pursue an adventurous journey to the hills of Palpa, Gulmi, and soon I will be on my way to Ramechhap as a part of  Daayitwa- Nepal Public Service Fellowship Summer, 2016

My ongoing research on social enterprise in Nepal, especially in Ramechaap, and interaction with entrepreneurs in Palpa and Gulmi often the target groups brought to attention the fact of how similar training provided to target groups have harmed the local economy. When a community is composed of people with similar skill and training, they start similar enterprises which often create harmful competition between them as was the case of Palpa long ago.

The story of Palpa took place in between the year 2048 to 2050 B.S in a village, named Madan Pokhara.

As usual, a few men were having a tea talk in chautari on a bright sunny day. In between the conversations, one of them started complaining about the same curry, gundruk, he has been eating for the past 3 to 4 days. One by one, all of them voiced out that they have been also eating gundruk in their houses. While investigating the matter, they found out that other vegetables have not been available in the local market for the past few days. They also came to know that their vegetables were always imported from Butwal and Bhairahawa. Since there was a landslide on the way to Palpa, vegetables were not being transported to the local market.

The lack of self-reliance even to fulfill the basic need, hit them so hard that they decided to grow their own vegetables. However, due to lack of proper planning, most of them started growing the same vegetables. Soon, a fight ensued about individuals about who could sell the products in the market. By the end of the year, 17 families in the villages stopped talking to each other.
Learning from the disharmony, the villagers decided to grow different vegetables. They marketed and sold the vegetables among each other and with the neighboring villages. Their vegetables found a loyal market.

This story tells us about the importance of planning training programs by studying the value chain of the enterprise eco-system and researching about how the skill will add value to it.
I also came across people who pointed out the lack of education base and practical uses of business theory among social entrepreneurs. From the conversations I had with entrepreneurs, I realized that rural entrepreneurs have very limited knowledge on market research, the system of demand and supply,and other business tools.

Let me share with you a story of Bishnu Devi Gaire, one of the top forty entrepreneurs of Palpa. She had received a training on cow-rearing despite not being the cow farming business. Six years after her training, she received a training on saving and investment. This was what Bishnu had required the most before starting her venture. At presents, Bishnu wants to expand her business for which she needs a training on market assessment and risk management.

Now imagine if she had received all the necessary training on entrepreneurship. How big would her enterprise have been by now? Maybe she would have been one of the top entrepreneurs of Nepal.

The other problem our entrepreneurs face is the access and usage of modern technology and the ways of sharing the resources to make their enterprise self-sustaining. The lack of ease of access to technology has resulted in their businesses getting overstepped by national and international monopoly markets.

To address this situation, it is important to design a social entrepreneurship and innovation course. Such a course would greatly benefit the rural people which would help them to decide on their field of interest and the ways they could expand their existent business. They would be updated about the progress and innovation based on which they can construct their own project, identify the problematic issues, assess the market, identify the stakeholders and use other business tools for the sustainability of their enterprises.

Such interventions establish a base for people to start their own enterprise by which they can provide for their family, engage their community in enterprise promotion and build community-run enterprises.

As part of my research work, I recently attended a training organized by Heifer, 'Heifer's Cornerstone Training." My interactions with the rural entrepreneurs and various stakeholders made me realize that in order to conduct any skill based training or allocation of work in any sector, you have to have cornerstones. By cornerstones, I refer to the need to develop the sense of self, build self-reliance, develop the nature of sharing and caring, establish gender equity and be accountable towards our responsibility, community and surroundings.

Once such concepts of cornerstones are developed in the stakeholders, any training or jobs or skills development will bear the fruit of success and will be self-sustainable.

Author: Triveni Chand, Daayitwa Summer Fellow 2016

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