NEHUB Spark Week Day 5 “Policy: Key to a thriving Ecosystem”

Panel discussion on Policy: Key to a thriving ecosystem was held to mark the fifth and the final day of NEHUB SPARK Week 2017. The session was held at Hotel Himalaya on 26th November 4 pm onwards.

PANELISTS:

1. Siddhant Pandey — CEO, Business Oxygen

2. Anjan Kumar Dahal — Director, Bizserve Legal

3. Dr. Pukar Malla — Co-Founder and Executive Director, Daayitwa

MODERATOR:

Mr. Suman Shakya, Co-Founder, SmartPaani

TALKING POINTS AND KEY TAKEAWAYS:

Mr. Anjan Kumar Dahal

Director and the advocate at Bizserve Legal private limited began his legal career during the year 1995 AD. Mr. Dahal is also the associate professor at Kathmandu University School of Law. Reminiscing the early days when foreign direct investment was first introduced in our country, he shared his memories that there was no one to advocate entrepreneurship development. Over the period of time, different rules and regulations were brought forward by the government of Nepal to promote entrepreneurship development in the country although there is a lot of work to be done to develop policy in entrepreneurship. He drafted his views that there are many positive aspects of the regulatory framework but the problem lies in the lack of implementation. He touched base on early Nepalese industry history where government provided high incentive to entrepreneurs to open up industries in Special Economic Zones. There are loopholes in the policy initiated by the government to promote cottage and small scale industries, there is an ample opportunities to move forward positively. There’s no proper mechanism to utilize the challenge fund allocated in Nepal.

Dr Pukar Malla

Senior innovation policy consultant at the World Bank and the founder of Daayitwa started his remarks with a brief introduction of Daayitwa which focuses on social empowerment targeting rural areas and promoting rural entrepreneurship. Dr. Malla, sharing his views on social empowerment, added that the prevalent belief of socio-political empowerment leading to economic transformation is not applicable to rural areas of our country and there needs to be a shift in the paradigm where economic empowerment leads to socio-political transformation. Policies is not the problem for Nepali entrepreneurs, there are 112,009 micro entrepreneurs developed over the past 19 years out of which 78,000 are women. There are provisions like collateral-free loans through women enterprise development fund and youth self-employment fund. Voicing his disagreement against the topic that Nepal lacks resources, he shared that Nepal has Rs.1 billion allocated for challenge fund but don’t have small industry development bank. If the bureaucratic institutions had the capability to understand the problems related to SMEs, they would’ve been able to come up with initiative to utilize the fund of Rs 1 billion. There is no creative space for incubators and accelerators, which creates a bottleneck for impact investors looking from core economic validity with social impact in rural Nepal.

Mr. Siddhant Pandey

Chairman and CEO of Business Oxygen initiated his remarks by sharing his transformation from banker to venture capitalist. Private equity companies were unheard of two years ago but now there are 3 private equity companies operating in Nepal including BO2. Adding to this he added that private equity funds have instigated a spark in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. There are lots of problem in terms of lack of regulation that has inhibited them from working. Since there’s no regulation for private equity in Nepal, private equity are forced to incorporate themselves as a private limited company and follow the company act. Citing the modification made in the regulations in Indian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi law, Mr. Pandey urged that government of Nepal should realize this and amend or come up with alternative rules in investment.

Key Takeaways of the session:

1. Looking at Nepal’s development only from poverty alleviation perspective, there are many aspects to be satisfied about but from economic growth perspective, there is immediate need for complementary programs.

2. Nepal needs to move ahead from eradicating poverty to growth oriented entrepreneurship.

3. The lack of awareness amongst entrepreneurs to realize the good policies that preexist in our country hinders the growth of an enterprise.

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