Entrepreneurs at startup center want more publicity
Despite the inauguration of the startup centre at Changzamtog on June 25 this year, almost all the entrepreneurs outlined lack of awareness among people and people visiting the centre as challenges confronting the different startups.
The Department of Cottage and Small Industry of the economic affairs ministry converted its existing service centre to business incubation or startup centre. The move is a part of the ministry’s effort to support aspiring entrepreneurs by providing access to affordable infrastructure and other business development services.
However, Industry Officer with the economic affairs ministry Dechen Dorji said there is currently man-power shortage and familiarization of the entrepreneurs in the market.
He added that the ministry is in talk with the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) for the promotion of the entrepreneurs and soon to develop a catalog for the startup centre.
Meanwhile, aspiring entrepreneurs can use the facility at the startup centre for two years to set up and run their businesses. But after the incubation period, new startups will take over the spaces.
The startup centre was constructed at a cost of about Nu 67.5 mn; the centre has space for 28 startups, two training halls, space for management office and cafeteria.
An employee of Green Pigment Arts, Norbu Tshering, 25, said, “I haven’t seen people come here to see our work or buy or order our products as people don’t know what is inside the startup centre and what it has to offer.”
He added there are multiple issues like the department not allowing putting up of signboards and marketing via social media.
Another entrepreneur, Monjit Nepal, 26, said the startup centre had provided good opportunities for the youth and new entrepreneurs, but lack familiarization and people coming here at the centre to visit is rare.
Monjit works independently and has been learning crafting since his childhood. His creative art work includes like drift wood art and bamboo art.
Meanwhile, business ideas are nurtured at the centre and developed through support programmes such as mentoring, training, marketing, product designing and development, linkages to financial institutions and other business development services. The centre also has a fabrication laboratory, which will help ease the development of ideas into products through prototyping.
One of the entrepreneurs, Tuls, said the opportunity was essential as the investment is huge in the beginning when a person is just starting a business. “This came in as a huge advantage for me.”
“But familiarization is lacking. People don’t come neither have any information about the startup centre and what it is all about,” she added.
Another Industry Officer, Penjor said they want to encourage people especially unemployed youth materialize their new business ideas and also provide every possible support they need.
He added we are very young organization and is not fully equipped, but yet we try every possible ways that the entrepreneurs are benefitted and we will also keep in touch even after two years of contract.