First ever women’s startup held

Business Bhutan - - Money - Phub Dem From Thim­phu

Though it took some time for Bhutan to bring women star­tups into the lime­light, the first ever women’s edi­tion of Tech­stars startup week­end took place from Novem­ber 23-25 last year.

Just af­ter the Global En­tre­pre­neur Week, which high­lighted women as a cat­a­lyst for large-scale eco­nomic growth in ev­ery coun­try, four youth: two en­trepreneurs and two civil ser­vants came to­gether to or­ga­nize the event.

Eigh­teen women from di­verse back­grounds took part in the event, where they pitched busi­ness ideas, worked in teams and pre­sented their mod­els to the judges. It was also a plat­form for net­work­ing and build­ing con­nec­tions.

The best idea went to Team Wool Art and Craft Pro­duc­tion for an af­ford­able and cre­ative sou­venir made of wool. The idea fo­cused on pro­mot­ing and train­ing lo­cal wool col­lec­tors.

Yeshi Cho­den from Team Wool Art and Craft said the idea is fea­si­ble and prac­ti­cal. “We need to have a good team with a con­ducive work­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

The sec­ond prize was awarded to team Druk Nat­u­rals, as­pir­ing to make cos­metic prod­ucts out of nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents like aloe vera while Team Nazhoen Sherig came third for their con­cept to cre­ate an e-learn­ing plat­form for teach­ers and stu­dents. The plat­form would help teach­ers pre­pare les­son plans, re­sults and at­ten­dance records and stu­dents can ac­cess teach­ing and learn­ing ma­te­ri­als on­line.

Tshet­sho Wangdi from team Nazhoen Sherig said it was her first time par­tic­i­pat­ing in such an event and it in­spired her a lot. “Women are ca­pa­ble,” she said.

No cash prizes were awarded but the par­tic­i­pants were given the op­por­tu­nity to meet men­tors of their choice to de­velop their ideas and mem­ber­ship in in­no­va­tive cen­ters, and were given books on en­trepreneur­ship.

Se­nior ICT Of­fi­cer of De­part­ment of In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy from the in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­istry and an or­ga­nizer, Deepika Rai said women par­tic­i­pants trans­formed from be­ing shy and ret­i­cent into con­fi­dent, en­ter­pris­ing en­trepreneurs within 54 hours. “Dur­ing the week­end we have built a ro­bust com­mu­nity who all be­lieved in give first con­cept.”

Women were seen help­ing and en­cour­ag­ing women. Fur­ther there was a strong group of men call­ing them­selves ‘We-Men’ sup­port­ing the growth of women.

Re­gional Man­ager of Asia-Pa­cific (South and Cen­tral Asia) Tech­stars Anurag Maloo shared on his Face­book about how won­der­ful and in­spir­ing Bhutanese women (and we­men) have come to­gether to build their dreams and fu­ture. “I am look­ing for­ward to em­power the lo­cal com­mu­nity and build their ca­pac­ity to be­come great en­trepreneurs and pro­mote “Made in Bhutan” to the rest of the world.”

Mean­while, the 8th edi­tion of startup week­end is or­ga­nized to help and sup­port women to be­come as­pir­ing en­trepreneurs. The pro­gram of­fered an ex­pe­ri­en­tial risk­free learn­ing plat­form to ex­plore po­ten­tial in­di­vid­u­als to be star­tups and aimed to pro­mote en­trepreneur­ship and in­no­va­tion cul­ture among women.

The women’s edi­tion of Tech­stars startup was dif­fer­ent con­sid­er­ing its con­sis­tency and sus­tain­abil­ity. The event was fully sup­ported by the com­mu­nity: a vol­un­teer group with crowd fund­ing.

One of the or­ga­niz­ers, As­sis­tant Pro­gram Man­ager of Thim­phu TechPark Ltd, Tshe­wang Dorji said the plat­form is free for the par­tic­i­pants un­like other coun­tries. “In the long run, the par­tic­i­pants will be charged a nom­i­nal fee to cover the costs.”

Ini­tially, 30 women reg­is­tered for the event, how­ever, only 20 turned up. Seven ideas were pre­sented in the fi­nal round.

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