Nepal is not only home to some of the world’s largest mountains, but also a country where 70 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line. For them there’s no climbing the mountain of prosperity, let alone the corporate ladder. This enormous group of people is stuck in the Base of the Pyramid: the 4 billion people worldwide who live of 2 dollars or less per day. However, in Nepal the pyramid is growing into an apple: an emerging middle class is pushing the local economy, starting new business, and becoming aspiring entrepreneurs. But for many, it’s a bumpy and heavy road to reach those new heights. That’s where we come in: with our project Dutch Impact we want to empower local entrepreneurs with knowledge and potential investors. And you can join us in doing so!
For us, entrepreneurship and economic growth are a much better and sustainable way of helping people to become self-sufficient than development aid. A dairy farmer in Nepal that wants to scale his enterprise with an investment of 100.000 dollars can provide 50 families a better income. Entrepreneurs in emerging markets that are eager to start their own business and take risks should be embraced and supported. Yet Nepal lacks the ‘start-up ecosystem’ that exists in many other countries. There are no start-up hubs, no accelerators nor incubators, no leadership programmes or business meeting places. With Dutch Impact we hope to plant seeds of experience and knowledge to help them escape the Base.
What do investors look for before deciding which Nepalese start-up to invest in? A good business plan with alluring Returns on Investment, not only financial but also social. With Dutch Impact, young professionals from Dutch corporations travel to Nepal. Together with One To Watch – asset manager for Dutch Impact Investors in Nepal – we assess different enterprises, share our ‘foreign’ knowledge and help them to sharpen their business plan – all to increase their chance of getting an investment.
Key to our success, is not reasoning from a misplaced business-superiority, but aiming for a mutual exchange of knowledge. Big differences concerning why they do things the way they do are inevitable, and understanding them is a crucial part of our success. Differences such as why it’s perfectly normal to tell you very personal details about their family. For us, there is much to learn from their ‘Jugaad-mentality’: doing more with less.
Thinking beyond borders and perceiving the world as a network organization lies at
the heart of the idea behind Dutch Impact. Our worldwide economy will benefit from collaborations between different cultures, as this literally overcomes differences and narrow-mindedness. Only with an open, value-free mind-set can we learn from people in other cultures and thereby bring them closer.
Are you one of those pragmatic professionals who want to share their knowledge in an emerging economy and want to learn from the inventiveness of Nepalese entrepreneurs? Come join us on this adventure!
About Dutch Impact
– Two weeks in Nepal
– In collaboration with One To Watch
– meeting entrepreneurs in the sectors agriculture, waste management, renewable energy & health – 7 people from Dutch & 7 people from other organizations
– 24 January – 8 February 2014