Nepal has a lot of untapped business opportunities: Udeep Shrestha

NL Today

  • Read Time 3 min.

Udeep Shrestha, Executive Director of Panchakanya Group and a graduate of Singapore Management University, is a business leader with a demonstrated history of working in the building materials industry. Skilled in negotiation, business planning, customer service, entrepreneurship, and strategic planning, Shrestha is also the President of Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs’ Forum (NYEF). Nepal Live Today caught up with him for a quick interview. Excerpts:

As the pandemic has hit the country hard, how do you see the impact of Covid-19 on young and emerging entrepreneurs?

Covid-19 has had an adverse effect on most businesses. For emerging entrepreneurs, it is even more challenging. It has compelled businesses to adapt to the new normal and has obligated operations to be as lean as possible.

However, a lot of new businesses have also found opportunities in the online sector considering the rapid adoption of e-commerce.

What about the ones who were aspiring to join the business sector?

For aspiring entrepreneurs, the current situation is a reflection of the uncertainties and challenges of a business. Every difficult situation outlines certain opportunities and I am sure a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs have identified the latent demand in the emerging sectors. 

What is the NYEF doing to support emerging entrepreneurs especially at the time of the pandemic?

NYEF is currently contributing to developing a startup policy for Nepal along with ILO, FNCCI and the other relevant ministries. This startup policy should allow the government to cater and deploy the challenge fund allocated during the recent budget to support startups throughout the nation.

NYEF has also been conducting multiple online learning sessions to facilitate and guide entrepreneurs to adapt and overcome these difficult times. We have been conducting online sessions to facilitate learning and counseling.

To promote emerging entrepreneurs, NYEF recently hosted the Entrepreneurship World Cup for the first time in Nepal for entrepreneurs from Nepal and Bhutan. Our winners will be participating in the global finals later this year.

Youths appear to be frustrated with the current political situation of the country. Does this frustration reflect in business as well?

The political situation is definitely frustrating and demotivating. It not only discourages new ventures and investments but also discourages the youths from investing and returning to their home country. However, for businesses already in operation, it is a matter of adapting to survive and grow.

If you could change policies related to entrepreneurship, what would it be?

I would initially focus on effective utilization and deployment of resources that have already been allocated.

As a young entrepreneur and as the president of NYEF, which represents young business personnel like you, how do you see the business environment in Nepal?

The business environment in Nepal is filled with challenging opportunities. There is definitely a high level of bureaucracy which can be exhausting but there also lies a lot of untapped opportunities.

What are the areas where young entrepreneurs can make a mark?

Young entrepreneurs who focus on their passions and strengths consistently and patiently can definitely make a mark in their field of expertise.

While young entrepreneurs try to do some good and make their mark, they also often complain that the government is not doing enough to promote startups and new ventures. What is your take on this?

The government has made an effort to promote the startup ecosystem. However, the lack of resources and a well-defined plan for its execution has been the bottleneck.

Apart from heading the NYEF, you also handle your own business. As an executive director of Panchakanya Group, which is an established brand, what factors do you think help in establishing a brand for the long term?

I think a consistent and focused message is what establishes a brand.

 Which is more difficult, creating a brand or sustaining the brand image?

Creating a brand is difficult in the beginning and sustaining and enhancing the brand is a continuous process that is equally demanding. Branding and brand management is an infinite game.

Ten years down the line, where do you see the position of young entrepreneurs in Nepal?

I hope to see a stronger and more vibrant startup ecosystem that encourages young entrepreneurs to scale up and grow and have better access to finance.

What is your vision for Nepal as a young entrepreneur?

I want to see Nepal emerge as a developed Himalayan nation that powers 15 percent of South Asia and that stands among the top five destinations to visit in Asia.