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Entrepreneurs Around Town

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Rabin Pradhan, a graphic designer-turned entrepreneur who was previously working for a well-to-do company, has recently begun his own venture that he calls “Brandlab Nepal,” which intends to become pioneer in branding and marketing.
We asked him,
What really drove you into this business? Money of course cannot be the only reason.
“I go to department store and I compare Nepali products with Indian products. For instance a wheat flour. They both are flour but Indian product looks so appealing with shiny and glossy cover and prints, “herdai kinau kinau lagcha.” Nepali product looks terrible. I see around hoarding board. Comparing Nepali ads with others, I get goosebumps. Same with biscuits or chocolates. I also look around Nepali ads and stuffs, and compare them with Indians and I kind of feel bad for the lame quality. Actually it does not cost much to give an appealing look to any products or outlets. It’s about creativity. I want to make things look beautiful. Be it TV/print ads, or packaging, or hoarding boards, or outlets or anything, I know how to make things look beautiful, and that’s what I want to do. I want to make things look beautiful, that when people drive around and see hoarding board, they get that feel of beauty, when they turn newspaper or magazine, they get that feel of beauty.
That’s the real motive of my entrepreneurial journey — to add beauty on others products and services through my creativity.”
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“We have no one to work in kitchen now. One staff left making an excuse of being unwell. After some days, his friend too left. You don’t get people to work these days. Maybe, everyone has left for gulf or abroad. It’s really frustrating. Only we two have to run this whole place now. So, not much in menu these days. Only chop and snacks and bakery items.”
” Nepal ma kaam nai paudaina bhancha, haami chai kaam garne napayera hairan “
That’s not just a story of Kalikasthan Coffee shop, but of many entrepreneurs. Everyone has same complaint “it’s very hard to get manpower here.” Everyone requests the same thing “can you please get me some good people to work with us?”
Irony, we have so many unemployed folks.
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Mr. Ajay Shrestha, founder of iCapital, 32-year-old investor, entrepreneur and VP of NYEF, who we got to meet today. He is owner of Kaffeine, co-founder of Enterprise – Nepal Business Accelerator Program, and hardcore share marketer.
During the talk, we asked him
What do you look for to invest on a team or idea?
Ans: I invest on person, more than idea. There are many people with brilliant ideas but not everyone is truly passionate about their own ideas or products but not so sure themselves if they can carry it for long. There was a girl with a brilliant idea but overtime she herself lost interest over her own brainchild. That’s the problem with many youths here. They go high with their idea but simultaneously live with plan B like going abroad in back of their head. I don’t find them worth investing up on. I want to invest up on someone that I feel is going to give his heart and soul for quite a long time relentlessly.
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Something he said, that we found quite impressive. We casually told him that despite of his quite a fascinating business profile and success, he is yet not that known face to many.
He said,
“I simply don’t like going around giving speech on how to do business and all, nor I like to socialise for PR sake. Talks are easy and anyone can give. What we really need to do is, help those entrepreneurs and not give talks alone. Help here means providing them needed networks and platforms, help them connecting with investors, groom them for real. That’s what I believe and that’s why Enterprise was born.”
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He does not seem regular Nepalese guy. We mean, his personality, his in-depth knowledge on business and market, both local and global, and fluency in his talk gave me this feel. So, we impulsively asked him if he had done his study abroad.
He with a gentle smile, said
“I was born, brought up, graduated here in Nepal — never been abroad as such for study or work, nor I plan or wish to”
No wonder, he was Management topper from KU.
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It was quite a nice meet. He spoke on many other challenges in existence here for both entrepreneurs and investors, yet how optimistic he is. He likes to hold onto those optimism, yet be realistic, think realistic and act realistically “after all, we are dealing with Nepali market in Nepal”
One thing he said and hearing that gave us immense pleasure,
“Yes, Nepalese investors in large number are very desperate for quick return. They suffer from rental mentality and look for regular flow of their return on investment. BUT, things are changing, slowly but promisingly. I call my company VC start-up. We are start-up in VC sector. Likewise, few others have come and are planning to come. This rental mentality will surely go off, just a matter of time”
Knowing Nepal got such a young and bright entrepreneur and quite a thoughtful investor, was the best thing happened so far in this process of tracing entrepreneur.
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