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Entrepreneurship

Start-Up Account: Kushal Karmacharya (SP Events)

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Kushal Karmacharya is Co-founder and Marketing and Business development director for SP Events a start-up in event and advertising sector.

1. Please tell us a little about your business.

We started S.P. events and advertisements formally in 2015. However, we had already begun operating since mid-2014. This enterprise is co-owned by 3 of us. We initially offered only event management services but later also began engaging in providing advertising services. We currently have 8 employees working for us. Our client base now includes multinational companies like Honda, Miniso, Being Human and Jabsons.
2. How did you come up with the idea for S.P. events?
I planned and managed a number of programs and events in my college days as a BBA student. Because of this, I always saw myself working in the field of event management. Gradually, I met people with a vision compatible to mine and that’s how we came up with S.P. events.
3. Please tell us about your initial investment.
Large investments are seen to be important for any given enterprise. While I do not deny this, it is possible to begin business ventures will small investments as well. S.P. events began with an initial investment of 2-3 lakhs and since, then it has been running on its own profits.
4. What kind of challenges did you face during your initial days as budding entrepreneur?
I don’t think starting an enterprise in Kathmandu as very challenging. Most of our industrial space remains to be saturated and thus we can really make the most out the resources – regardless of where we dive into. However, the lack of a supportive social system was one of the major challenges I faced during my early days as an entrepreneur. An absence of effective business consultancies who could guide us better during that time was also felt.
5. How do you view the company registration process of Nepal?
I personally believe that the company registration process of Nepal is somewhat demotivating. We were very confused during the registration process. For a beginner, our country’s company registration process is time consuming and again, demotivating.
6. Has S.P. events stood up to your own expectations of success?
Definitely our venture has stood up to my expectations so far. We did not think we would have big multi-national companies as our clientele in such a short period of time. Looking back, I think we have achieved a lot in a short while.
7. Where do you see your enterprise after a couple of years?
The field in which we operate demands new levels of creativity every day. As numerous multi-national companies enter Nepalese market every year, we need to grow in parallel terms. I will not say that we will be at the top of the advertising world within a few years from now, but I can certainly ensure you that S.P. events will have become a well-known brand in itself by then.
8. Do you have any suggestions for upcoming entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship is not what it appears to be through rose-tinted lenses. Money is important but vision, dedication and enthusiasm are much more important. As Kathmandu now-a-days is also being called the “Start-up Valley” of Nepal, it is the right time to join the entrepreneurial ecosystem for those who wish to do so.
Originally published in GEW.CO

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Entrepreneurship

Start Up Blues-I

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It’s so easy to find someone to chill with. But it’s so damn difficult to find someone to build with. Somewhere over the internet when these lines met my eyes, I paused for a while and scrolled down. Then I stopped and thought for a while. Those were some lovely lines.

And I remembered myself scribbling these rookie verses sometime back in my life:

Of men, wants are profuse,

To eternity their longing beholds

Sins or deeds, they bemuse,

When ‘desire’ by rule grows in folds.

Some desire to dine with the holies

Some to learn the mystics afar,

Some want rooms full of stories

with their doors still ajar.

Wishes by virtue,

are so strange

With time they rearrange,

The one thing

we don’t want this minute

Might tomorrow be-

a wishful appendage.

I might be wrong, but we all do want something from this line segment called ‘LIFE’. We’ve an inherent trait of pursuit, under whose shadow we crawl to find things that satiate our desires.  We realize too sooner in life that our time here is limited, so we’ve got to make the best out of what we’ve got.

That process of achieving- the real ‘how’- however might be idiosyncratic in nature. One may want to have fun all his life, go to bars and puff out smoke rings and get laid and snort cocaine every night, or one may want to travel to Africa and watch cosmos on his telescope or meditate his half-life through; it’s uniquely different from person to person what we want to cook out of life’s infinite recipes.

But as much people are unlike each other, there are those who are quite alike! By ‘like each other’ I mean sharing similar values in life, wanting to do similar things. This virtual place called Kaagmandu Magazine (and The messengers Club, of course) for me is one such spot where I found those people whom I’d love to say are like me, somehow. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all personally as unique as every other is (well not all of you love sad music, do you? Haha), but deep down all of us here share this common sentiment of solving problems, and creating a better world. Even without meeting in person and having physical presence, people here are so welcoming and supportive. There’s a strange aura about this club, and it makes me feel good that something’s seriously building in here! Yeah we chill out once in a while, but we see the bigger picture. We see the loopholes inside this world’s system and governance, we see the possibilities of business and economics, we see the science crying and we watch art healing. We hear trees sob when they get chopped off, we feel the mountains melting when coal mines jerk off tons of smoke, we see anger and dissatisfaction and bruises and burns. We see, we reach out, research, work, observe and understand. We learn, teach, share, receive and give back.

Serendipity works strangely for us if we dare to dream and do. Few months back I was no one, I did nothing but then I found these people whom I can trust to build with. I still am a nobody but I know that I can be somebody. And I believe everyone here can connect to this because we are those who seek change buy being the change, we’re those who want to get better with each day we live. Deciding to join this magazine while it’s still an embryo is a big responsibility over this silly head of mine, but I get this vibe that this is how it is supposed to be. We have a team that works like a family, and we share an unspoken deep bonding in between. The whole messengers club is a source of motivation when it comes to ideation and guidance. There is still much, much more to do; but things well started are almost half-finished, they say, and I can’t help being sanguine about this.

Now here I’m typing, breaking this night’s dead silence with my fingertips that make a rampant noise. But this noise is lovely. This is the tune of creating, a necessary dose of itching that builds up legacies. I come to a truce with this din, and I keep hitting my five years old, poor qwerty. Three o’clock, the clock just said. I’ve got to sleep now, there’s work to do tomorrow.

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Entrepreneurship

Playing With Reality: How These Young Men Are Changing The Way We See The World ( And How The World Sees Nepal)

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A 360 degree view of Semantic Creation’s workplace where they do some fascinating work on virtual and augmented reality.

When semantic creation started their entrepreneurial journey from a small residential room at Dhulikhel two years back – coding and developing applications on their spare time-they barely knew that they had unknowingly stepped up for a life changing adventure. They were just a bunch of university students who wanted to apply what they had learned (not necessarily in classrooms though), aspiring to design softwares and mobile applications for the global market.

Fast forward two years, and now they are one of the most promising start-ups in Nepal’s IT market.

So, what do they do?

Though semantic creation at first started working on general android applications, they have now entirely focused on developing virtual reality based applications.
“When the massive earthquakes hit last year, it hurt us to see the turmoil of its aftermath. The architectural masterpieces in and around the Kathmandu valley had crumbled to rubble, and we felt like we need to do something to give a message to the world that Nepal is still beautiful as it is. Then we started working on virtual reality and designing an application that could let you see the 360 photos and videos of different places in Nepal. We traveled to the outskirts of the valley, captured some amazing photos, and developed an application called Nepal VR with which you can feel as if you  are ‘actually’ seeing the places first hand. All of you need for this is a VR headsest and your smartphone!”, says Bobby Basnet, a developer and semantic creation’s co-founder.

If you’re still wondering what actually virtual reality does, here’s a simple explanation:

Imagine that you want to go to a resort in a place you have never been for your upcoming vacation, but you have no idea how the place looks like. Virtual reality applications make it possible for  you to see the place, giving an immersive and real experience of touring there in real time. You can actually see if the bath-tub fits your size, or whether the balcony offers you a view of mountains. With this imaginative and intriguing innovation, we can easily decide whether or not we would want to spend our time and money in the given resort. This holds the same inference for other fields and markets, for instance, housing and real estate.

Well, we had pretty difficult times while memorizing all those chemical equations and the theories of physical science and the reactions that go underneath our cells, because we couldn’t visualize these phenomena with ease. But kids now wouldn’t need to lift that big rock. Virtual reality is such a tool that will help these children to easily visualize and understand even the most complex of natural phenomena. If effectively applied to school learning and practical researches, VR can inevitably boost creativity and innovative thinking. That’s what the world now needs more than ever.

Semantic creation now have realised this futuristic scope, and even they’ve achieved some milestones on their journey.  VisualiseVR, a semantic creation’s pipeline project was awarded the best seed-stage startup from Nepal by Seedstars World, a multinational platform that screens, assesses and supports potential start-ups for their eclectic growth. Visualise VR have now the opportunity to learn from a first phase intensive training at Bangkok before taking their venture to the final stage in Switzerland coming April.

For a small start-up basically run by such young men, it’s a huge achievement. They not will only be taking Nepal’s entrepreneurial scenario to international market, but will also help bring in foreign investors to Nepali market too. In this sense, it’s as equally a challenge as is an opportunity for them.

From tourism to data visulaization to marketing and VR training, VisualiseVR is aiming big for the days to come. They believe that if given proper technological back-up and support, Nepal can really be a hub for Virtual Reality development. Though the market is still small and it is hard to find investors and sponsors for large-scale Virtual and Augmented Reality development in Nepal, these guys believe that things are gradually changing. “There have been times when we had to shift away from VR projects because we were not even making ourselves sustain with it, but now that’s changed. A number of prospective collaboratories and investors have approached us lately, and we think that we can really take VR and AR forward to the global as well as local market now.” They say.

Nepalese IT workforce needs to take these things seriously, if we are to create more economic platforms for such innovative approaches.

Semantic Creation and Visualise VR are a source of inspiration for all the shrooming start-ups that aim for growth and impact in the community. We need to lend our support and admiration for their upcoming projects. We wish them the best of preparation (and luck?) for their Seedstars campaign, and hope that they will be successful on linking Nepal’s IT market with latest global trends and developments.

You can download NepalVR by Semantic Creation from Google playstore and check out their amazing works.

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Entrepreneurship

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.”
_______________________________________________________________________________________________
“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.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________
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.
_________
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.”
_________
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.
______
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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