Saturday, February 28, 2009

This is an excerpt from a conversation someone had with Min Bahadur, owner of Bhatbhateni supermarket/dept. store chain concerning the Young Entrepreneur's of Nepal. I'm reprinting it here...

Last thursday was talking with Min bahadur gurung, owner of the Bhat bhateni chain of supermarkets and an inspiring entrepreneur life story. Few pointers from the ever optimistic and ever humble (rags to riches) entrepreneur.

Background:Min Bahadur Gurung, from remote village in Khotang started his venture with $1135 opening a small grocery store and now he is a multimillionaire with retail super market chains “bhatbhateni” in Nepal.

a) It is “THE” best time to be an entrepreneur in Nepal (he says history has proved that a lot of big companies in the world are the ones who started right after a big war /civil war.)

b) Hydro Power and agriculture are fields he would personally invest in anytime.

c) wants a group of young professionals to start things off. and Old investors like him, are ready to back young group of capable professionals to start business (again, he sees lots of opportunities).

d) wants young people to dive in to the nepali market where anything and everything is up for grabs right now, and everything can be innovated. His idea of biggest social service in Nepal is to give fair employment to as many Nepalis as possible. He hires about 900 people right now, and planning on employing about 50,000 people directly in retail and agriculture business.

e) Patience. Min waited 9 years before he turned his small grocery store into a retail store.

f) Honesty. Min emphasizes entrepreneurship is about relationships. Therefore honesty is a must specially in matters of money. Have a honest relationship with your financial institutions, your creditors, debtors, co-workers, employees.

g) share. If you share much, you gain in business in Nepal.

h) Bhatbhateni is coming to a area near you (big expansion plans)


Monday, February 23, 2009

Maha Shivaratri!

It's yet another holiday in Nepal...Shiva Ratri.

Everyone is at Pashupatinath, temple of Lord Shiva - god of destruction and salvation. The usual rituals of puja and fasting are carried out along with another VERY special act - the smoking of the ganja weed. Hashish is now illegal in Nepal but on this day it is everyday. Sorry I missed witnessing this!

The street of my summer guesthouse, Freak Street, is named after the time when Westerners flocked to Kathmandu to openly get high and hang out. The good ole days, I guess...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

One of the jobs I've been handed on this mission is to make sure the world has a well-rounded view of life in today's Nepal.

Yes, Nepal is home to Everest and temples and quaint villages.
Yes, Nepal is home to political unrest, development inertia, and 36,000 NGOs.
Yes, Nepal is home to saris, momos, milk tea and daal bhat.

But Nepal is also home to innovation, intelligence and just plain fun.

The young people of Nepal like to party just like the rest of us and as evidence check out this website:

Party on, Nepal!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Many of you know that I view some of the NGO activity in Nepal with a jaundiced eye.

There is, however, a very good organization working on women's empowerment - CEDPA. CEDPA = The Centre for Development and Population Activities. CEDPA has been helping women prepare to participate in the constitution writing and the new government in Nepal for the last two years. A Women and the Constitution workshop was held in February 2008 and the participants were inspired to form WomenACT (Women Acting Together for Transformative Change.)The WomenACT network has 36 NGO members working together to disseminate information and collaborate on the constitution-writing process.

In September, the group authored an important document to inform the crafting of the new constitution: A Charter for Women's Rights: Ensuring Equality through the Constitution in Nepal. The document is being used to hold the new government's feet to the fire during the writing of the new constitution.

If anyone can implement a powerful agenda for women it's this group. Go WomenAct Nepal!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The people of Nepal are good at many things but one thing they are VERY skilled at is making fun of their ridiculous government.

Now there is a facebook group that pokes fun at loadshedding. Here's their tongue-in-cheek approach to the ridiculousness of the current situation in Nepal.

Description: This is a global group of people who are fan of the loadshedding and enjoying the free time of 82 hrs in a week provided by the Nepal Electricity Authority. I am feeling proud to be in this group and want to congratulate all the fans of loadsheeding who are able to create 108 hrs free time in a week inspite of their busy routine.

To join this group, following criteria must be fullfilled.
1. Time spend in sleeping i.e. 108 hrs in a week is not enough.
2. Suffering from irritation due to the direct contact of the beam of light produced from bulb and tubes with the skin.
3. Suffering from serious Ear disease in which ears can't bear sounds from radio, music player and other electrical appliances as electric motor, vaccum cleaners and so on.
4. Eyes can not bear moving pictures in Televisions and computers....
5. Must have tradition of having Candle Night dinner every night.
6. Must have mobile which when called is replyed by a girl who always says one thing....'swithced off'.
7. Must have email ID which sends auto reply from Post Master.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fortunate I am. I have heard Kutumba live - twice! They have a Facebook page with links to their music so go have a listen.

Quoting from their website (because they say it much more eloquently than i ever could):
"Committed to the research, preservation and celebration of the diversity that exists in indigenous Nepali music, Kutumba firmly believes that the richness in Nepali music is directly significant of the rich diversity that exists in the Nepali people. At a time when political and social attention is trained on recognizing differences and ensuring rights for our diverse groups of people, Kutumba sees the possibility of finding respect and identity through the medium of our indigenous music art forms.

As we struggle with this unique time period when we are looking inwards and fighting for rights, we also struggle with the larger forces of globalization when our youth find themselves exposed to global cultures packaged attractively by television and the media.

Between wanting to be the next big rock star and the pressures at home on asserting yourself culturally to be ‘more’ Nepali Kutumba feels now is a good time to reach out to young Nepalis and encourage them to find value, dignity and joy through the creative and stabilizing energy and beauty of their unique music art forms."