This third panel discussion of CEO Unplugged 2019 organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. was Practice of Skill Based Education. The panelist exchanged views on how Nepalese education lacks with the practical curriculum and drew attention over the need of soft skills in youth to be employable in the market.
CEO Unplugged 2019 is a yearly forum organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. comprising series of panel discussion to establish a forum to discuss about contemporary business challenges, opportunities and futuristic view with a sight of experiential learning to the new comers in the business and students with an objective “Today Meets Tomorrow“.
The third panel discussion comprised of panelist; Saurabh Jyoti, the Director of Jyoti Group; Ms. Diptee Acharya, the Director of Sanskriti International School; Samir Thapa, CEO of Silver Mountain and moderator; Udgam Khadka, Education Designer at King’s College..
Udgam Khadka interrogated these specialists about what skills do students require in this 21st century to make themselves sellable in the market today. He also asked them the possible roles and responsibilities of concerned stakeholders in developing an advanced and industry-centric curriculum for the students.
Diptee Acharya, the Director of Sanskriti International School
First of all, we need to understand what is education. Education is like a ship that takes you to the port. You want a beautiful life, a successful life. Where we go wrong is we are forgetting the fact that this is 21st century. We are not taking people out to work in the factory. We need to know what is education and most of the people think that if you aspire a good academic background, it takes you to a successful life.
It’s more about critical thinking, communication, empathy, how to cope with stress, emotions, interpersonal skills. These are the soft skills that we are looking at. And that’s what WHO talks about, every child needs these skills to succeed in life. You can talk about critical thinking, you can talk about creativity, You can talk about decision making, problem solving. So schools now, providing these skills, are you able to go and provide these skills to your students so that they can go and make themselves available in the market? So I think we should focus on those skills.
Nepal is in an entire need of skilled based education in Nepal. What happens is the desire is low but the demand is high. So the learners, parents , society, they need to think that am I only ready for the world because of my academic caliber? Or is it the soft skills that will take me to forward? So until and unless there is a small change in the mindset of the people, this is not going to change.
Of course, the government holds a big role here because they are the policy makers. If we see the statistic of how many people leave the country, we see that they are the lower start of people with less academics. So what we feel is if we have the higher degree, we are much more higher in the society. But we don’t think that skills is more important. Whenever we are making curriculum, in my schools also, we have to think in different manner. Before, we use to think what kind of activities should we do so that our students can learn fractions. But now what we have to think is that is fraction really needed to develop resilience and perseverance in my students? Now we need more deep thinkers. We need thinkers who can think what kind of jobs is needed in the market tomorrow.
One thing that I want to add here is as Saurav said, we are in a digital era right now. Thing are changing so fast that you will be surprised in next 5-10 years, AI is going to take over. Are you prepared for that and are you prepared for it? When we think about the AI Robots, oh they are going to come and they are going to rule over but that is not the case. What’s going to happen is we are going in hand in hand. So, we need to understand how we are going to have interpersonal skills with the Robots with the AI.
The lady in black asked about Rukum and we are really worried because its just 0.2 percent in Nepal who are studying in private school, not even 2%. So can you imagine? 99.8% of people are lacking in the skill. They all have mobiles in their hands and the person is not educated, we can see the technologies are taking such lead. So it is going to take even more than we mark. Are we prepared for that? And now government really has to focus on changing the curriculum and what our parents needs to understand that we are not supposed to go behind our marks. If I ask my parents,” Will you let your child become a teacher?” “No!” ” Are you going to let your child become a carpenter?” “ No!” You really need to change that mindset. Until and unless we don’t change our mindset from all of us, then change is not going to come. There is a big question mark there.
Saurabh Jyoti, Director of Jyoti Group
The first thing that struck me was the statistics of literacy rate. The data shows the literacy rate of Nepal around 65%. Is that good? Bad? I think it’s terrible. That data is absolutely correct but that data is absolutely wrong when it comes to industrial perspective because if you have the literacy rate of 65%, the employability rate will be less than 80 percent.when it comes to them securing the jobs based on their academic qualification. So 68% fine! But what does it translate when they into the job market and they want to get the job? The MBA graduates can get a job of 200 $ instead of 6-700$ because the skills set don’t match. So you need to look employability relatively to the data. So what happens when I interview someone, I never look at their academic qualification. I look how is the personality of the person. What are the soft skills he possesses? Those are more important.
And secondly, over 70-60% people I employ, I need to retrain them to integrate them in a specific job and responsibility that he has t look after. Be it the factory manager or whether it is in a top managerial position. So the time I need to reorient, retrain these people, is loss of productivity. And I am sure, this is the similar case with every big companies. So much time is wasted which is considered to be one of the most important resources. By losing that time, we are losing the productivity. So that is something that is extremely worrying for me. What I feel is that there is a serious mismatch. Its like I am riding a motorbike, my glove’s size is medium and I am getting XXL size.
Therefore, this need to be matched, whether with Education Ministry, PABSON so that we can directly employ the 68% people as the facts say. We have been talking with KU, KUSOM that there need to be a regular interaction academic institutions and the employers as sectors wise so that what skills are required for the students who graduate from them. At some level, on the individual basis, some companies are working with various institutions like KUSOM, ACE but that’s just a few. We need to do this on a national level. Not just at the private sector but at the government level because 90% of the students study in government schools and colleges. So at mass level, government level, there must be the coordination between employers and educational institution so that the rate of employability of the graduates is much more higher.
Just pick an example, ah let’s say one of the motorcycle company, they prepare a hashtag with certain technology. That technology is invented in the market for quite few times. It is the modern changes here and there if somebody gets skilled on that particular part and he can continue his career for certain time. Let’s say, 10 years of time, 12 years of time then the new technologies come and the entire changes of technologies comes, he get chance to adopt into that because if you are skilled for one level, you have always opportunity to next level. So, now technologies are based on foundation right. There is no like rocket science technologies happen in our daily life. So the risk after I see is less than what do you expect.
Samir Thapa, CEO of Silver Mountain
First of all we need to understand that there are two types of education in the country. One that starts with class 1 to the university level that’s more of academic. Than we have the vocational education that offers by the CTVT. If you see the number of schools, CTVT has large number of schools. But what we have seen is that there is a huge gap. The gap is, we all are in the race to promote and sell our degrees. Either in the better ways, or in the bad ways. We have to forget this race and come to the point that what our industries needed. The biggest challenge, the biggest gap, what we have seen is that our curriculum is not industry driven. This is the biggest challenge. All the academicians make very good curriculums, add fancy values, they always think that this curriculum is sellable and will be recognized in all over the world. We have to stop this race and should understand what the industry requires. Our academicians, curriculum developers, from all the big universities of Nepal and individual colleges like us, we have to focus on developing industry driven education.
In last 15 years, providing this vocational educations , what we have realized is that we started getting the people, we started awarding the people with different education level, but the biggest challenge what we have faced is that why our graduates are not getting jobs. This is the common scenario here. We have lots of people like you who has got the bachelor’s and master’s degree. But when they go to the industries, why you are not accepted. The reason is you are not skilled. We don’t have lack of degrees over here, MBA degree or bachelor’s degree doesn’t teach you how to handle a telephone. Only the skills training does that. This is the biggest gap what we have seen. We had a long discussions with all stakeholders of Nepal and abroad. What they need is that they need someone who can just jump on their chair, understand the overall intentions, get the orientations, adapt the situation and run the responsibility. How to perform the job is more important to the employer than to know what degree you have.
I want to ask the students over here, what will you do to your degree after 5 years? After graduation, you keep it on the wall and after 5 years, you forgot, After some point of time, you will throw that piece of paper in the cupboard or places like that. What actually is recognized is the skills that you have. We have to think in a different way. No parents want their children to be carpenter and has a certificate of 6 months. As a carpenter also, he wants to see his children with the degree of bachelors. That’s the mindset that we have got. It has to be changed in a policy. Like in foreign countries, there are vocational degrees like there is academic degrees here. Once the person reach the certain level of the vocational training there is the outlet for him that he can jump for the academic program and get awarded with the degree. But this is not happening in Nepal. But lately, Government of Nepal has come up with an entity named NVQS Nepal Vocational Qualifications Standard. I hope this policy will be passed by Nepal government as soon as possible , so that the people who has got the skills to go in the vocational training, can get their bachelors degree, they don’t have to drop their skills.
There are places like Rukum where students are still struggling for basic education due to lack of schools and teachers. So, how can we ensure overall educational development of these people?
On the other hand , is education and skill gone really expensive? I mean the monthly fees of the education institution is really high and it is like rising day by day. But the economy of the parents has not raised. The next question is, there are so much institutes that have been giving skills and again they are so expensive. For example, I was looking for a camp for my litter sister who is in class nine and for 3 days, it costs around 7-8 thousand rupees. So, does that also impact on not having skills?
Likewise, in our country, there are lots of children who do not pursue higher education because their parents cannot afford. So, do you think there should be a mechanism of providing equal amount of quality in all these institutes despite of the money these parents can afford?
Saurabh Jyoti: Thank you for the question. Technologies has made the process of education much more easier. If you see, most of the people have smartphones in their hand. So, now the geography doesn’t matters if you use these technologies to access education. You can learn anywhere, anytime with best teachers all around the world.
The cost of education depends on intellectual education and practical education. Intellectual education always cost high. The reason is it is always based on research. Either the research happens for the 1 class kids or the research is happening for the master level students. Because the intellectual work is going on there. The practical work which is base for the skill that last for long time. The changes for the practical remains for some time. We have to understand one thing. As a educator, as a researcher or as academician you know we need industry we need terms of business. We need the well practice to any kind of business. So, that these people need us so education must follow the industry and service so the education and the services. Once the process is into the system that we follow them then we segregate the intellectual education and practical educations. So you cannot stop the cost of intellectual educations because its individuals efforts and individual research to get the outcome of that particular educations.
The final panel discussion emphasized on the need of practical educations and skills to make students employable in the market. It also highlighted the need of upgraded curriculum to ensure quality education in Nepal.
This second panel discussion of CEO Unplugged 2019 organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. was Business Coalition for SDGs.
There is a huge role of private sector in making the SDGs happen but so far, this has not been spelled out and it is important that we place a high priority in involving businesses in development efforts. This panel discussion make the audience understand that the private sector is as an engine of growth which indeed is an intent that the private sector can contribute to the SDGs.
CEO Unplugged 2019 is a yearly forum organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. comprising series of panel discussion to establish a forum to discuss about contemporary business challenges, opportunities and futuristic view with a sight of experiential learning to the new comers in the business and students with an objective “Today Meets Tomorrow“.
The second panel discussion comprised of panelist; Ambuj Singh, the Country Manager of Coca-Cola Nepal; Anukool Bhatnagar, the CEO and MD. of Nepal SBI Bank; Renaud Meyer, Country Director of UNDP; Sudhakar Jayaram, CEO at Nepal Mediciti Hospital and moderator; Asish Thakur, ED. of Glocal Pvt. Ltd.
Asish Thakur started the discussion by raising a question on how SDGs can influence and can be influenced by businesses. The panel covered the discussion on the following SGD goals: Health and Wellbeing (Goal 3), Clean water and Sanitation (Goal 6), Affordable and Clean energy (Goal 7), Decent work and Common Growth (Goal 8), Sustainable cities and Communities (Goal 11), Responsible Consumption and Production (Goal 12), Life on land (Goal 15) and Partnerships for goals (Goal 17). The discussion also included the expectation of UN agencies or creator of SDGs from the businesses for getting the goals accomplished by 2030.
Renaud Meyer, Country Director of UNDP
Thank you Ashish. Even though it is a tough question to start with. Thank You for giving me a chance to talk and interact about businesses with young people. I will start with a simple statement. The SDGs won’t be achieved without the business sectors. That’s very clear as we compare MDGs and SDGs, MDGs; 8 goals created during 2000-2015 that were all social oriented issues. It was education, health, gender equality. But all these topic had been left out on the more challenging issues like good governance, climate change, corruption, and problems like who’s responsible for pollution, human rights. They were problematic issues. All these topics were left out on purpose so that we can reach a consensus among the country, so we could still work on the common agendas.
SDGs are the more ambitious agendas, also we are a business people today so, they are costly agendas. Lots of research have been done to study the price tag of achieving the goals. What is less discussed is the things that has already been done. I am not going to challenge the introduction heard from the colleagues of facts cause I don’t like to challenge even though I do. Two things, first I don’t like when I see UN SDGs. It leads to misinterpretations because I get people talking to me about,” Oh, Renaud you and your goals or what are you doing for the goals?” Actually I don’t have to do anything for the goals. I am only going to monitor as a UN person, what countries are doing because their commitment towards the goals is not the UN as an organization but members of the organization who are the member states.
I am not saying the government, I am saying members states. In a country like Nepal, government sign the papers but for whom? Its for the benefit of people and the society. Businesses have the fundamental roles to play in a society. But we always get a question what do you expect from them. Businesses are already doing enough. Who creates jobs for the society? It’s not the government and I am sure if we add your employees, your employees and your employees, we already have a large size of people who everyday go under goal no 8 ‘decent employment’. On decent employment, you pay decent wages which allows them to send their kids to school, allow good education and good health. If all of you respect your role in a society then you are already contributing to the rule of SDGs. For example, if you are a child, you go to school, achieve good grades and go to the next level. Then you are already following the strategies of SDGs. If you are a CEO at a hospital, then you provide a treatment with an affordable prices. Then you are contributing to the SDGs. By providing access to finances, you are contributing to SDGs. But that’s not enough. What you already do is not enough. It won’t be possible to make it through 2030. My message is that you have already contribute, so don’t be shy and engage. Second message is that Businesses as usual is not going to make it all it’s you who needs to pump it up and do more.
You see why I enjoy coming to the residence because 3 years before you would not hear this kind of discourse. And it’s a really credit to the business community to have adopted the SDGS as a reference for their work and they do it for basically two reasons. And they just said it in different word but I am going to say it more specifically. They do it because it is their interest. This my job to convince them that I am not doing for their pity ,or feeling sorry for the people in mountains. I am telling them SDGs is a business opportunity for you. I don’t know how long it takes to go on bus to Jhapa. Who enjoys that? Everyone wants to fly. It will increases the level of income. You have a business that is domestic airlines. They are doing it because if there community and their clients are well enough and educated with minimum income, they will not thrive because they have lesson. You cannot ask as good as you are if you don’t have a ladder to hold on or it will be difficult to borrow from a bank.
So you need something to start with and same thing imagine you need to put all the kids to the schools that is one of the targets of SDGs. Goal number 4. Well you need to have discourse. You need to have buildings, buildings need to have tiles on roof and water connected. All these represents to the person who produces windows markets. Achieving the SDGs alone is the business. And the killing point if you don’t achieve the SDGs, you are done. This is a very serious issue, the sustainability of our ecosystem is in threat. That’s why I am saying business, as usual is not the way to go. And we have to understand that every respectively. How many health care system you put out there? How cortical they are? If it is another earthquake and it is not resilient a flood out there in terai, which is coming as in its just the date we don’t know. Again all this for nothing. As we really have to see it as a package not 17, 1+1+1 but 17 yet to address all at once. Because they are all connected and they are not an option.
Ambuj Singh, the Country Manager of Coca-Cola Nepal
Thank all of you for having me here. As talking on the behalf of Business sector, we see different phases in the industry. For a long period of time, we have been engaged in some or the other activities either (CSR, charity, other various form of nickname).
Few years back, cutting a check, funding something or there were programs, but as we go along as the consumer go. These activities have become as active parts of business strategies itself. CSR is not a separate program or SDGs is not a program or project that we would want to do but SDGs integrate into the over all business sector or business operation because there needs to be someone responsible, accountable, some goals in mind ultimately that two reasons why we need to do. And I will come to the huge reason later. I think the businesses should have sustainable goals.
Anukool Bhatnagar, the CEO and MD. of Nepal SBI Bank
Good afternoon, I see lots of young faces which is really encouraging. Think yes, we need to go further and do a business strategies with these 17 SDGs goals. We have lots of strategies but I have never seen one in this form. This is a ultimate goal and yes, we are here to do something as a non profit shareholder but as a social work we are providing services to the public by putting the SDGs goals in mind. We should provide services to the large group. We implement the best of people, best of money and the best of development. It has to be Zero tolerance. To become a successful and responsible business holder one should cooperate with the social responsibilities. More the society loves us, more the business increases. If you believe in something do it, do it yourself. We do advertisement and all and in a month I save about 1-2 crore. The thing is, are we investing those money for the benefit of people who benefited us?
Sudhakar Jayaram, CEO at Nepal Mediciti Hospital
When I first saw these SDGs, I was like what’s wrong with these guys. First there were 8 MDGs and now there are 17 SDGs and then there 18 goals and now there are 100s. I can’t even remember 10 of them forget about following them. These 17 SDGs were challenges. Then I started to look at them more carefully. I must admit these SDGs fits into us and the reason it fits in us is that before 8 MDGs were all about cutting a check but In a country like Nepal we don’t need charity what we need is capacity. When we think about all these things it is always about somebody is going to give us a hand up. What these SDGs brings is collaboration, exchange of ideas, cooperation and interdependent. Especially hospitals. For example if you just look at SDG number 3 which is kind of hospital thing. I just want to talk about 2-4 things. And reminds me of something specific. No.1 if you look at the under 5 mortality rate, it is accordingly shocking. We lose 40% of children in rural areas if Nepal. More number of child face their death at the age of 5. the problem i see in Nepal especially rural Nepal is like 15 years behind then modern Nepal. 65% of Nepali people don’t have access to health care in 30 minutes and 90% 0f people have access mobile phone.
So, what we started to do was a we started building this apps, where mothers can actually monitor the minds of their child where they can know the circumference of their heads when they grow. So this is a specific way which we think we can do in a practical way. That actually help a mother in Lukla, Kailali, Dhang or Jhapa or parts of Nepal because they have access to a cell phone they are access to technology and not to health care. What I have seen in this country since I arrived is if everyone has a health problem first flight to India, a little bit more money to Thailand a little bit more money to Singapore. And there tends to be three reason in Nepal why they take the first flight out are: Number one, there are lots of doctor here who actually makes more money making a commission sending the patient out rather than practicing medicine. Number 2 reason, morbidity and mortality statistics. In our ICUs is the picture it’s 40-60%. So you won’t be scared to go to ICU in this country because you don’t have early morning science and you don’t have systems that make it safe. And finally people don’t trust diagnostics. Although it is part of SDGs because it talks about early morning sciences and mitigating risks. We are putting together programs now. Abdhullah is right, Airlines are the safest. We are the most unsafe people. You come to a hospital I guarantee you it’s the most unsafe place.
If you look at the morbidity and mortality rate, then going to a hospital is like bungee jumping. If you look at the morbidity and mortality statistics and people who did bungee jumping then we beat bungee jumping. We want to learn how we can reduce this problem. Because a pilot dies with the passenger but doctors they make money even if the patients dies in front of them.so, how do we make the doctor accountable? But the problem is I have the investors, promoters but they don’t give a damn about SDGs. They want to see the % of money the get from IRR. This planet earth needs to be left for our children. The problem is there are stakeholders planet earth, share holders, investors that it truly needs to cooperate government indicators. It needs guts to say because CSR are like HR person who does a part time job. Maybe in some large company they are like a scientists. But being a healthcare I can say SDGs fit so beautifully, nutrition, water….When organization creates a partnership everything is transparent. It makes people work together.
Audience: What is the plan for plastic free coca cola? (By Dibya Jyoti Pokhrel)
What do you do with medical waste?
Ambuj Singh- This is our global commitment. There is something we call a world without waste. By 2030 a coca cola company is globally generating less waste. Coming back to Nepal specifically what we are doing and what we will do. It was long time ago in 2040, there was a NGO called Himalayan Climate Region, they started a campaign in plastic bag. That was partnerships between HCI, Gokukarna and DIG. That is the journey, that is the commitment. We haven’t reach there yet. I am glad that you asked this question. They have even band the plastic bags. We also have plan bottle, which is not practiced in Nepal yet.it is a bottle that is like 40% of the bottle are created by biodegradable product. I am sure innovation, reusability and public knowledge is going to insure our goal of being 100% natural. I can’t stay here and win a argument with you which I might. We are working with solutions. As you will be able to see the plastics becoming lighter due to some technologies. Or re use or move to the different platform
Firstly don’t create waste, right. One thing that we started to do is we just implemented AMR. We will go paperless. Maybe in next two three months. We will put a tax for Japanese partner so we will stop getting films so people will just have to download a link. So we will make difficult and expensive to create a waste. We are also working in a plan of making a light weight software which can be used from all around the world, so that this can be done from anywhere which is really expensive an all. Some policy changing needs to be happen in this country, some of this are very cheap as they are not meeting the concern. But there are some programs which aware people.
Audience: How do we get out of negativism?
Renaud Meyer- Just want to throw it back. It’s all up to you. I have been there throwing question back. It’s easy. Don’t take it personally. There is a goal SDG 12 which is one of my favorite. It talks about sustainable production. Which is worth those gentlemen are giving example of. But it also continues and says responsible consumption and that’s where you guys fit in. When you say don’t waste you mean it. We all have are responsible for it. And it’s very easy to say it’s the responsibility of a Coca-Cola not to make plastic waste, it’s the responsibility of Turkish Airlines not to pollute, but how do they make a business if they don’t fly a plane. I mean we cannot do cycling and think that by cycling we can take off. We all have in our daily habits the responsibility as a consumer to really think through. I have learned for example, how to rescue straws from restaurant and cafe. When I go to saleways I say I don’t need your plastic bags, I wish they make me pay for them. So, I think we should all share a common responsibility and also not always waiting for something to happen medical way as UNDP. We are getting into very often I ask the director of health, they say they are waiting for the ministry to take over. Why are you waiting? If you are waiting for the ministry then wait forever. I think there need to be the force to make the strong policy but not having the policy is not an excuse to not do nothing. We have to really conscious as a individual that we are consumers.
What does these companies think that should be done in partnership. How can we create that partnership among us so that can be achieved very easily.
The panel discussion ended with the conclusion that it’s not that the private firm need to be concerned about SGGs just for the sake of their CSR, in fact they should be accountable because without SDGs, the corporate worlds seem inward-looking.
Do not add SDGs to your work, make your work support SDGs
This first panel discussion of CEO Unplugged 2019 organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. was Future of SMEs of Nepal. Addressing the challenges faced by Nepalese SMEs, the panel’s main objective was to discuss how today’s young entrepreneurs can uplift the scale of SMEs and contribute in the economic progress of the country.
CEO Unplugged 2019 is a yearly forum organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. comprising series of panel discussion to establish a forum to discuss about contemporary business challenges, opportunities and futuristic view with a sight of experiential learning to the new comers in the business and students with an objective “Today Meets Tomorrow”.
The first panel discussion comprised of panelist; Sunita Nhemaphuki, the Co-Founder of R&D Innovative Solutions; Sixit Bhatta, the CEO of Tootle; Sushma Sharma, the First Vice-President of NWC SME and moderator; Rohit Tiwari, CEO at Foodmario.
Rohit Tiwari asked these specialists about their insight of challenges for SMEs like in the field of agriculture, technology, finance and how far has Nepal been able to cope up with them during the course of time. He warmed up the discussion by adding various queries regarding the decreasing rate of country’s independency over foreign productions; correlation between HR and technological advancements and depth information on financial policies for new entrepreneurs entering the market.
Sunita Nhemaphuki, the Co-Founder of R&D Innovative Solutions
Sometimes, data is right. But do we have to believe in it or not? How data is produced is the main thing. Yes, data is showing that we are relying for ‘Sun Dekhi Noon Samma’ from other countries. But why? This is the main thing I want to ask. Because we are not organized. There is a huge gap between production and consumption pattern. See, you are in the food business. What kind of product are people demanding and what are we producing? We are producing traditional products like rice, maize and so on. But people are demanding popcorn. They are demanding pizza. Now the food habits have changed. And what product we produced are not getting the market. Because we are not able to make beautiful plate with that resources. Who can make a demanding recipe from Kodo?
On the other hand, when we talk about agriculture industry as a raw materials, it’s all about the quantity. It’s so easy to get corn from Argentina than to collect from our farmers because of our geography, transportation system and many things. So, because of easiness, the data is decreasing but if we change and see the entrepreneur-journey on this, it won’t take even one year to rise as every three months, we get returns from agriculture sector. You don’t have to wait every three years, four years like of other businesses. Sometimes in some products, you can get results in every one months. If we want to change our economy, the first thing we have to do is throw a seed. After 15 days, we will get the plant.
Likewise, let’s talk about apples. Guys, if you really demand for nepali products, then after two years, you will get nepali apples all over the country. After two years, you will get kiwi from Nepal itself. Now, what we produce is the small kiwi which we don’t like and import big ones from Netherland. So, some of our small SMEs entrepreneurs have started making those big kiwis. It’s a time to think next way. Lets not only talk about Horticulture. If we see the pig rearing, pork is the best consuming products all around the world. If we try and give small attention to this field, then we can export the pork. Another problem is the have private properties. I am from a Newari family, so whenever there are two sons, they divide their land. So the cultivable land is too small. Use of technology is necessary to improve level of production for this problem.
It’s been ten years that I am working in the agriculture sector and I believe that young entrepreneurs should focus on how they can provide market to the producers. Do you believe or not, SMEs provide 96 percent of job opportunities in Nepal. I did my degree from Bangladesh and when I was a student, people there asked me “How is it possible to be self employed by every people in Nepal? There is lots of money movement going on.” So we have to think about this issue for scaling up, then only we can stop importing many things. But if we start to work only in production, then it will be a big disaster in agriculture. See, when we see the students doing MBA discussing about what to do in agriculture, most of them think about growing plants like tomatoes. If we don’t change this kind of schooling where agriculture is linked with only production, then we will fail. Agriculture also need marketing, management and designing.
Another problem is that there is no contract farming law in Nepal. There is no strong and specific labour law or investment law in this sector. Similarly, whenever the farmers apply for the loan, they are asked for the stock and balance sheet. But for a farmer, there is no stock because they have to do the rapid sales after the production. When we pitch for the foreign or national investment, they think that agriculture is like the another industry. Set the factory and start the production. This is not true. We have to deal with various natural factors too. Agriculture is a investment consuming sector. If I ask how many of you know the agriculture, most of you will raise your hand. But, If I ask how many of you know the banking, only few of you will raise your hand. The investor should also consider agriculture to be a profitable product, a secured margin product. I request the investors to invest in big volumes and for the long terms. For last three years, there was a policy for 5% subsidy in agriculture products. So, there is more opportunities in this sectors. I want to request people like Sixit Ji and others, that this sector requires more techno entrepreneurs and commercial approach. We need management students. We need financial analysis on this.
Sixit Bhatta, the CEO of Tootle
SMEs were the concept of 70s and 80s. Let’s keep the records straight. I think we don’t have the problem with technology, but the problem with the mindset. We have the scared mindset. Therefore, I still like to challenge the topic SMEs here. Why because, traditionally, Nepal is a country where we never like to scale up. That’s why we have SMEs. You talk about tourism potentiality for last so many years since I was born, and we never scaled it up. What is the fundamental difference between Thailand and Nepal? We have more things to offer. Why is scale there and why don’t we have here? We have heard so many potentiality. Who said we have the potentiality of 83000 MW and I don’t know whether it’s true or not. But we have claimed that we have tremendous potentiality in our hydropower and have failed to scale it up. If we look at the airport, we have the same airport 30 years back with just slight increase in infrastructures. So, there is a difference between a SME which is more like a startup. You know, you are satisfied with small things like I start a hotel in Pokhara and become a SME. But the challenge here is that we have been fascinated by a dream of having a start up and not scaling that up. So we don’t have a mind set up to scale. What we can do with technology is that we can scale things. What we can do with technology in agriculture? We can scale agriculture. What we can do with technology in tourism? We can scale tourism. What we can do with technology in mobility? We can scale mobility. So it’s not about how we challenge with the technology or not.
We can build the technology because it’s the means to the end. It’s not the end itself. But what it does allow is that, it scales the things up. We all have been fascinated with this dream of making a burger. If I were to ask, and this is the narrative that I have build, how many of you can make the better burger than the McDonald’s, then I am sure that many of you can actually make burger better than McDonald’s. But making a burger better than McDonald’s and creating a McDonald’s itself is entirely two different things. And let us keep these records straight, it’s not about making one or two burgers, it’s about creating the scale. This is what I envisions for Nepal and we have so much potentiality that an scale up the things.
This uncart report for entrepreneurship and livelihood came around couple of months ago. If you look at the report, you have some interesting facts. 70% employment that is generated in the least development countries, in Nepal being one of them, is through entrepreneurship. That number decreases to 50% for the developing economies. And it’s only 14% for the developed economies. Now what does it mean? It means, we tend to confuse livelihood with entrepreneurship. So if there is a Chiyapasale who is selling Chiya, he is doing his livelihood. If there is a Chiyapasale who is opening 100 of Chiya stores, than that’s entrepreneurship which means that this number has to come down. Now why that happens? Unfortunately, we are again so fantasized and romanticized with this concept of entrepreneurship that if you are a chef in a restaurant, in a couple of years, you feel that you can open a restaurant. If you are an engineer working for a technological company, you think that I will have my own start up because I can make things better than you do. But trust me, knowing to make a burger is entirely different from running a restaurant. We need to make sure that we need to consolidate things. If there is a start up happening, agriculture happening, we need to scale thing up. Therefore I pledge, we should scale up companies. The American economy is run by Google, Amazon and Tesla. Why? Don’t you think, there would be hundreds, even thousands of employees in Tesla who could have their own startups? So our livelihood and entrepreneurship, are two different things. And that scale can also happen in agriculture. Like how?
Last couple of months, I was in Cenego, speaking in an event like this organized by UNCDF. In my panel, there was this person from JB finance, China. And there were some very interesting things coming up for agriculture. You know, the use of technology in agriculture in China has been amazing. So what they have done and what they could still do here is like AI is going to be big. So they have these cameras in bigger yields. Now unfortunately, what happens with the big farm is that there is lots of bullies happening here and there. If there is a big pig, it would eat lots of the food and rest of the pigs will not have anything to eat and will not be able to grow. So what they have done is that they have placed the cameras. And you would be surprised to know that pigs, like humans, have different faces. We won’t be able to recognize it but the AI will. What they will do is with the facial recognition algorithm, they will know which pig has eaten how much and with some kinds of robotics, they will control the pigs. Now this reduces the costs and increases the productivity. And I think in this point of time, if you see entrepreneurs and technology, technology can become a very important mean to scale up agriculture. And if you were to ask me where I would run a startup next, I would definitely put my bet on agriculture because there is so much to offer in agriculture.
Sushama Sharma, the First Vice-President of NWC SME
As for having a banking experience, I can say something on this. When I was a banker, I always wondered why SMEs, MMEs and Microfinance were charged with higher rate of interest. But now, the time has changed. Before, the government was not strong and currently, NRB has brought some policies that they have to invest in subsidies. Yesterday, I saw some government banks like Nepal Banijya Bank has come up with 3.33% interest loan for women entrepreneurs. So that is a very good initiation. And there is also another private bank coming up with the 7% loan and they are coming up with different policies like loans without collaterals also. They are bringing loans for startups and Mahila Samridhi loans. So maybe all the 27 banks and other financial institutions will come up with NRB policy that they have to invest 20% investment in this SMEs sector.
Today, we can get 3.3% nominal rates. Before there were complications. And what Nepal Women Chamber can do is, we are liaising with some of the banks to bring some kinds of products for women entrepreneurs in different service charges, without collateral and lower interest rates. So, we will give that platforms to our members. As a member of Nepal Women Chamber, we cannot give the loan but we do the liaison work with the banks.
Associating with Sixit Ji and Sunita Ji, we are not able to supply immediately what is demanded. Scale up! This is very important for the Nepal, you know. Recently one thing happened in Nepal Women Chamber too, some foreigners are offering us to send some proposals but we are getting just 12 applications and those SMEs don’t have any websites because of which, it’s difficult for us to introduce them in the global market. First you have to think whether you want to sell your product for NRs. 100 in local market or $100 in international market and scale up accordingly.
Currently, Women Chamber has 100 entrepreneurs and what I have found with the experience of banking is that, there is lots of gap between entrepreneurs and banks. So, we are trying to bridge that gap. For employment generation, all SMEs, MMEs and Microfinance play a vital role. If we see the GDP of the service sector, it is increasing but in other sectors, the GDP is declining. So, we have to be focused and the government should come up with some strategies regarding subsidy as well as technical support.
While scaling up, how SMEs can have a proper management with factors like finance?
Sixit Bhatta: When you start up, you start with the energy of youths. But when you scale up, you need structures. You rightly asked that there is a challenge while moving up from a startup to scale up. Scale up requires more focus, more constitutionalized procedures that can make the organization more resilient because when you scale up, you grow. When you grow, there are so many notes that you hit in terms of regulations, accounting, finance, marketing and things like that. So as the company moves from startup to scale up, it moves from speed boat to big ship. And there is a challenge. When you become a big ship, you become more bureaucratic. Therefore, as a leader, entrepreneur, what you have to do is you need to have a big ship with Gevity. That is a management practice. That requires innovations. That requires structures, how things are done.
There is another challenge in Nepal. Unfortunately, we have lots of influence on startups from development agencies; multilateral and bilateral, because the model of philanthropy and NGOs is almost over for them. Therefore, they want to have their foothold in startup because that’s what trending. That can also lead to a death trap for start ups because like I said, making a burger and creating a Mcdonald’s. Now what these agencies do, is they will let you make a burger and write a report on how burger is made, rather than helping them to scale up the companies. So, we are at a very vulnerable stage about how we should play our cards. Therefore to scale up, creating structures, creating process is important and meantime it’s really important to be focused.
If we could widespread agriculture in terms of organic farming, will it be more challenging or beneficial for the economy?
Sunita Nhemaphuki: There is always a debate on how we should drive our agriculture. Whether to produce organically or IPM. The thing is whether we have the market for that or not. In agriculture, you need to see the marketing in the opposite way what you studied in the university. You need to make first market, tie up with the producers, and go down with production. So market is a must.
The panel discussion vocalized the importance of scaling up the SMES and incorporating it with technologies to create a better economy and employability rate.
This third panel discussion of CEO Unplugged 2018 organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. was ‘Application of Knowledge: Challenge in Today’s Business’. The panel was aimed to showcase the challenge that is harnessing the knowledge of simple ideas in the current businesses scenario. These ideas have let a path of coherent and productive way in business. With a sidelined view towards the main aim, this panel conversed about the thematic areas of skills one requires to grow in life and influence of skill in the life of a certain individual.
CEO Unplugged is a yearly forum organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. comprising series of panel discussion where we try to establish a forum to discuss about contemporary business challenges, opportunities and futuristic view with a sight of experiential learning to the new comers in the business and students with an objective “Today Meets Tomorrow“.
The panel discussion comprised of panelist; Chhaya Sharma, Chairperson at NCTTM, Richard Howard, Country Director at ILO, Sambridhi Gyawali, Executive Director at Nepal Republic Media, Sishir Khanal, CEO at Teach for Nepal and moderator; Asish Thakur, Executive Director of Glocal Pvt. Ltd.
Thakur commenced the panel by showcasing the audience an influential video of skills. He conversed on the current scenario of the Nepali market that is need of skilled manpower and the ongoing brain drain in Nepalese youths. He mentioned, “We have 600 new openings of job each day. On one hand the job market is in need of employees and in the other hand people tell that they are lacking jobs in the country.”
Linking this aspect of job scenario and application of knowledge in the country, Thakur initiated the panel by prompting one such skills these veterans have learnt and have applied in their current work. The panel quenched the queries of the things they look for in their employees, about their views on the curriculum of the country and theme of the skills in Nepal.
Chhaya Sharma, Chairperson at NCTTM
I cannot say a particular skill but the emotion I have into what I am doing today is because I believed in education and mixed this education with the potential of my country, i.e. tourism. So, that is how my sentiment of mixing tourism and education let me to start Nepal’s first tourism management college in Nepal at a higher level. So, that was the emotion that drove me to do what I am today.
I would consider attitude as the first priority when it comes to hiring people. Secondly, I would look up to the person’s body language. I am very particular about the body language a person showcases. When I meet a person for the interview, if the person doesn’t reflect a proper body language I wouldn’t hire him/her because the body language of a person speaks about the overall attitude of the person and if he/ she is willing to learn.
I would consider age as another factor while hiring people. When you talk to an individual in the interview you can know how needy the person is for the job. People should know about their job specific details. The fact is how willing you are to do things.
The word ‘Hospitality’ speaks for itself. It speaks on the skill sets you need to develop. Of course, there is this curriculum and you have to study and pass the examination. I don’t much focus on the curriculum because any student will learn to pass the curriculum. Besides that, there are skills an individual must possess.
What I see now lacking is that we have become so commercial in all our behavior, ink our feelings and living that we have forgotten the basic human value. We forget the word ‘respect’ and especially I think this is a phenomenon trending in younger people. I am not pointing out this thing as a generation gap because I am a woman of 21st century myself. I believe in change, independence but not independent to such an extent that I forget words like respect, the human values and inclusiveness. I would want my students to develop quality of empathy. Besides the curriculum the other qualities we render to our students is how to respect other human beings and retain our values. We don’t need to copy the culture of the West. We still can develop and foster our emotions, culture and retain in the hospitality management.
One thing we have to understand is that why do we always wait on the government to do everything. When we talk about education the government spends so much of budget in education. I would not say the highest budget is allocated to the education sector but the amount that is allocated drains on wasting 80 percent to the salary of educationalist. What about the infrastructure, quality of the curriculum. Instead of always bickering and pointing private schools and institutions, the government should raise the level of government schools to the level of private schools so that the private schools will close down themselves. The students going to government schools also have a right to good education. The government has not been able to ash the private schools to work hand in hand with government schools. In the policy level, these are some of the things that need to be advocated.
Sambridhi Gyawali, Executive Director at Nepal Republic Media
When we talk about skills, I think whatever I have learnt till date it is soft skills that really make a person. One thing that I have learnt throughout these years is time management skills. Since I was a kid, I have been taught about how to manage things and prioritize stuffs. So, I think these soft skills are really important for me to progress.
One of the things we really look into people who we want to work is, whether the person aligned to the vision of the company. As we are a media house, we are different than any other business house of the country. The responsibilities we carry towards the society is certainly higher. So, this is something we look into. Secondly, the individual should be very technical in terms of their job aspects. If I am hiring a journalist, the person should possess journalistic skills in him/her. They should be able to understand the new changes in the media landscape as well. So, those are the very job- specific things we look into individuals and differs from positions of the job.
In these past 4-5 years of my experience in media I have conversed with veteran media person. They mentioned that years ago when they opened up a vacancy for a single job, at least 800-900 journalist would apply. But now when we look into the scenario, only 5-10 people apply for the vacancy. These people lack right skills and attitude we require. This is actually concerning for the media industry as a whole. Today media as a whole is facing a lot of challenges because we are no longer in the traditional way of communicating. We have transformed from writing news in a paper into typing it, going to television broadcasting to digital space and now into social media handles. So, communicating these types of information becomes very difficult and it does demand a lot of techniques about how to array these aspects. It is of course alarming for us. Rightly said about the lack of media colleges in Nepal. Although Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University have a media programs none of them have coordinated with any media houses into showing news room or how practical work is actually done. Lot of students that we get for journalism should be trained to write an editorial. It’s the curriculum that has not taught them about the practical knowledge. I feel that it’s not journalism as per say, other industries and institutions should initiate skill-based learning. We do have CTEVT that conducts vocational training but it’s more about being generic. You really need to nail skills to become competent.
So, we are starting with our own media institute very soon. We will be teaching these graduates on changing media spaces and how to produce news in an integrated newsroom because now it’s not about writing news for tomorrow’s paper. I am working with CTEVT to develop set of skills for bringing a justice to the media industry.
Sishir Khanal, CEO at Teach for Nepal
There are so many skills we learnt throughout our schooling, university education. But one mindset I find it important in my life which had a profound effect on me during my orientation in the US. One of the professors told us, “We don’t teach you content of the book but we’ll teach you how to learn.” This attitude of how to learn has been very important in my life.
When we hire people, we want people to know the technical aspect of the job and then about the whole job in general. We would also look if the candidate applying for the job could do the work he would be allocated and undermine if the candidate has some level of technical capacity to perform the job.
As we are a non-profit organization, a big factor for us is a ‘mission fit’. When we get applications we consider if the person is aligned to the mission of our company and the willingness to learn. Each job comes with challenges and there is so much to learn from the context. A lot of people come, thinking that they know everything and it becomes very hard to work with people who already know so much. So, willingness to work becomes a big factor and problem-solving skills is an important aspect. One of the big things we say to the challenges in Teach for Nepal is- We need to figure it out!
In Nepal, most of the students pursuing undergraduate studies are involved in- education and management. Nepal’s most talented people and young graduates never choose education as a career because of the mindsets. If you gain distinction and first division there are two streams you ought to go, i.e. engineering or management. If people barely pass their SLC they are said to take education as their major subject in high schools and bachelor level. Most of these people are from the rural areas and they have led an underprivileged life. In one side we have a problem of not finding quality individuals on the other hand side we have masses of unqualified people willing to have a job.
People like us who are privileged we have many options but those people don’t have the choice. We started Teach for Nepal to ensure that those 6 million kids who are going to community schools also have the same opportunities like you and I have.
Richard Howard, Country Director at ILO
I think people should have two types of skills in them. The first is critical thinking and its not just learning concepts from the book. Learning concepts from books is important, we all need to do that during our life. Most of the things I learnt were from my work and they were not learnt from school. The question is how you apply those concepts in your work and are you the kind of person who can take those concepts and say ‘‘Hey! This doesn’t quite work for Nepal. It’s actually different.’’ So, you’re always criticizing, thinking around the concepts and using them, modifying them and shaping them for our work. That’s a great skill people can learn.
The other skill is clarity of thought. If you go and listen to people do interviews you will find that some people prepare so much for the interview that they know everything about the company including the market plan to the 10 year market data. But, there is just so much detail coming out that these people have not shaped a story in what they are trying to say. The thing whatever you are doing can you shape a clear logical story that only brings in the most useful information.
When we hire people we first look into the attitude of the person. I am really attracted to someone who shows up with bright attitude. This shows that they really want to be on your team and they are optimistic about the world. So many people can be so critical about Nepal about the government, infrastructure, roads. But these optimistic people see beyond difficulties and see a way forward. Believe it or not, when you are the boss of the company people will criticize you. I find it a hard time to work with someone who fries your brain. When you need short, clear and incisive information they overwhelm you by giving too much exaggerated details. Know your stuff and be able to communicate with a positive attitude.
There is a social and economic hierarchy in every country but it is pronounced a bit more in Nepal and you see the best of the best in Nepal. You see people of economics, social security and lot others in Nepal. I am blown away by the way the minds of Nepalese who work in private and government sector of Nepal. The only challenge in Nepal is the lack of quality education.
When we talk about education which is important spiritual education or material education?
Chhaya Sharma: If you are to ask me, I think both are important. In order to gain material education, you require spiritual education. Spiritual education helps you know and value human beings. Nowadays we talk about stress management. It’s because we are running and moving in such fast pace for our works. Certain spirituality is needed to slow you and calm you down. When you are peaceful and calm then only you can think properly and if you are not joyful inside what you have cannot be delivered. In order for your well-being you need spiritual education then you will attain material education to new heights.
Sambridhi Gyawali: In today’s world it’s not about either or or. It is more about the balance act. As long as you can hit the balance right personally, that’s where you excel.
Sishir Khanal: I don’t see any duality in both of these educations. I remember visiting a rural area of the country and asking parents of the kids, “What do you want your kids to become after they accomplish in their academics?” Lot of these parents told that they wanted their kids to be become ‘happy and good’. I think these two things are the true point of education. ‘Happy and good’ both carries the essence of materialistic and spiritual elements. There is materialism because you need some physical aspects to be happy. The point of education is to prepare young people for life, to prepare for workplace and become an engaging citizen of the country. Life has personal and professional element.
Why there is only theoretical knowledge in Nepal and not practical approach knowledge?
Chhaya Sharma: In Nepal there are schools that have initiated progressive education. The progressive education includes practical application of the cultures they learn in books. We need life skills that will help us in life. The curriculum needs to focus on this.
The final panel discussion invited an essence of the spirit that Nepalese youth are lacking as well as the prospects they have in the field of Nepalese job market. The experience shared by the panel was a worth to watch and listen.
This second panel discussion of CEO Unplugged 2018 organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. was Business Adaptation – Changing Nepal. The panel was to discuss in the certainty and predictability ruled in the country through the insight of Boomers Leaders tapping the economic development change in Nepal. Discussing on the major bottleneck for Nepal to achieve higher levels of economic growth.
CEO Unplugged is a yearly forum organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. comprising series of panel discussion where we try to establish a forum to discuss about contemporary business challenges, opportunities and futuristic view with a sight of experiential learning to the new comers in the business and students with an objective “Today Meets Tomorrow“.
The panel discussion comprised of panelist; Chandra Dhakal, Chairman of IME Group, Joseph Silvanus, CEO at Standard Chartered Bank Nepal, Puneet Varshney, MD at Bottler’s Nepal, Dr. Upendra Mahato, Founder of Mahato Group of Industries and moderator; Anil Chitrakar, President at Siddhartnic.
In his opening remark, Chitrakar mentioned, “It is not an irony when you generally say Nepalese are comfortable with change, but then businesses is about change. But when you talk about change to people who inherently seek comfort it is not an easy thing to understand. How many of you believe that most of the products/opportunities that you see today is because something changed? And how many of you think we don’t need to change certain things, like learning English? Now, this is very important to understand that businesses are created because there is change.”
Chitrakar opined that the discussion of the panel could bring the best out of how the audience could take advantages of certain changes to start the businesses but which changes are completely not necessary in a business. He asked these veteran entrepreneurs on how do they want young people to think about change, how do they adapt to change, their plans on initiating change in the enterprise, turn their failures into lessons, resistance to changes and preparation of change that leads them ahead of their time.
Jospeh Silvanus, CEO at Standard Chartered Bank Nepal
“Change is a constant. Even in my organization people who get their comfort zone, there’s no place for them. When the rate of change of an organization internally is slower than the environmental change, the organization loses in the short time. So, we have got to change faster than the environment itself.
For financial intermediate space- fresh axioms and no surprises. You have to manage surprises and you got to be ahead of curve. For us, a client stays longer who has more products and gives us more revenue and the question is- How do I keep a client engaged over an entire lifecycle of his banking with us?
I employ young people who are aspirational. The longer you stay with me, you will learn and grow with the organization as well as the corporate culture. You will be handling all our clients and you will be the ambassador of the entire bank. Therefore, people power is inside us. If I invest in you and you grow in your career, you will handle my clients. This is the simple truth for me to stay ahead of the game.
Today between banks and institutions and financial intermediation space there’s no difference in the products we offer. The differentiation is the brand and people who manage the brand with style, consistency and every moment with customer care delight.
I think there is no harm in failing as long as you learn from it. For us this is important that you realize that there is difference between creating a wage and salary and wealth creation. So, this is where I am going into the core area of my finance. This country needs wealth creation and it needs wealth creation in all your hands. It’s different from earning a salary because your propensity to spend is 92 cents according to the facts and statistics of the country’s economy.
How do you save? You have got to change your behavior. You have to think about tomorrow. If you end up spending what you get today and tomorrow in the country having sales and investments rate of 7 percent, what does it offer to the country’s capital formation in a medium and long term?
So, for me it’s very important for me to see that my staffs are savers. Then I can portray to the larger public and you people here about saving being very important.”
Puneet Varshney, MD at Bottler’s Nepal
“Change is something that has been spoken till death like, change is constant and one should change within time. This has evoked a lot of theories, lot of good thought and debate as well as a lot of funny jokes around what change is all about. I think it is important for every organization and especially for organizations like ours.
We manage the biggest brand in the world, i.e. Coca- Cola and for a brand to stay contemporary and still be rooted in a manufacturing process is especially tricky. The most challenging aspect of the job is that the world will change, whether you like it or not and if you can change in line with the world is when you stay relevant.
One has to understand that there will always be failures. There is no environment, there is no business situation or there is no personal life situation for that pattern where there won’t be failure. So, there is going to be failure in everything you do. The question is what you learn from that. Every failure adds to experience for sure. For us as a company or as a business, we like to stay focused on a consumer than a customer. We spend a lot of time and energy going through our consumers. So, we believe if we can get that right, the rest of it can be structured. So, if the consumers are changing either because of technology or what they believe in then our enterprise changes and follow it quickly.
Often people take entrepreneurship as different from corporate life. The biggest challenge for corporates is how we get our associates to think as entrepreneurs. It is a concept which is not devoid of each other. It is not a family structure vs. a corporate structure or a non-entrepreneur vs. an entrepreneur. Every person to succeed in business must have a spirit of entrepreneurship. It means if a corporate structure can actually challenge that spirit in a manner that gives you the best chance of success, then that’s where you are able to make it to the best.
Every corporate will probably laugh to know when the employee will think like an entrepreneur because what entrepreneurship means is change. What entrepreneurship means is the ability to predict what will happen and ability to understand how that will impact your own business products and services and how to make money in that. Therefore, if you are able to understand what’s happening, channel the process and make money out of that process then you will be successful.
One must understand a fact that the people who generally are at senior levels in any organization or in society in general, there is something that has given them success and that success has let them to the top of the organizational structure. It is difficult for those seniors to believe that what they have got them to the success will lead them to success in the next ten years. So, whatever I have learnt in these 10 years is not necessarily the company needs to be in the next ten years. Therefore, building organization is a change. This something that doesn’t come naturally to you and so does that happen to every other person in the company. Nobody likes change because you are always comfortable and confident in what you know. So, that is what brings you to the important value culture of the organization culture, i.e. are we able to encourage people do new things differently and make them safe in the belief that it’s okay.
The best organizations I hear about or I have worked with have always said that, “Look its okay to do things that are different.” In fact these enterprises would reward you for doing that. These ideas are not just radical or random. It is a well-known in marketing circles, when you start a new business idea, you can’t go to a consumer or a customer and ask that customer what do they want. You can’t go to somebody and say, “What should I give you?” because consumers don’t know in advance what they need. But when you present them with an idea they can’t say what they like or not. So, you have to understand what the customer is saying, take that, have an internal process to build ways to adjust those customer’s needs. Get your team to have that mindset. This is not just applicable in any product launch, be it area of business operation or while dealing with vendors.
Every year new theories come in a business, but vandalizing principles always remain the same, i.e. let’s look at doing better tomorrow than what we’re doing today. It is always the overlook at the small steps that bring development.
To the youths of tomorrow, often we get where Nepal is and what we’re doing right and what we’re not doing right. There’s enough problem around us which makes us think, “Hey! Where are we going? And What will happen?” I hear a lot of people saying, “My future is outside Nepal or when I finish this course I am going outside.” The point is you have to create opportunity in Nepal. So, there is a lot of opportunity here because here we don’t need to go through the cycles as developed countries went through. We have the advantage of a leapfrogging technology. In technology we are not behind the world.
You must have read how Nepal is planning to put its own satellite and therefore those are things which fire the imagination and convinces others that we are among the best. That’s something we must never forget-never ever!”
Dr. Upendra Mahato, Founder at Mahato Group of Industries
About the change, everybody is changing. Change is related to everybody, in everything and in every sense. So, change makes us grow. When you are confident that there is change and change is in your mind, you will be changed.
I am overwhelmed to witness such enthusiastic mass of young generation. When we talk about change there comes innovation. Innovation is local and product is global. Most of these innovations commence through the developing countries because in the search of opportunity to do something our minds have learnt to sharpen themselves. But this innovation must have a continuity and for this we need to establish some cultures.
For instance, in Nepal there’s a system of ‘Once you hire a person you can’t fire him/her’. This is the biggest problem of Nepal. If we want to fire someone from the job, then we must go to different channels to plead. But if the employee wants to leave, he/she can leave the job in a second. If we really want to develop the country we need to eradicate this culture.
Take risk. Entrepreneurship whether minimal or extensive, is about taking risk. You can initiate you own enterprise. The more society has people of small and medium background, the more it is stable. You are the generation who can make this stability happen. The government will provide you with 40-50 percent employment, the rest percent of employment you have to create yourself.
If anyone knew how to put the business in a right track, then most successful entrepreneurs would be professors of Harvard and Oxford University. They have been teaching all their lives about how to become prosperous, how to manage the business. But, you the one who learns it and applies it pragmatically becomes more successful than them.
Nepal provides opportunities as one can invest in many enterprises. Statistics is a relative thing but your thought is always a constant. What you are thinking you should continue that. If you want to be successful in life, you should act with honesty and labor.
Culture should be changed by evolution and economy should also be changed by evolution. When you are thinking about something and planning to do something, think and plan by closing your eyes and do your work by opening your eyes. That is your change.
In life, change happens by some incident or situation. This incident invites new changes and thinking in the life of the individual. I would like to give an insight of an example of my life. If I had the ability to treat people through the money I had, my mother would be with me today. If that night, my mother had got an access to a doctor, she could have been with me today. From that day I realized, Nepal needs a health service that didn’t let anyone’s family die untimely in the lack of treatment. Even though I am not a medical doctor, I felt like doing something in the medical sector of the country.
Many people told me to initiate hotel and housing business as they seem to bring easy money. But I chose to do something in medical sector. What I have experienced is that Nepal is the only place in the world where people have a full-fledged service oriented heart. So why not Nepalese do something in the field of service-oriented fields like education, health, agriculture and tourism?
Today’s world depends upon three things- networking, branding and perception. So, if you want to change with time by taking these three things you will surely develop.
Chandra Dhakal, Chairman of IME Group
In my opinion, in accordance to time everyone should learn to change. If people don’t change in accordance to the time, definitely the result will not be produced as in the thought process.
Whenever I plan to work, I look up to three major things. Firstly, the project should look up to solve the problem of public. Similarly, the project should be initiated in accordance to the motive of the government as well and finally the product you will to give should fulfill the motive of your enterprise.
I would like to give my example on the basis of the above three things I mentioned. 18 years ago, the trend of Nepalese going abroad was raging. In this conflict period, the government was in an ardent need of a formal channel that could invite the foreign currencies to the country. So, we commenced the beginning of IME as a remittance enterprise. Similar is the idea behind the establishment of Chandragiri Hills. The ongoing pollution in Kathmandu is unbearable and in such situation people long for a place that presents them with the beauty of nature. So, we brought the idea of Chandragiri Hills. This profited the government as the government was in works to instigate a project related to tourism. As an entrepreneur I have fulfilled the necessities of the plan to work.
As I mentioned earlier, we should learn to transform according to time. Transforming the traditional and conventional work pattern may be difficult. But, every one of you must look at the broad vision of the work that is set to be initiated. A level of patience should be inherent and a lot of effort is required. Even if you initiate an enterprise it should profit the government’s goals.
Citing example of a parable of inspiring story of change of Budhha and his disciple Chitrakar concluded the event. Chitrakar’s sole method of asserting examples and asking questions to the entrepreneurs was a spark of his technique to inspire the audience. The second panel gave the event with knowledge, expertise and the strength to the aspiring entrepreneurs of the country.
This first panel discussion of CEO Unplugged 2018 organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. was Generational Change to Family Business: Mapping Young Minds. The panel looked into status of Nepal’s millennial’s who are set to welcome an economic revolution in the country’s entrepreneurial space. The panel’s main objective was to mirror the innovative changes that the young minds of the family have brought out in work, careers, family life and family business.
CEO Unplugged 2018 is a yearly forum organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. comprising series of panel discussion to establish a forum to discuss about contemporary business challenges, opportunities and futuristic view with a sight of experiential learning to the new comers in the business and students with an objective “Today Meets Tomorrow“.
The first panel discussion comprised of panelist; Shekhar Golchha, Director at HH Bajaj, Akhil Gupta, Director at Shanker Group, Satish Pokhrel, Director of Agni Cement, Siddhant Raj Pandey, CEO of Business Oxygen Pvt. Ltd. and moderator; Suman Shakya, Founder of Smart Paani.
Suman Shakya asked these young entrepreneurs about their experience of taking over the family business, challenges that came over when they want to bring a wave of change in the traditional family businesses, stereotypes that hit while working and wisdom of words they would love to share to the aspirants of the country.
In his opening remarks Suman Shakya roused an ambience of delight through his first question. Shakya commenced the panel by giving an instance of a car that attracts a crowd. Adding to the definite reason why people gather to look at the car, Shakya mentioned that the car lacked an engine but it was operating because of the ‘brand’ and not an ‘engine’. He prompted his first query of ‘Are you a brand or an engine of the enterprise?’
Akhil Gupta, Director of Shanker Group
” More than me saying I am a brand or an engine of the enterprise, it’s more of my work to speak. It’s a very old organization in Nepal and it was the largest manufacturing private sectors companies in Nepal. Juddha Power Motors was my initiative when I got back after studying and have done a lot of work. To answer your questions, I am still learning to become these parts and the integrity to make the engine working. It is a long process. I was lucky enough to have a family who set me in that direction of entrepreneurship.
There came challenges when I wanted to bring a change. But I was lucky enough to work with my cousins who wanted to move forward and understood our challenges.
Most of the companies have CEOs and it’s not a very old thing. We are trying to bring in the best knowledge. For example, for our motors business we got the best professional who understands the business, for alcohol business we have person from India working for the business, for steel business we have steel authority from India working for the business.
We do now have CEOs who are running our businesses. Primarily because they do understand certain things better than we do. But that is more in an operational front and if it would still come into planning. We are still learning as we are learning.
I’ll just share something from the last 8 to 9 years I have always done what I wanted to do. I also started out working at a bank in India and I realized that I didn’t want to work. I wanted to work on something of my own. I did my masters and came back. When I look forward I want to say, I have a big organic farm of my investment where I am myself one of the farmers. But what I have understood till date is just keep following whatever you think, whatever you dream and whatever your passion is. If you can manage it in the right way and if you can manage your resources, time, develop the skill sets required for your passion you will be set up at a right track.”
Satish Pokhrel, Director of Agni Cement
“As a matter of fact, our family are real entrepreneurs. They have come from a level to this level. It takes a lot of effort to achieve this level. If you see from the outside, it feels an easy job but to keep up with the expectations and work, the amount of effort we need to put up is extra.
First of all, when I joined the business I started from the bottom and worked as an employee. We have a policy in our family that we start from the bottom and grow ourselves to the top. I completed my bachelors at the end of 2013 and joined the company as an engineer. During the initials while your parents and uncle is your boss, there comes a conflict to treat them as your boss or family. I thought when I was leading there should be certain things I need to consider. For example, we have to show some level of respect to the senior workers. Otherwise things will be messed up. At the beginning this was the case. Recently, I was promoted to the director of the company and it was because of my family’s guidance. As a family business there were hurdles but then when you know how it works it is easy.
We have a platform for all of our siblings and our family. Recently, my cousin has also joined the business. Few of my siblings are in abroad but the ones who are here they are genuinely interested to join the business. So, they are not pushed to the top in the beginning but have to go through the struggle.
There is only one thing that I say to everyone. You have studied here, you’ve worked here, gained knowledge and you have gained experience. So, don’t go abroad. Nepal is a land of opportunities despite of the hurdles. Where there are gaps, there are opportunities to fill the gap, so commercialize it, and find a solution to it. But, don’t go abroad. This is a place where you want to be because this is a place of growing economy.”
Abhimanyau Golchha, Director of HH Bajaj
“I recently joined the company and it’s been 26 months. The expectation carries a lot of weight. If you have heard the saying, ‘Every problem comes with its layers’. From outside it looks like you are wearing a crown, when you take it off its pretty painful. So, in the first day itself people have a lot of expectations and there’s no room for error from the very start. There’s a lot to learn a lot from it but at the same time there’s a lot of advantages. For example, sometimes I can get a room for error. If I do an error in 8 out of 10 businesses I uptake, the remaining 2 that I do good in will be remembered. But at the same time there’s a lot of expectation which puts up a lot of pressure on you from the first day itself.
I graduated two years ago and I worked in India for a couple of years. I worked in Delhi’s Samsung and then I worked in Pune for a year with ‘non-salary’. So, it’s not like that I directly graduated and directly entered to the company. In my company I pretty much started as a director. But I am not looking off at the entire company and I am looking at the automotive and three wheeled division of the company.
But once I become confident, I can take more and more companies. Coming to the other point, in our company we do have general managers who run day to day activities and I look up to the bigger picture of it. So, we do believe in a company run by a professional CEO and I think with that it gives you confidence. If you are ready to empower your team to run the day to day operations, you can take it much easier.
When I was in school I wanted to become a taxi driver. I used to love driving cars, getting paid and driving all day. That’s the best thing in the world. I think that I am fortunate enough that all the businesses I am involved in is my passion. Selling motorcycles is something I love and I can’t complain about that. I did engineering and business was not even in my bachelor studies.
This is something that I am loving every day. Every day I am learning so much. I cannot see myself doing anything else apart from this.
The educated people of Nepal don’t come back, it is very difficult to work on the economy. Even if you go abroad for your studies, you must come back and contribute to the society. In terms of all the chaos in Nepal, entrepreneurship is born in a chaos. There are a lot of opportunities that have not been utilized. If you can’t succeed as an entrepreneur in Nepal, there’s no other place. I think this is the best place to be an entrepreneur. Go off your dreams and be focused.”
Siddhant Raj Pandey, CEO of Business Oxygen Pvt. Ltd.
“As a private entity venture we do invest in businesses that are run by family and with partnerships. But before I get into the businesses we invest, worldwide 70 percent of the family business get fold up or sold up when the second generation takes over mainly because there are so many things the family business do not follow. This includes core structure of a business that make it to the third fourth generation. Keeping that main in mind, we as a private equity investor, invest in businesses run by family and small to medium enterprise.
We are not just brining capital into this business but we are bringing a partnership, handling over the company and doing change management. Most of the companies that are run in Nepal have a traditional management system. They don’t have financial framework, marketing branding, corporate government and transparency that are long resistant. These are the parallels that ensure a company to survive, so we teach these businesses on how to operate the management, succession planning, and professional management. We also teach these things to the families that want to give their less qualified and sons the position of CEO in the family business.
We are an outside intervention that bring capital as well as expertise so that we could dictate basic fundamental structure that makes the business stable.
What I want to make sure is that so that I am not misinterpreted. These fine young men who have done their time going to good universities, studying, coming back and they didn’t stay where they were studying- that’s a good point, that’s a plus. And the families that I have seen in the past 20- 25 years are investing in their children for abroad study, learn about what’s happening out there so that they can drive their businesses in the future and they are dealing with companies in India which are so compression. So, that’s a plus point.
Their grandfather/great grandfather/ father may not have been born to a business family. They created a business family and it’s all about entrepreneurship. So, it’s about passion. You’ve got to put your time in, work hard on it and the sky is the limit. There are no glass ceilings here. So, it’s up to you could be happy with whatever you want. But the point is dignity of labour is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter what you are, be what you want to be.”
‘Generational Change to Family Business: Mapping Young Minds’ being the first panel discussion of CEO UNPLUGGED made sure that entrepreneurs belonging to the business family should work harder to keep up with the name of their family and their family business. Four of these millennials gave an insight to the savor of their understanding of entrepreneurship in the panel. Not only did they converse about their journey to become what they are today, through the wisdom of words they shared was an insight to hard work being a key to success.