Celebrating entrepreneurs who create social, environmental and economic values
Three different entrepreneurs involved in three different business ventures. Yet, they are working on a common goal—empowering the society through innovative business.
This week, The Kathmandu Post has come up with three energetic youths—Prachanda Shakya, Shanti Shakya and Govinda Ghimire—who have made the list of 15 finalists for the ‘Asha Social Entrepreneurship Award’.
The closure of the sculpture training institute run by Aksheswor Mahabihar in Pulchowk in 2004 led Prachanda Shakya and his team to start their own institute—Nepal Traditional Handicraft Training Centre to train and produce artists. Today, the institute is successfully developing skilled manpower and generating employment.
“I myself got the training in 1994, but in 2004, the only one of a kind training institute shut down. Then I, along with my friends, decided to open a training institute to keep the legacy alive and to train people in ancient craft like wood craft and sculpture making,” Shakya said, adding he is happy with the progress the institute has made so far.
According to Shakya, the institute has trained 11 batches of students and at least five professionally-skilled individuals are developed every year.
The venture is sustaining on fees collected from the trainees. Nepal Traditional Handicraft Training Centre has given employment to more than eight individuals. What makes Shakya’s venture unique and praiseworthy is his endeavour to conserve the skills which have been attracting thousands of tourists in Nepal.
“Nepal is a rich country in terms of traditional architect. However, the new generation isn’t accepting it as a profession. I am glad we are producing some manpower to conserve our cultural heritage,” he said.
After receiving training from a Kathmandu-based NGO, Shanti Shakya and her team ventured into Kakani Himalayan Natural Dyes to utilise local resources and generate employment to women. The organisation manufactures 14 natural colours used for dyeing fabrics.
“Apart from enterprise development, we also train women in the village on the preparation of natural dyes from local raw materials and help them sustain themselves. Financial empowerment and independence gained by women has also reduced domestic violence,” said Shakya.
Started in 2008, the venture now has offered employment to 13 individuals and has benefited numerous other people residing in the region. Shakya said the venture has become successful in addressing problems related to health and reducing environmental impact caused by artificial dyes.
Due to the use of natural colours, a variety of apparels created by local women, according to Shakya, are in demand not only within the country, but also international markets. “So far, these products have been supplied in the US and Japan and the feedback so far has been very good,” she said, adding her organisation is not only empowering women, but also promoting Made-in-Nepal products.
I don’t want producers to face risks and market access issues like I did years ago before I started this venture. So this is my effort to facilitate small-scale producers and ensure their access to the market,” says Govinda Ghimire, who initiated Alternative Herbal in 1998.
The company works on enterprise development in rural parts by using unused local resources. The venture is dependent on the income generated from the sales of products made up of local materials and resources and fees generated from life-skill training to employees.
Ghimire said the company gives buy back guarantee on products manufactured at the local level. “It is very necessary to take people in confidence. We also offer technical assistance as per the need,” he said.
Currently, the organisation is working in 16 districts and claims to have made an impact on daily lives of more than 2,550 households. The company has mainly focused on products such as juice, herbal tea and cosmetics, among others.
Ghimire is happy with his venture which has not only strengthened the lives of thousands of people, but also has taught people how unused local resources can be converted into money.