Surya Nepal Asha Social Entrepreneurship Award 2012

Celebrating entrepreneurs who create social, environmental and economic values

Surya Nepal Social Entrepreneurship Award (TKP)

[Published in The Kathmandu Post, Dated 1st December, 2012]

They do business not just for earning. Three entrepreneurs — Nishesh Rai, Som Prasad Gauchan and Sanu Kaji Shrestha — run three business ventures generating handsome income, and at the same time, they serve the society. Their hard work and inspiring business model has placed them on the list finalists of Surya Nepal Asha Social Entrepreneurship Award 2012. This week, The Kathmandu Post features these three individuals who will be fighting for the top honours to be announced on December 18, 2012.

Nishesh Rai
Exodus of youths to foreign countries for jobs and unavailability of quality bricks in his locality prompted Nishesh Rai to initiate PANN Brick in eastern hilly district Dhankuta. What makes Rai’s business venture stand out is the use of unique technology in the production of bricks which releases 90 percent less pollution compared to the traditional ways of brick manufacturing.
Moreover, the company donates 5 paisa each from a brick sold to a local organisation that develops audio books for visually impaired people. “I wanted to encourage energetic and innovative youth to stay home and do something in whatever scale they can,” Rai says.
His company has employed more than 45 individuals. The project is sustaining by selling bricks in Dhankuta and adjoining districts. The successful run of PAAN Bricks encouraged Rai to open its area office in Sankhuwasabha district. “Currently, we are conducting a feasibility study. An area office will come into operation within the next year,” Rai said.

Som Prasad Gauchan 
In the course of our discussion with locals to find an alternative to migration, we realised the multi-faceted benefit of tea farming in terms of employment, income, land conservation and ecological balance. Hence, we started the tea estate for the mutual benefits of everyone involved,” says Som Prasad Gauchan, who started Everest Tea Estate in Sindupalchowk in 1996.  The business venture to some extent has become successful in addressing problems regarding extreme backwardness of people living in the district due to the lack of infrastructure and employment opportunities. The company employs nine individuals and provided seasonal jobs to around 50-80 more individuals. The project is sustaining on tea sales. “We are receiving good response from international markets too,” Gauchan said, adding the company currently sells products in countries like Germany, France, Poland and the United States. Gaunchan has plans to expand the plantation area from the existing 1,500 ropanies to 3,000 ropanies within the near future and start similar teat estates in other parts of the country.

Sanu Kaji Shrestha
The Foundation for Sustainable Technologies (FoST), a brainchild of Sanu Kaji Shrestha, has been working on addressing problems like shortage of cooking fuel and wastage of materials with potential bio-fuel characteristics. His unique venture has already had impact on more than 3,000 individuals, who have acquired training about this technique and is also being used by organisations like Shanti Sewa Griha and Til Ganga Hospital, among others. “FoST is a mother institute which produces entrepreneurs in household levels. These entrepreneurs deal with social issues directly, such as mobilising natural and human resources starting from their own house,” Shrestha said. Currently, FoST is manufacturing briquettes using wastage leafs. “The price of fuel is increasing day by day, making people’s daily life difficult. Hence, we manufacture briquettes using various wasted natural resources,” Shrestha said. This unique venture has benefited numerous people and has also offered employment to rural individuals and differently-abled people. The venture is sustaining on the sales of briquettes and fees collected from training. According to Shrestha, he aims to increase the awareness among people about this technique to generate renewable energy to make people’s lifestyle comfortable.

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