Surya Nepal Asha Social Entrepreneurship Award 2012

Celebrating entrepreneurs who create social, environmental and economic values

The Himalayan Times Perspective, 27 August 2012

While social entrepreneurs work silently to lead the society from darkness to light through economic prosperity, their contribution is recognized by awards like Surya Nepal Asha Social Entrepreneurship Award (SNASEA). The recipients of the award for this year said it not only boosts their morale but also helps increase their business, networking and visibility.

Helping to Create Independent Women

Sabita Maharjan, a woman who underwent a bitter experience of domestic violence, obtained training from the Department of Small and Cottage Industries. She then formed a group of deprived women and began producing woollen garments and supplying hand-made products to local companies. After receiving technical training from an INGO, she registered her company — Kirtipur Hosiery Industry — a few years back. Maharjan says bagging SNASEA – 2011 boosted her morale and her company witnessed dramatic growth due to the limelight. “We now have 125 women working for the company and over 500 women trained who are on their way to independence,” says Maha-rjan, who is also involved with a credit cooperative that helps promote women welfare programmes. Also equally active on educational training and sanitation campaigns in Kirtipur, she says, “Upgrading the lives of people in need gives me more happiness than money can buy.”

Every Little Step

Ram P Sapkota, managing director of Mountain Delights Treks and Expeditions Pvt Ltd, is a successful entrepreneur by default. Born in a remote village in Dhading, he had a great desire to send deprived children of his village to school. When he came to Kathmandu to pursue college studies, he started as a porter before becoming a Sherpa and assistance guide for trekkers. Ultimately, he founded his own enterprise that not only makes money but also funds the education of some 268 students and supports a dozen remote schools besides other social programmes.

“Receiving the award has taken my mission to newer heights,” says Sapkota, another award winner. Several western tourists and clients are proud that they are also helping make a difference as they enjoy the beauty of this country. “The award has inspired me even more to help Nepali students, the comm-unity and environment through my business,” Sapkota says candidly.

You Are Not Alone

The award also proved instrumental in the mission of Chhahari, a NGO working to facilitate and support needy single women by equipping them with trainings and marketing their products. “Through the award, many people came to know about us and what we do. It promoted our business and Chhahari has grown stronger with branches supporting helpless single women in five districts of the country,” says Sweta Tamrakar, an official at Chhahari Services, informing about plans to expand across the country in the future.

Improving the Quality of Life

Khem Sapkota is a devoted member of Vijaya Development Resource Centre, a local NGO in Nawalparasi district. Established in 1979, the NGO has been involved in income generation and skill development activities besides programmes related to health, education, drinking water and cooperatives. “We got a huge response upon receiving the award and it has given us the impetus to expand our work across the country,” says a jubilant Sapkota. The NGO has been providing loans and technical training to farmers’ and mothers’ groups to initiate agricultural or non-agricultural ventures that improve the living standard of villagers. According to Sapkota, the organisation is also working in micro-hydro projects.

Milking Opportunity

A software engineer and MBA degree holder, Shyam Badan Yadav from Parsa district felt the need to work for the eradication of poverty in his district. People in the district depended on mari-juana farming and as an alternative he came up with the idea of a dairy factory. “Once I started dairy factory, people started selling milk,” says Yadav, managing director of Kalas Milk Industries Pvt Ltd.

Also the winner of Sambriddhi Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurship Award – 2010, he says the awards have given him national and international fame. A group from Netherlands recently signed an agreement to work jointly with his factory. “The factory is growing and we are also running a cow farm comprising of some 300 cows of improved breed. Credit goes o the organisations that studied my work and helped me get the award,” says a grateful Yadav.

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