From starting his career as a retail banking officer at Standard Chartered Bank in 1991 to handling positions such as Director, MBA and Professional Development Programme and Executive Director at Webster University, Thailand, Sanjib Subba CEO at Nepal Electronic Payment Systems Ltd (NEPS) has worn many hats in his lifetime. Despite having spent a huge part of his professional career in the banking industry even serving as CEO at the National Banking Institute for almost a decade, Subba recalls always being fascinated by entrepreneurship. He remembers, “During my time at the Standard Chartered Bank, I was drawn towards innovative ideas of borrowers who came seeking financial assistance. I cannot pinpoint what exactly attracted me towards entrepreneurship but I often find myself getting engrossed in conversations regarding innovative businesses.”
Journey with Idea Studio Nepal
In 2009, Subba’s attraction towards entrepreneurship got him involved in Change Fusion, an entrepreneurship development company. He was also one of the founding members of Entrepreneurs for Nepal and in 2014, he got involved with Idea Studio Nepal to work for entrepreneurship development and social innovation in the country. He shares, “As Idea Studio Nepal and I share a common vision, philosophy and desire to uplift entrepreneurship and its ecosystem in Nepal, I have been actively involved in supporting the organisation since its very first season.”
Subba has been part of Idea Studio Nepal as a business guru, judge, and mentor providing unrelenting support. Like him, he finds Idea Studio Nepal to be an organisation incredibly passionate about entrepreneurship which has strengthened his bond with the company over the years. “The kind of collaboration Idea Studio Nepal has been fostering is wonderful, it always feels so good to be in touch with entrepreneurs from all age and walks of life which allows me to be a part of the change in the making.”
Having judged and mentored multiple seasons of Idea Studio Nepal, Subba shares that his experience at Idea Studio Nepal has been a pleasant one. He says, “Judging numerous ideators in a given time limit and selecting the best ideas out of all can be a taxing process. However, it’s always great and exciting to witness innovative ideas and motivate, encourage and correct them.” As per Subba, he often looks for passionate, confident ideators with in-depth knowledge, viable business ideas and experience.
And when it comes to mentoring, Subba feels imparting wisdom and learning go hand in hand. He shares, “I end up learning from ideators because after all learning is an ongoing process and everyone has different levels of exposure and experiences in various fields. Idea Studio Nepal is a great platform to co-learn.”
Subba on Leadership
For many success may be quantified by material possessions but for Subba success is all about internal satisfaction and happiness. He describes himself as being a result-oriented, motivational and mindful leader and shares, “I try to help and support my team by moving together with them and giving credit where it's due.”
Recently, Subba made a leap to the financial tech industry, a completely new field for him. This move he feels is a part of his personal growth ritual and says, “Growth is all about finding new mountains to climb, experiencing new things and learning constantly.” He further adds, “My competition is with myself and I choose to keep raising my benchmark to improve.”
Expectations from Idea Studio Season 5
As Idea Studio Nepal moves into Idea Studio Season 5, Subba feels that it has morphed into a better organisation with growing networks, reach and social impacts. He says, “Idea Studio Nepal’s working processes have become polished, has reached a certain maturity level over the years. I would like to see refinement in the idea selection process in the coming days and hope to see new and innovative ideas from the ideator’s side.”
Subba who was nominated by UNDP as the Chair for the Green Financing Sub-Platform adds, “I would love to see a vertical of green business ideas at
ISN as the future is green and as humans, I feel all of us need to go back to our roots.” Subba views COVID-19 pandemic as an excellent opportunity for innovation as he believes that disruptive environments are a great birthplace for innovation. He shares, “This crisis is a disruption, and we will have to see how this disruption leads to innovation. If you want to thrive, a crisis is an opportunity.”
An avid writer and learner, Anupama Angbo works as the Communication Officer at Idea Studio Nepal.