Greetings from the Idea Studio Nepal! We are pleased to send you this month’s issue of the ISN’s The Innovator’s Insight.
On August 17 Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Idea Studio Nepal and Confederation of Nepalese Industries. The MoU was signed by Mr. Rajesh Kumar Agrawal, President of CNI and Dr. Tshering Lama, Executive Chairperson of ISN. This signing of MoU marked a beginning of collaborative journey between ISN and CNI. This journey will bring up innovations, growth, and endless possibilities for unlocking the new horizons in Nepalese industries, start-up and enterprises.
CNI was inaugurated with an objective to address the prolonging issues in Nepalese industries. It is a professionally led apex body of the industrial sector of Nepal that have provided employment to over 130,000 people. It has provided mentorship to 330 industries in Nepal and have 5000 members. CNI creates an environment to protect the private sector, safeguard their rights, and be their voice. CNI has conducted Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2022, Made in Nepal Swadeshi Summit 2023, Women Leadership Summit 2023, and Startup Fest.
Idea Studio Nepal is a platform that connects unique sustainable ideas and entrepreneurship. ISN reach out to entrepreneurs encourage them to submit their ideas and focuses on promoting economically, socially, and sustainable ideas to solve the issues of Nepalese society. The core value of ISN is to promote social innovation by generating investment for social change ensuring social justice by creating knowledge for sustainability and to restore human dignity for all. ISN has reached 70 districts in Nepal, collected 4500 ideas, and incubated 350 ideas.
The collaboration of CNI and ISN will aid to bring reforms in entrepreneurial sector and investment sector in Nepal through optimum utilization of technical, scientific, financial, and human resources. In the signing ceremony the President of CNI MR. Agrwal stated, “For economic development in Nepal entrepreneurship and business promotion is necessary and for this government should work effectively.” He added that a suitable environment for entrepreneur to stop ‘brain-drain’, the collaboration with Idea Studio Nepal will assist youth with new ideas to become an entrepreneur. He said that this cooperation will support ‘Make in Nepal’ Swadeshi Campaign, start-up, entrepreneurship promotion started by federation earlier.
Executive Chairperson of ISN Tshering Lama said that, “The cooperation with the federation will further support the search for new possibilities in the areas of entrepreneurship and investment in the country.” He further added, “ For those who want to do something in the country, it is necessary to improve skills and ethics. We believe that more work can be done in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation in cooperation with the Confederation.”
The vision of CNI is to play lead role in making country’s industrial sector vibrant, resilient as well as globally competitive and to promote investment-friendly environment to achieve a sustainable double-digit economic growth. And the vision of ISN is to enable the youths of a nation through entrepreneurship and innovation to ignite a social economic change. The cooperation of these visions will enable to bring entrepreneurial revolution in Nepal. Youth involvement, investment opportunity, finances buildings, new sustainable ideas, adoption of technologies, and global integration are the resources that will aid in this revolution. This cooperation will shape a new future for entrepreneurs and enterprise.
Prativa Dabali, an initiative led by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA), was designed to cultivate inventive thinking and cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset among government employees. The core objective of the program was to encourage novel ideas from government personnel, particularly those related to enhancing service delivery, streamlining development management, and advancing governance in the public sector.
Under the guidance of Idea Studio Nepal, a 5-day incubation program was conducted to refine the top 10 selected ideas. Throughout this incubation period, each idea was supported by a pair of student consultants, totaling 17 consultants. Idea Studio Nepal provided personalized mentoring and guidance to the idea creators, leveraging the expertise of these student consultants.
The culmination of the incubation effort took the form of a final pitch event hosted at the Prime Minister’s Office in Singhadurbar. The ten leading participants had the opportunity to present their polished ideas to esteemed guests, including the Prime Minister, Chief Secretary, various Secretaries from different ministries, government employees, and stakeholders from private institutions. Notably, Moha Raj Paudel, Ram Datta Bhatta, and Rabi Chandra Aryal secured the First, Second, and Third Prizes, respectively. The winners and participants received certificates from the Honorable Minister of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Amanlal Modi, along with the student consultants.
The incubation sessions encompassed a wide array of crucial subjects pertaining to innovative policy-making and effective project management. These topics ranged from Design Thinking and Applying Lean Canvas to Policy Innovation, to concepts like Inclusive Government Policies, comprehending government policy and project development processes, skillful project management for government initiatives, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), Digital Transformation encompassing E-Governance and Citizen Engagement, Analyzing Policies, and Evaluating existing policy development and execution processes. Interactive sessions with government officials, insights shared by past Prativa Dabali winners, and workshops on presentation techniques and effective strategies were also part of the sessions.
In conclusion, the Prativa Dabali initiative successfully served as a platform for government employees to refine their concepts and present them to key stakeholders. The collaboration between Idea Studio Nepal, the student consultants, and the chosen ideators resulted in the creation of innovative solutions that hold the potential to drive positive transformation within government administration.
We had the privilege to conduct an interview with a young, youthful and vibrant ideator, Mrs. Uchita Maharjan Bajrahcarya. She is the general manager of Uchit Jaivik Udyog Pvt. Ltd, a company established to produce biofertilizers in an attempt to facilitate the farmers and agricultural industry as a whole. Their fertilizers are not just beneficial to the natural environment but also act as an effective substitute for chemical fertilizers used nationwide. Uchita has been a valuable member of the company since the beginning handling multiple areas of the company and took upon the role of the general manager after completing her masters in management.
This company was once closed due to lack of profit. It was reestablished by her father with the support of Uchita and her sister’s support in 2069 B.S. In her father’s words, “In the beginning the company was trying to solve a problem that didn’t exist. While now, the problem exists and by tapping into the market it is beneficial to all the parties that are involved.” Her father had done the work of building a product by himself and all she needed to do now was to increase the company’s threshold. After completing her masters, she went on working in the company full-fledged. Her sister, who was handling the position of general manager left the company to go abroad and since her dad couldn’t handle everything she took upon general manager’s position. She explains how working under the authority of other individuals was not what she liked since the beginning and since she had an opportunity in her father’s company she dived right into it. She was passionate and dedicated to better the lives of consumers and the farmers but she had a huge risk. She had very little idea about agricultural phenomena. So she decided to work more upon gaining more knowledge. In 2015 A.D, when she was still studying bachelor’s 2nd year ,she took part in a Rockstart Impact Program conducted by Netherlands in which Uchit biofertilizers came on top 10 among the other 55 companies. In the program, she had 100 days to learn with mentors and investors and that helped her to build connections as well. In the process she also contacted and got connected to idea studio from where she got knowledgeable ideas and help with the market. She also took training and researched regarding matters of agriculture in Nepal and worldwide in order to gain perspective.
She is very interested in sustainable farming and understands the impact sustainable agriculture has on climate change and reforestation. Agriculture is at the forefront of environmental conservation and eliminating the use of pesticides and chemicals plays a very important factor for the cause. She says that a significant proportion of investment is always dedicated to Research and development. With the company’s core value being to always give the same or better quality products, research and development is very important to the company as well. After she joined the company, she made sure to establish a sole distributor of her products, contacted multiple INGO and NGOs and established collaboration with multiple governmental and non-governmental organizations. She says that the company has a goal of creating a demand supply ecosystem where there is coherence between manufacturer, distributors, farmers and the customers. The ecosystem involves a functioning loop where they provide proper fertilizers to the farmer and the product that the farmers produce is not only advertised by them but also used by the company as a raw material in further production since they already know that the product of the farmer is organic.
But Uchita’s time in the company has not been easy. Firstly, due to lack of proper awareness, people had to be explained what biofertilizer actually is. There was enough awareness on chemical and compost fertilizer but little to none on biofertilizers. To solve this problem multiple awareness programs were conducted as well. Secondly, she encountered problems with convincing the farmers to use biofertilizers. She had to keep bets with commercial farmers in which she took a small portion of their land and used biofertilizers in them. The bet entailed that if the company’s biofertilizer didn’t work, the company would bear all the losses but if they did the farmers would use it. Fortunately, all her bets were successful and she was able to sell her products. Additionally, she faced some problems at the beginning with collaboration as she was not given much importance because she was a young lady in the field and was often undermined. She says that the main person that helped her overcome all her challenges was her father. Her father was her support system and she attributes all the success to her and her father’s positivity. Uchita says that although there are challenges involved in her position, she is also proud of some qualities that she had that helped her become a better manager. She says that she has encouraged communication within the company and ensures proper response is given on time. She values the idea of “give example and lead”, meaning she says that only through her respecting the other people of the company will she be respected and valued. She tries to never give work to people working in the company before and after company time as well. She considers it to be a success when customers repeat themselves and says that customer repetition makes her comparatively happier than her first sale.
Uchita considers the flourishing of Nepal the biggest priority, even before the sale of their products overseas. She follows the phrase “Be True to yourself” and considers herself as an ever growing and ever evolving individual. Uchita has grown and developed with her years in the company and never fails to show up for herself, her loved ones, the company and the company’s needs. Uchita is a motivation to all of us to give their hundred percent to all that they are doing and not fall into false pretenses.
St. Xaviers College
Idea Studio Nepal (ISN) and School of Management Tribhuvan University (SOMTU) jointly organized press meet for College Idea Hunt (CIH) 2023 at Center for Economic Development and Administration on 7th September. The press meet was convened in the presence of esteemed individuals, including Professor Dr. Dilip Parajuli, who holds the position of Assistant Dean within the Faculty of Management Tribhuvan University, Dr. Tshering Lama, the Executive Head of ISN, Mr. Surendra Subedi, who serves as the Principal of K.M.C, Anjana Malla, the Founder of Deego Nepal and Sadichha Shrestha, occupying the role of Chief of Strategy and Communication at ISN.
Ms. Sadichha enthusiastically provided a concise overview of what College Idea Hunt represents. She expressed her excitement in sharing information about this program, emphasizing that College Idea Hunt transcends being a mere competition. It is a platform dedicated to transform ideas into tangible realities, a mission that ISN has diligently pursued for a decade.
Anjana Malla stepped up to share her personal journey and experience of working alongside ISN and being a participant in CIH 2020. Despite her background as a psychology student, she found perplexed about the intricacies of running a business, even though she possessed a brilliant idea. However, her partnership with ISN proved transformative. With ISN’s support, her initial idea underwent incubation, a process that included invaluable assistance in networking, mentorship, and the establishment of brand recognition. Anjana emphasized that College Idea Hunt transcends the realm of business ideas; It is a platform to fostering self-growth and holistic development.
Mr. Surendra Subedi graciously shared his experience of introducing the incubation center at K.M.C three years ago. He highlighted how this initiative has played a pivotal role in bridging the gap between academic knowledge and practical experience for students. He emphasized the fact that ISN serves as more than just a platform for competition rather it acts as a catalyst for shaping comprehensive business plans. To illustrate this, he provided an example of a K.M.C student who harbored a vision of creating fashionable jewelry but lacked the expertise to formulate a viable business plan. Through the support of the K.M.C incubation center, this student’s ideas were successfully incubated, ultimately leading to the transforming of their vision into a tangible reality.
Professor Dr. Dilip Parajuli expressed his profound delight in observing the impactful activities undertaken by ISN. He pointed out the prevalent challenge where individuals possess skills and knowledge but often lack the appropriate platform to showcase and leverage their talents, a void that ISN effectively fills. He drew a conclusion with previous decades when individuals may have had innovative ideas but were often limited by a lack of resources, preventing them from taking the necessary steps to bring about meaningful change. In the contemporary landscape, Dr. Parajuli highlighted the fact that abundant resources are readily available, making it possible for individuals of all ages to embark on entrepreneurial journeys. These resources not only present opportunities but also have the potential to reduce the trend of students seeking educational and professional opportunities abroad.
Dr. Tshering Lama articulated ISN’s mission, emphasizing its founding objective to harness and amplify the latent potential within Nepal. He noted that ISN’s scope extends to encompass the aspirations of individuals ranging from 17 to 70 years old, and cited a recent study indicating that 81% of Millennials and Gen Z have entrepreneurial dreams, making ISN well-positioned to collaborate with and support this demographic.
Furthermore, Dr. Lama highlighted the strategic partnership between SOMTU and ISN, which enables the transformation of business plans into actionable initiatives though the guidance of academic experts. He offered a special message to those students who harbor dreams or innovative ideas but lack the platform to realize them, assuring them that CIH serves as the platform to bring their aspirations to life. In closing, Dr. Lama left the audience with a quote: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”, underscoring the significance of collaborative and collective efforts in achieving lasting success.
The press meet was conducted to call for application for College Idea Hunt 2023. After the press meet applications were opened for CIH 2023.
One morning last month, a girl, usually quiet and composed, sprang up from her seat during the ongoing lecture and sprinted towards the door. Her anxious back left the classroom at a lightening speed, and the ‘bang’ of the door resounded throughout the classroom — reverberated into our hearts.
Moments earlier, her deskmate had noticed the abnormally heavy breathing and the slight shaking of her body. The teen girl had then stood up without warning, and rushed out of the classroom.
This occurred not once, but multiple times thereafter. The adolescent is to be identified as Saya(name changed in order to protect her identity.) Saya was uncomfortably flocked by several of the classmates after the first incident, however she still answered their queries regarding such startling outburst. Apparently, the teenager has been suffering from an anxiety disorder since the Covid-19 lockdown.
The adolescent population is currently undergoing a dire alteration. The greatest threats concerning the teens had been excess drinking and smoking just a few decades ago, yet now, the present sees such threats being reduced to regularity. What instead looms menacingly around our teens is a widespread health concern: mental disorder.
Statistics report the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms among high school students of Nepal to be ranging from 27% to 76%. The suicide rate for Nepal in 2019 was 9.00%., a steep increase from 2016’s was 8.50%. Authorities report over 19 people committing suicide every day for the past years, which in itself is an alarming data.
Prediction of depression among adolescents in Nepal
Teenagers now are exposed freely to social media, which is oftentimes considered the strongest factor of mental health issues. We are yet to require any concrete data that suggests so, as although multiple studies have proved mental illness stimulating from excess exposure to social sites, there are quite many studies which have shown contradictory results as well. However, the possible explanation behind this could be how a screen time exceeding 6 hours causes the body to remain immobile for long, lacking any form of exercise. Teenagers similarly lose sleep for media entertainment, and these two are factors quite detrimental both to the mind and the body. Such being the case, there occurs a steep rise in the possibility of a mental illness development.
There also exists the academic pressure placed upon adolescents, and an increased amount of pressure wouldn’t be taken well by an emotionally-vulnerable teenager. Then there are the expectations of achieving great results, triggering students to such a point that they find it better to hurt themselves over disappointing their elders.
Another interesting point to be noted is the Covid-19 lockdown, which has evidently displayed an unfortunate rise in the case of mental health issues. Saya was a fairly disease-free child before the lockdown. She explains, however, that the prolonged isolation during the lockdown caused her present situation of feeling a rising suffocation in presence of too many people. Despite such severe issues, Saya refuses to go visit a psychologist. It is easy to ask someone to get a treatment, she claims
All this peculiarity in such a steep rise of prevalent mental health issues in teenagers today raises a question — has today’s rapidly marching forward world of technology really left the teenagers unable to catch up, riddling them with mental health problems,or were these problems as equally prevalent before, and merely remained undiagnosed? No solid response can be generated for this question.
With the rise of literacy rate, smoking and drinking is no longer a humongous threat to adolescents — it is breeding ignorance on topics related to mental health that poses a great threat. Nepal itself has seen a tortoise-paced progress on mental health development these past few years. Although awareness on depression, anxiety, and BPD have rose significantly, there are still several other mental issues that remain unrecognized. There are quite a limited number of professionals with experience working in the mental health sector in Nepal. And the fact that parents refuse to acknowledge or treat their child with obvious mental issues due to the fear of social stigma doesn’t help either. It is time that our society undergoes an entire social change, so that even if those who refuse to acknowledge, at least do not discredit. “Look around, look within” — the slogan for 2023’s mental health awareness encaptures the essence well — in order to nurse our wounds, we must learn to heal from within.
St. Xaviers College
College Idea Hunt is an annual event initiative by Idea Studio Nepal which aims to engage creative young minds in solving existing issues through innovative and sustainable “Greenovation” solutions. This program provides students with a platform to pitch their ideas and offers opportunities for incubation, mentorship, and networking. The top three business concepts receive a cash prize of Rs 1,00,000 each to develop and launch their environmentally friendly or socially impactful ventures. In the past years, College Idea Hunt has attracted more than 300 colleges in the Kathmandu Valley, receiving over 1000 applications. It has become a significant incubator for students in Nepal, showcasing itself as a unique and vital program in the region. Idea Studio Nepal has successfully organized five editions of College Idea Hunt and is enthusiastic about the upcoming College Idea Hunt 2023.
College Idea Hunt is an exclusive business incubation program tailored for Nepalese students, welcoming applicants from various fields. It emphasizes environmentally conscious and socially just business proposals. Participants have the chance to engage in workshops focused on 21st-century skills, developed in collaboration with Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland, and the New Venture Creation Incubation program in partnership with MIT and KUSOM. The program offers business incubation, mentorship, and networking opportunities, allowing students to showcase their ideas to a wider audience, including prominent figures in Nepal, during the grand finale event “I have an Idea.” Additionally, they gain direct entry to a national-level incubation program and a business reality television show. This inter-college competition specifically focuses on Greenovation and social impact ideas.
‘Green entrepreneurship’ focuses on creating economically viable and socially empowering business solutions for environmental challenges. A sustainable or green business operates with minimal negative impact on the global or local environment, society, and the economy, striving to achieve the triple bottom line. WWF Nepal, as the Eco-Impact Partner of College Idea Hunt, actively promotes “Greenovation” by supporting business ideas that address environmental challenges using eco-friendly solutions. This program aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, contribute to a vibrant sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem, and facilitate investments for emerging green enterprises in various sectors.
The objectives of College Idea Hunt include fostering entrepreneurship orientation by exposing students to business and market opportunities, enabling them to establish their ventures. Additionally, the program emphasizes the importance of practical knowledge application, enhancing education quality by allowing students to implement theoretical concepts in real-life situations. It serves as a platform for showcasing the talents and innovative ideas of future entrepreneurs. Moreover, the initiative focuses on empowering youth in Nepal, providing them with opportunities comparable to the global market standards. College Idea Hunt plays a pivotal role in nurturing students’ growth and preparing them to compete on a global scale.
Get a comprehensive overview of the diverse range of activities happening at ISN. From engaging events such as Mothers for Mothers, brand launches, Founders Club meetings, and incubation programs, we cover it all. Stay updated with the vibrant community and entrepreneurial spirit at ISN through this section, which highlights the impactful events that shape our ecosystem.
Idea Studio is a platform to turn promising ideas into solutions and ultimately ignite social change by enabling youth potentials in favour of entrepreneurship through innovation.