KATHMANDU, SEP 09 -
Amid the hustle and bustle of the city, there is a three-storey building at Baluwatar where you can often spy people, most of them young, working quietly on neatly arranged tables. Each table, in some cases two, is in pursuit of a dream project, an entrepreneurial idea that is in the process of being shaped into a real business venture.
This building houses the brainchild of two young entrepreneurs themselves, Biruwa Ventures. “Biruwa is an incubation center for startups,” says Vidhan Rana, who along with Abhinab Basnyat, founded Biruwa in 2011. “We offer office space, business support systems, mentorship and more importantly, an ambience for future entrepreneurs to their ideas turn into sustainable business ventures.”
The idea of an incubation centre came to Rana when he had just returned from the United States upon completing his undergraduate studies in business and economics. Initially, he wanted to start an out-sourcing company for Whittaker Associates, a US-based market research firm. Faced with numerous bureaucratic hurdles, it took more than three months just to set up the company. “Registering a company, finding a space, setting up basic office amenities and overcoming a plethora of legal hurdles were only some of the challenges,” says Rana. “A problem was identified and the solution that came to my mind was a company to incubate startups.”
Basnyat, too, was planning to return to Nepal from the US and start something of his own. Rana’s idea struck a chord with Basnyat and the two started Biruwa Ventures in August 2011 with an initial investment of Rs 600,000. They would help young entrepreneurs with their startups by providing an office space with basic amenities and a support system.
However, once their new company started operations, they were forced to expand their services. “While supporting the entrepreneurs, we found them struggling to overcome numerous barriers right from the beginning,” says Basnyat.
“Entry barriers come in the form of cumbersome bureaucratic red tape during registration, social barriers whereby graduates are encouraged to find jobs rather than start something on their own and capital barriers where even brilliant ideas fail because of a lack of bank financing.” Rana claims that such barriers ultimately kill energy and, more importantly, the idea, which if nurtured properly could have been a very successful venture. “At Biruwa, we help aspiring entrepreneurs overcome challenges,” he says.
Presently, Biruwa is helping a dozen clients through different phases of their ventures. In a bid to minimise initial fixed investments, some are only seeking office space, while others avail of full business support from Biruwa. “Apart from space, we provide them with support, mentor them, help build a network and in some cases, connect them with financing sources like angel investors and venture capital firms,” says Rana. Additionally, there are also a few clients with already established ventures seeking specific consulting services in order to grow.
Besides the services Biruwa offers, the ventures within it are a part of an entrepreneurial eco-system, learning and benefiting from each other. “They advise each other, share ideas and even train each other,” says Rana. “It has been only a year and already four of our clients have started separate operations with their own space.”
For Rana and Basnyat, their idea too has now become a successful business venture and they are considering plans for expansion. “Within a year, we will add one more incubator at Patan and next year, we will start one in Pokhara,” says Rana.
Posted on: 2012-09-09 09:08