Last month more than 1,000 people gathered for the 2014 Nepal Economic Summit,a historic event hat brought attention to the challenges and opportunities to Nepal’s economic development.
More than 30 international speakers participated in the event including government officials, key ministers, business leaders, and civil society representatives. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah also attended the event and gave some closing remarks.
CIPE partner Samriddhi, the Prosperity Foundation was the knowledge partner of the event and has been working closely with the government and stakeholders in formulating the reform agendas over the last two years, preparing discussion papers on key issues such as agriculture, energy, and tourism, outlining major challenges and making recommendations. The papers build on Samriddhi’s Nepal Economic Growth Agenda, launched in 2012. Samriddhi’s economic research has become an important source of independent policy analysis in Nepal.
Samriddhi Foundation, a Kathmandu based think tank, ran a crowdfunding campaign from April 30 to May 30, 2013, on Indiegogo to support a research and advocacy campaign that would conduct a study on Kirana Pasals – small mom and pop shops selling groceries and fast moving consumer goods, which are typical to Nepal and few other South Asian nations. Atlas Network agreed to match all donations dollar-for-dollar. Watch the video that Samriddhi created for this campaign here.
People who have lived in Nepal long enough have often noticed that these small enterprises, Kirana Pasals, rarely grow to become medium or large operations, like department stores or supermarkets. The study was designed to find out what prevented the growth of these independent businesses, which are run by entrepreneurial and hardworking people, and to conduct advocacy focused on recommendations formulated on the basis of this research.
By the end of May 30, 2013, the campaign had become successful and we were able to raise the target amount of $7,500 (matched with an additional $7,500 from Atlas Network). And during the month-long period, we learned a lot about this great tool that enabled us to take another step in promoting entrepreneurship and economic development in Nepal.
The great thing about a crowdfunding campaign is the easy interaction between the supporters and the organization which allows greater transparency for the supporters to see where their money is going and who will it benefit directly. The communication process is simple and flexible and promises more accountability. However, crowdfunding is not necessarily as easy as it seems. Some of the lessons we recall from the experience are:
It has become more and more widely acknowledged that entrepreneurship is an extremely powerful tool for development. Even Bono has been “humbled” by the importance of entrepreneurialism in efforts to reduce poverty. However, building a culture of entrepreneurship in emerging markets takes more than establishing opportunities for financing. There is an entire ecosystem that must be taken into account when trying to foster entrepreneurship.
In the latest Economic Reform Feature Service article Robin Sitoula, executive director of Samriddhi: The Prosperity Foundation, discusses his approach to building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal. Recognizing that the organization did not have the resources to tackle the whole ecosystem Samriddhi cut across sectors to build partnerships that addressed individual issues. A wide range of partners including business associations, universities, and banks now allow Samriddhi to accomplish much more than originally possible. Organizations such as the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry help to advocate for a conducive policy environment, while Mega Bank and Laxmi Bank offer scale up capital for growing ventures. Sitoula argues, “This approach of identifying essential components and specific groups that add value to the ecosystem is a more productive, efficient, and sustainable method of fostering entrepreneurship.”
Read the article here.
Frank Stroker is a Research Assistant at CIPE.
CIPE often hears from its partner organizations in the field how difficult it can be to get the local business community to support their work monetarily. This is a particular problem for groups that work to bring more people into the business community, focusing on encouraging youth and women to become entrepreneurs. One of CIPE’s partners in Nepal, Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation, found a simple and cheap way to start raising money within their local community for their work with youth, while at the same time building a brand for the organization.