Enterprise, the first business accelerator programme initiated by Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs’ Forum (NYEF) has been busy tightening the business acumen of its first batch of startup companies which have joined the three month training camp. Edushala, Three Sixty Five Agro, Spark Tech, The Jungstrong Nail Art, Metro Vibes and Hot Chips & Fresh Snacks are the companies that will pitch their businesses to a select group of banks, angel investors, venture capital funds and private equity funds on ‘Demo Day’.
“We see lots of changes in these companies before and after,” says Programme Director Ajay Shrestha. “We involve them in the NYEF programme, workshops, and the sharing of practical knowledge by experienced senior mentors like Anand Bagaria of NIMBUS, Dileep Agrawal of WorldLink, Ranjit Acharya of Prisma Advertising, Sanjay Golchha of Golchha organisation, Niranjan Shrestha of Laxmi Group, Suman Joshi, managing partner of True North Associates, Varun Lohia of Lohia Group, etc. help them to learn more about every aspect of company,” he adds.
Listening to the participating companies, Shrestha feels that they have learned much more. Demo day will be held on the last day after the completion of their 12 weeks mentorship based professional guidance programme. “A very happy note is that some investors are already interested in the companies,” reveals Shrestha.
The vibrancy of the new programme is seen in the different business interests of the signed up startups: Edusala- an educational company, Three Sixty Five Agro- an integrated commercial agriculture business, Spark Tech- an offshore IT company, The Jungstrong Nail Art- full-fledged nail salon franchise, Metro Vibes- an IT solution firm and Hot Chips & Fresh Snacks- a chips manufacturing company.
The 12 week programme gives companies an opportunity to work with industry experts to reassess their business models, re-align their vision and objectives, plan their finances, get legal consultation, and ultimately, develop internal resources to target a high level of growth. It is also a platform for companies where they will analyse their business, write financial and investment proposals, build networks and internal capacity informs Shrestha, adding, “For the investors too, this programme helps them to know more about a company before making an investment. So to say, we work as a bridge for both companies and investors.”
The Enterprise’s main aim is to get investors for the participating companies.
“We are interested in promoting national investors,” says Shrestha, adding, “We are trying to create everything in Nepal.” But the current political situation, the April 25 earthquake and Terai protests have somehow created obstacle for investors to invest in any field, he observes.
The six companies were chosen from a list of 60 companies. The enrollment of the second batch will start sometime next year. Normally companies which are at least two years into their operations are eligible to join this programme. The programme cost Rs 75,000 for a company where two people from a company can take part in the programme and one must be the company's founder.
Shrestha says it took two years to establish Enterprise. NYEF, True North Associates and Center for
Creation of Economic Wealth (CCEW) are its partners.
“Individual investors to institutes and banks too can make an investment if they like the ideas of any of the companies,” says Shrestha. He says that investors have money to invest but are unclear about where to invest; “The money is being unused,” he remarks
One of the concepts of Enterprise is to make investors and SMEs meet in a controlled setting. “But we do not make promises for investors or for any of the companies before joining the programme,” he admits.
As for new startups generally, Shrestha laments that there is no concept of mentorship in Nepal, an important part for any startup. “While starting any kind of business, long-term focus is a must,” he says.