It was then that I met Madan who had just come out with the issue of Business Age. It was love at first sight to see a Nepali publication in the English language that talks about business and the economy.
--BY SUJEEV SHAKYA
In Nepal, in the nineties, when I had just returned from India after completing my studies and was starting to work, one of the biggest misses used to be reading newspapers and magazines. The surprising fact was that fewer copies of The Times of India arrived in Kathmandu (where Kagaz Kothi and Sandesh Griha used to distribute them) during those times than in a small town like Kalimpong in India. I was fortunate to have been working at the Soaltee Hotel corporate office, where the office subscribed to many publications. Reading Business Today, Business World, and Business India (out of India) and Business Week, I just longed to see such a magazine in Nepal.
I had just completed a brief stint in 1996 as a columnist, writing the Beyond Money column in The Kathmandu Post, and when Himal went Southasian, I wrote the Saarconomy column. It was then that I met Madan who had just come out with the issue of Business Age. It was love at first sight to see a Nepali publication in the English language that talks about business and the economy. Then, the Chairman of Soaltee Hotel, Mr. Prabhakar Rana, was also very impressed with the magazine and with the corporate entity. When New Business Age celebrated its anniversary in style at the Soaltee Hotel, many other publishers came to ask me how Madan could garner resources for this, and I just smiled and stayed quiet. The magazine drew the support of many CEOs of multinational companies in Nepal, notably Indrajit Lahiri, who headed Asian Paints, and Sujit Mundul, who served as CEO of Standard Chartered. The New Business Age became an essential read for people in business and catalyzed meetings of business leaders in Nepal. During the tough days of managing companies during emergencies, we started the informal CEO forum, where Madan played a significant role in connecting different business leaders in Nepal to learn from each other, especially how to manage the crisis. Let's not forget, this was the peak of labour unrest, political uncertainty, an insurgency, and tourism just battered by the royal massacre in Nepal, 9/11, and the wars after that in the Middle East. I was already writing a fortnightly column for Nepali Times under the pseudonym ‘Arthabeed’ and then decided to write as ‘Chanakya’ for New Business Age and was given the honour of getting the last page. We kept our conversations going and when the market for a Nepali publication emerged, it was again Madan's turn to take the pioneering lead in starting a Nepali business and economic weekly, which now has become a daily paper, ‘Arthik Abhiyan’.
In a country where most news, analysis, and writings are in the political realm, it is crucial to have a publication that looks at business and the economy, markets and consumers, as well as leadership and management. Unfortunately, many English-language publications were either paid advertorials or corporate-sponsored publications. New Business Age fills this gap for a reader like me by providing perspectives on the main story that revolves around contemporary issues and many other articles that provide in-depth information and analysis. The magazine also introduces new business leaders, looks at transformations within business families, and provides a peek into leadership styles, which I enjoy the most.
Globally, despite the advent of new platforms for engagement through internet-based and online media, there are some things that those who have gotten used to will not change. Be it the newspaper you read in the morning or the news you listen to on the radio, which one has been doing for decades. Similarly, getting your hands on a printed copy of the New Business Age, first skimming through and reading snippets, then deep-diving into the many articles, has become a way of life.
Twenty-one years is a very long time for a publication anywhere globally, and especially in Nepal. Staying afloat for such a long time demonstrates the tenacity and perseverance of the team. The Nepali publication space has gone through a lot, and keeping going during the pandemic has been an ultimate test, as many publications have folded during these times. Consistency, they say, is the hallmark of any institution, and the New Business Age has been consistent through thick and thin. For us at Beed Management and the Nepal Economic Forum, it has been an excellent publication to collaborate with. We always enjoy ideating and discussing contemporary issues, along with framing fresh perspectives.
Wishing the New Business Age a grand twenty-one!
Mr. Shakya is the founder and CEO of Beed Management, a Nepal based international management consulting firm and Chair, Nepal Economic Forum, a private sector led think tank.