Inspire Nepal 2016 : Inspiration for Entrepreneurship

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Inspire Nepal 2016, Business Forum and Expo held in Kathmandu from March 10-12 has successfully concluded its first edition. The three-day event draw the attention of many as a platform for stake-holders and professionals of the private and public sectors to generate business, develop relationships, forge partnerships, gather knowledge and acquire expertise through creative interactions. This networking platform brought together 800 business and development professionals, 60 speakers, 150 exhibitors, 30 knowledge sessions and 10 networking events. 

The main objective of the event was to create a powerful platform for networking and interaction. At the macro-level, the event’s overall broad objective was the socio-economic development of Nepal. But organisers were more concerned at the micro level: capacity building of individuals and their entities or companies.  

There were about 300 participants in the programme. “The general response was very good. Everyone believed it was very much needed and showed a lot of interest,” says Birendra Rajkarnicar, Director of House of Rajkarnicar, the organiser of Inspire Nepal 2016. Nevertheless, according to Rajkarnicar, the enthusiasm was not matched by the willingness to pay for registration,   

“We are still tied down by the long tradition of allowances or “bhatta” and all-paid participation by INGOs and NGOs. It is difficult to convince participants to pay for even their lunch cost. We are still a long way to accepting the value of a learning environment cash down,” he opines. 

Participants said they learned a lot about projects, people and organisations. They also made many new contacts while renewing old ones that resulted in monetary benefits. According to the organiser, Inspire Nepal did not get any financial or in-kind support from the government. Aside from Inspire Nepal, House of Rajkarnicar is striving to organise a major international conference and exhibition called the Global Adventure and Mountaineering Conference and Expo 2016 (GAMCE 2016) which will be held in November 19-21 this year. “For this, we will need the support from the government, international media and the international tourism sector such as airlines, hotels, adventure operators and adventure product manufacturers,” mentions Rajkarnicar, adding, “Truly ambitious but we have enough determination and enthusiasm to out-run the odds.”


“Everyone believed that Inspire Nepal was very much needed and showed a lot of interest”

Birendra Rajkarnikar
Director, House of Rajkarnikar

What was the main aim of this programme?
The main objective of the event was to create a powerful platform for networking and interaction. At a macro level, the event’s overall broad objective is the socio-economic development of Nepal. But we are more concerned at the micro level: capacity building of individuals and their entities or companies.  For once, it is not about what the government or the donors or even the business leadership should do-that is for another time and another place. Inspire Nepal is focused on the development of the individual or his / her entity and the sum total of those individual achievements is in essence the socio-economic development of the country.

How many participants were there? How do you find the response?
There were about 300 participants. The general response was very good. Everyone believed it was very much needed and showed a lot of interest. But the enthusiasm was not matched with the willingness to pay for registration. We are still tied down by the long tradition of allowances or ‘bhatta’ and all-paid participation by INGOs and NGOs. It is difficult to convince participants to pay for even their lunch cost. We are still a long way to accepting the value of a learning environment cash down.

What role can an event like Inspire Nepal play in promoting entrepreneurship and motivating startups?
Entrepreneurships, especially at the start-up level, need a lot of support. Not just in the form of immediate buyers or customers and markets but also input or feedback from relevant people and organizations, good suppliers and creditors – all of which cannot be possible from your living room or an incubator office. You need to be out there shaking hands and making connections!  

Personally, I learned a lot about projects, people and organisations. I also made many old and new contacts that resulted in monetary benefits and I am still confident that some of those contacts I made will generate more monetary returns in the very near future. 

Despite the adverse macroeconomic environment that Nepal is facing currently, how can Inspire Nepal, in a true sense, re-energise the private sector? 
I have come to be quite cynical about the government which is the major player in a centrally controlled economy like Nepal. I find it a waste of my time if I have to beg and scream for the government to get involved. 

Inspire Nepal is about getting together and doing it by yourself.  The chances are that you will succeed in one way or the other. But you will never fail if you keep trying.  Inspire Nepal provides a platform not only as a clearinghouse for information and knowledge but also for the private sector to share skills and expertise as well as consummate relationships whether it is a commercial transaction or a collaboration. 

Did you get any support from government when organising this event? What role can the government play to support initiatives like Inspire Nepal?
We did not get any financial or in-kind support from the government. The government can definitely play a more effective role, not necessarily in financial contribution. In fact, we do not prefer financial support- there are too many bureaucratic hoops to go through and too many questions from every corner. It tends to bog you down in terms of time and energy which could have been used more productively somewhere else.

But the government should support these events by meaningful participation whether in the conference session or in the exhibition. Public institutions have a legal and moral obligation to make public information available to its people and getting involved in these public interactions is certainly one of the best ways to do so. Having said that, I do want to cordially thank some of the government officials and institutions who participated as conference speakers and participants or exhibitors during the event.

Is House of Rajkarnicar planning other similar events in the near future?
We want to organise Inspire Nepal again but it will require some resources to subsidise the cost of participation. We will be trying to find partners to support us in this endeavour.

Aside from Inspire Nepal, we are striving to organise a major international conference and exhibition, Global Adventure and Mountaineering Conference and Expo 2016 (GAMCE 2016) which will he held on November 19-21 this year. We will need all the support we can get from the government, international media and the international tourism sector such as airlines, hotels, adventure operators and adventure product manufacturers. Truly ambitious but we have enough determination and enthusiasm to out-run the odds.

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