National Youth Entrepreneurship Policy Dialogue 2018

Although Nepali youths are passionate to embark on their own entrepreneurial ventures, they are often restrained by social, political and economic issues at various levels. Starting right from the policies that affect their decisions, young minds are discouraged even before they begin their ventures- consequently, obstructing the acceleration of economic growth of our country.

Comprehending this scenario, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies had organized National Youth Entrepreneurship Policy Dialogue 2018 to bring together young entrepreneurs, academics, bankers, financial cooperatives, government and non-government actors. The program aimed to provide a platform where young entrepreneurs and professionals could voice their concerns and expectations from the government and identify possible solutions for them in collaboration with different stakeholders involved. The Dialogue took place on 30th October, (13 Kartik, 2075, Tuesday) at Yellow Pagoda Hotel, Kantipath.

The Ministry in collaboration with Daayitwa had worked tirelessly for the last three months to ensure that the event produced positive and solution oriented policy outcomes for youth entrepreneurs. The groundwork leading up to this event entailed consultations with 50 stakeholders including entrepreneurs, academics, government officials, business incubators and development partners. Those discussions had set the tone for the policy dialogues as four key thematic topics had been identified based on those consultations: Education and Skills, Access to Information, Access to Finance, and Business Ecosystem.

The NYEPD 2018 was a full-day program which was divided into two parts: discussion and presentation. Participants were assigned to join in on one of the thematic clusters.

The first cluster, Access to Information, moderated by Ms. Sangita Thebe Limbu, a researcher at Daayitwa, focused on issues related to information and communication gaps among various stakeholders, which hinder young entrepreneurs from starting as well as accelerating in their businesses. Some critical outcomes from their discussion were: increasing awareness about government schemes such as the challenge fund and youth and small entrepreneurs self-employment fund, and use of efficient,  innovative and contextually appropriate communication methods to ease the flow of information both online and offline. The team also suggested utilizing grassroots youth networks and having active collaboration between government and youths in policy making for effective implementation.

The second cluster, Education and Skills discussed issues related to Nepal’s educational system. The cluster was moderated by Mr. Pavitra Gautam, Co-founder of Karkhana. One of the significant problem addressed in the discussion was how fresh graduates were unprepared for the employment sector because of the gap between employable skills and pedagogy in a formal education setting. It further discussed inadequate collaboration and consultation between government and industrial sector to design governmental programs. The team suggested to update and develop the curriculum with reference to the market demand alongside providing and encouraging vocational programs early in academia.

The third cluster, Access to Finance moderated by Mr. Niraj Khanal, CEO, Antarprerana focused on financial problems encountered by youth entrepreneurs. The key issues raised by the cluster were collateral funding, financial support from the government and lack of trust in youth-led businesses. The group presented that the desired policy outcomes must have university accepted services and should provide incentives to empower incubators. It also emphasized on ‘one-stop solution’ to combat lack of an efficient channel to access fund.

The fourth cluster, Business Ecosystem revolved around the problems of workspace for youth entrepreneurs. Mr. Narottam Aryal, Executive Director of King’s College and Mr. Bibhusan Bista, CEO of Young Innovation moderated this cluster. The participants discussed potential policies that could eliminate the problems faced by young entrepreneurs. The group concluded that rather than a specific policy aimed at a young business person, a start-up policy should be introduced to guide and ease the process of anyone starting their new work with no particular age limit.

After a three-hour long discussion, each group had come up with a presentation outlining key policy issues, desired policy outcomes and potential actions that were specific, relevant and time bound which were presented to  Honorable Minister Matrika Prasad Yadav, Ms. Yam Kumari Khatiwada, Mr. Chandra Kumar Ghimire, Mr. Madhu Kumar Marasini of Ministry of Industry, and Renaud Meyer of UNDP, and other clusters.

As the next step, the government will compile the final summaries from each clusters and assess them to identify actionable policies and program suggestions that could potentially be used by the Ministry in the planning for the upcoming two financial years. Ms. Yam Kumari Khatiwada, Secretary of Ministry of Industry, said: “We are pleased to get such outstanding inputs from the youths. The Ministry will take the suggestions made in this National Youth Entrepreneurial Policy Dialogue into consideration while formulating policy actions in the future.”

Speaking at the event, Honorable Minister Matrika Prasad Yadav urged the youths to understand their ground realities.  “Learn from the world but stay true to your roots while endeavoring for an enterprising Nepal,” he said.

NYEPD is one of the first platforms of its kind to bring together passionate young entrepreneurs, academics, bankers, corporates, government, and non-governmental actors. Daayitwa looks forward to collaboratively organizing more events like this to empower youth and promote enterprise-driven economic growth in Nepal.