KATHMANDU: Besides gloomy business environment resulting from power crisis, fuel shortage and labour problems, a woman entrepreneur faces the additional constraint imposed by gender role. However, Darshana Shrestha, managing director of Nature Nepal P Ltd, believes that with sheer deter-mination and relentless effort, success is bound to follow.
Having earned her Bachelors degree in botany, Shrestha was looking for a vocation that allowed her to work closely with nature. However, following her marriage, she did Masters in sociology in 1996. “My journey towards becoming an entrepreneur started with my
Masters studies,” she reminisces. She was looking for something new for a research paper and came up with the subject, ‘Constraints of Women Entrepreneurs’.
Her finding that women entrepreneurs, despite several obstacles, derived immense joy from their initiatives encouraged her to become an entrepreneur. “In our society, though gender roles discourage women from involving in business activities, I found that women entrepreneurs were doing amazingly well and were proud of their accomplishments. This highly inspired me,”
reveals a candid Shrestha.
As a bright student of sociology, she got many offers from several projects and got involved with a few. “However, after working at an international herbal company in Nepal for a year, I ultimately decided to give shape to my dream of becoming an entrepreneur and started my own herbal company in 2006,” shares Shrestha.
Her company produces different varieties of purely herbal based soaps and creams catering to niche market. “We don’t employ machines at all, as all our products are hand-made,” says Shrestha, informing that her company caters to a niche market and her clients are primarily her relatives, friends and handicraft shops in Kathmndu which have been exporting her products.
Marketing is the greatest challenge for women who start up a venture on their own, according to Shrestha. In an age driven by marketing, going for a large scale production requires more dedication and commitment in terms of effort and time and many women may fall short due to family obligations, according to Shrestha.
Despite a warm response from her clients, she is unable to expand her business immediately as she also needs to devote her time to the family. “I’m lucky to get an unflinching support from my family, but it may take me some 10 years before I’m able to scale up my business as my children are still growing,” she says.
She opines that a country like Nepal, which is rich in natural resources, holds a tremendous potential for herbal industries and suggests more entrepreneurs to be involved in this sector.
Since women share a huge chunk of the total population, economic development of Nepal is not possible unless they get involved
in economic activities, opines Shrestha. “In a family where both the husband and wife are employed, the husband is more likely to drain his earning on drinking, smoking and other unnecessary activities whereas the wife fully contributes her income to the family’s well
being,” observes Shrestha.