KATHMANDU: After acquiring a mechanical engineering degree from Karnataka, India, Ajay Bahadur Pradhanang joined his family business in 2002. With a dream to contribute significantly to the nation, he took a leading role in 2006 and has since then taken the business
to newer heights. Today, Pradhanang, director of Fleur Himalayan Ltd (herbal based
public company), is the newly elected president of Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs’ Forum (NYEF). Promoted by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), the forum encourages positive business thinking and helps aspiring entrepreneurs attain success through business networking and linkages.
Concerned about the slow paced growth of young entrepreneurs, Pradhanang shared, “The spirit of entrepreneurship and awareness needs to be spread among youths.” Citing that the education and social system of Nepal are gene-rating jobseekers rather than job
creators, he said, “The additional challenge is the business environment in the country, which is not conducive for youths
to start a new business venture.” However, he believes that there are many exceptional success stories of young
entrepreneurs even in such an adverse business climate.
This young entrepreneur is also director at several organisations like Assets Nepal, Nepal Research Foundation, Matrix College, Matrix Printers to name a few. According to him, one needs to know about the comparative advantage of the business before commencing on an entrepreneurial journey to achieve success in business in the long run.
When asked about the growing trend among youths to go abroad for employment and studies, he said, it is all because of a lack of entrepreneural spirit in young people. “We have plenty of opportunities within our country, all that is lacking is our ability to identify them,” he added.
According to him, hardship in accessing resources and adverse business environment are the two major challenges facing youngsters at the moment. “Rather than the process, youths today want immediate results, which is very hard to achieve, if not impossible,” he said. Admitting lack of innovation in Nepali entrepreneurs, he said, “The trend of business imitation needs to be halted and entrepreneurs need to be more innovative to compete in this competitive market.”
Informing that Nepal Youth Business Foundation has been set up to support financially challenged youths to run a new business venture by funding without any collateral and providing both resources and mentoring, he said they have already provided assistance to over 60 young entrepreneurs in Kathmandu. He also shared that they have been conducting ‘Knowledge Series’ — a monthly interactive programme with a resource person on different issues related to entrepreneurship and business. Moreover, to promote Nepali products and services and also change the consumer perception towards these products and services, NYEF conducts events such as the annual ‘Made in Nepal’ exhibition and national and regional Young Entrepreneurs’ Summit.
“We’ve also been lobbying with the central bank and the government of Nepal for project financing to promote and uplift new and young entrepreneurs,” he said.