Nepal Communitere’s I-Cube business incubation program successfully hosted it’s second Demo Day event on Friday evening, January 17, 2020, at Hotel Himalaya. The exclusive event took place in the capital to engage potential Nepali seed investors, financial institutions, banks, donor agencies and key players of the Nepali entrepreneurial ecosystem with the amazing 5 Nepali start-ups graduating from the year-long I-Cube business incubation program.
The event kicked off with a welcome speech from Bahar Kumar, Executive Director of Nepal Communitere where she mentioned-“This Demo Day aims not only to invest in the new startups but also to support the visionary and sustainable ideas that ultimately contributes to develop Nepal’s future”. Keynote Speaker, Nathanael Bevan, the Deputy Head of DFID/UKAID addressed the possibilities for the investment in developing countries like Nepal by sharing the fact that Nepal has creative minds with immense potential to further create employment opportunities despite the challenging environment for SMEs to foster.
The 5 startups that pitched their ideas were Antidote Apparels, Ecoorb Ventures, Airlift, Nuga: and Samata Gram Udyog who were looking for 10-15 lakhs of investment, strategic partnership, and mentorship. Many investors who attended the event supported these early-stage startups by pledging amounts of 1- 3 lakhs each!
Highlighting the significance of private investment and the crucial need to trust our own domestic companies, Trishagni Shakya, Director of KGH Foundation and one of the investors of Year I I-Cube batch said-“We invest in these startups to build Nepali solutions for Nepali problems that address Nepal’s development”. Likewise, Subodh Lohani, SME head of Nabil Bank focused attention on how banks and other financial institutions in Nepal are now offering more start-up friendly solutions for access to finance including the diverse range of policies to support these visionary ideas. The event was concluded by the final remarks of Niraj Khanal, CEO of Antarprerana Nepal, who presented his insights on seed funding and mentorship to make startups more sustainable and impactful.
I-Cube is a 2-year DFID/UKAID sponsored program representing three key pillars for the success of startups – to innovate, iterate and incubate the business.The goal of the I-Cube program is to support early-stage entrepreneurs in Nepal so that they are investment-ready and connect them to domestic seed investors. Till date, I-Cube has supported more than 20 Nepali startups based in Kathmandu and Chitwan. In 2020, I-Cube will be expanding to province 5 with support from DFID/UKAID.
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