For every 10 pairs of sunglasses sold, Anthropose collects enough funds to sponsor a cataract surgery for one person or a free remedial course in rural Nepal. It has been five years that this organization has been helping the nation by providing sight to its people and plans to do more. Anthropose is a for-profit social-good company that aspires to recognize and identify social problems and create viable, sustainable and scalable entrepreneurial solutions for them. Let us see what the founder cum CEO, Mr. Suraj Shrestha has to say about Anthropose.
- What is the social problem that you are trying to solve?
Primarily, we are working towards reducing cataract-induced blindness in the underserved and marginalized community who cannot afford life-changing cataract surgeries; providing remedial education to students with weak fundamentals in public schools in rural Nepal. Weak fundamentals in public school students are one of the primary reasons deterring them from completing their secondary schooling. We believe in enabling and empowering the individuals who can later grow to become a powerful force to change their community.
- Can you share what started Anthropose?
The fact that “A lot is yet to be done in Nepal” does not require any fact-proofing. It is visible to everybody. This necessity fueled with burgeoning emigration in search for foreign employment and the pessimistic view towards opportunity in Nepal amongst the youth is what inspired me to start Anthropose.
- What stage is the company in right now? How did you raise funds to start your company?
We are in our fifth year of operation and are growing by the year. We are a growth stage startup with a deep focus on growing our product offerings and increasing our depth of impact. So far we have been able to provide 416 successful cataract surgeries and 15 students have directly benefited from our remedial education courses. Anthropose started out with my personal funds and funds from friends and family.
- How many employees did you start with and what’s your employee strength right now?
We started out with no employees. I was the only one, but I guess that is how most of the businesses get started, right? At the moment, we are a team of nine people with five people working here in Nepal and the rest outside Nepal.
- What challenges did you face while starting Anthropose and what challenges are you facing now?
I think most businesses face similar challenges. The top slot of the challenge is always occupied by –how do you reach out to more people? The difference then comes while completing the question and for Anthropose, the question was – ‘How do we reach out to more people so that we can make more impact?’ Still, we keep asking the same question and I think it’ll live on as the company grows. Other than that, the major challenge we faced was breaking the psychology of the Nepali market. We were trying to sell high-quality products at a very reasonable price but as Nepal has a very confusing market, the reasonable price still was perceived to be high. Hence, we had a challenge of breaking the stereotype that Nepali brands can’t produce world standard products. Lastly, we had a challenge in earning the trust of the people regarding our capabilities and what we stood for. However, with time we have overcome the issue.
–Originally published on blincventures.com